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What's Working in Law Firm Marketing

Terri Pepper Gavulic of Hildebrandt International offered DVLFMG members her insight into what's working in legal marketing at our September 27 meeting.

  • The better job you do at aligning services/marketing message with what clients want, the better job you do at being a change agent.
  • The firm’s strategic plan should drive the marketing plan and the various marketing initiatives.
  • Marketers need to maintain "a seat at the table," but they need factual information to do this. Don’t be afraid to ask the attorneys/firm management for information.
  • Client trends:
    • More conscious of the bottom line, especially for legal matters
    • Companies are responding to an over-abundance of attorneys and many are engaging in consolidation programs. Legal service bidding programs and RFPs are here to stay.
    • Companies are increasingly sophisticated about buying and tracking legal services and fees.
    • Clients recognize that all legal matters aren’t "bet the company" matters, and as a result, they’re segmenting their legal services and the values they place on those services.
    • The single greatest disconnect is in pricing. As marketers, need to offer creative pricing strategies.
  • Push for marketing training for all attorneys in the firm
  • Pay attention to significant in-house changes at top clients. It is better to get out and meet the new people sooner rather than later.
  • Strategies for success:
    • Have a good system in place for responding to new business competitions
    • Have a mechanism for getting input from clients. Terri recommends a three-pronged approach to client surveys, in which surveys are conducted by firm leadership, the relationship partner and a third party.
    • Develop a good list of appropriate business development targets
    • Segment your marketing staff smartly. More emphasis is being placed on business development/client service professionals, as opposed to promotions people.
    • The top marketing people in firms aren’t doing marketing, but are focusing instead on being change agents and team builders. Leadership skills are a must.
  • How to demonstrate creditability to attorneys, or that you "get it"
    • Suggest different strategies or approaches
    • Challenge the attorneys; don’t be a "yes person"
    • Be a thought leader; use consulting techniques; do lunch programs
    • Spend face time with the lawyers
    • Develop one minute marketing tips
    • Develop and send out case studies, scorecards and success stories
    • Track and follow up on projects

Written by Martha J. Hess

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