Each year, we at fSquared Marketing reach out to our friends and colleagues around the world who are experts in various areas of legal marketing. We ask them to describe what they are seeing in the market, ask them where our clients should be focusing, and what predictions they have for the coming year.
This year, as always, we received great insights and tips to share. I’ve included some excerpts below so you know what to consider in your marketing and business development plan (and budget!) for the coming year.
Several trends that we have seen emerge and gather pace over the last few years will further consolidate in 2015. In particular, resourcing content production (client alerts, blogs, videos and webinars, etc.) will come under greater scrutiny. Why are we doing this, and what is working?
Mark Lamb, Founder – Lexology
Clients have become more discerning in how they select law firms, and look to directories to provide depth in editorial to talk about specialties. As a result, legal directories have had to respond by becoming more user-friendly, more engaged and by producing more detailed and meaningful content.
Joanna Lane, Editor – Chambers Canada
In an era where costs are under careful scrutiny by law firms and clients, PR amounts to very low-cost marketing. Law firms who don’t take advantage of this by hiring the right professionals either internally or externally, however, do so at their peril.
Julius Melnitzer, Legal Affairs Journalist – Financial Post
A strong, personal brand communicates to your target audience the value (expertise, resources, relationships) you’re capable of providing them. When properly managed, your personal brand creates a “pull” for your services, which alleviates the need for you to “push” (read: sell).
CLIENT RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM):
In 2015, we’ll see new technology solutions and platforms that integrate with the core CRM to equip business developers to manage opportunities and outcomes to predict business performance. And we’ll see the emergence of tools uniquely designed to guide attorneys in managing professional relationships and helping them understand which members of their network can connect them to new business opportunities.
Krista Fuller, -Lexis-Nexis InterAction
An effective client entertainment program contains two elements. One-on-one events combined with highly-coordinated firm initiatives.
WEBSITES & DIGITAL STRATEGY:
Responsive design will remain a “hot topic” as the screen sizes continue to become more varied and mobile search continues to see rapid growth. Mobile search tends to be “local” oriented and is more likely to result in a user “taking action”. SEO for mobile will emerge as something law firms, and especially lawyers, will have to address if they want to be seen online beside their local peers. Integrating their social media presence with their SEO strategy will gain the greatest exposure.
In 2015, firms will and should continue their efforts in establishing strong, coordinated social media presences for their leadership, including managing partners, practice group leaders, c-level executives, and recruiting, diversity and pro bono leaders. Branded firm channels will still play an important role, but should aim to direct followers to the influential people within a firm.
Content Marketing will still be a common theme among many law firms, but the important thing to remember is not that content marketing is something that you need to do. It’s all about making your existing content work harder for you, pushing it into as many relevant channels as possible, beyond just the general social networks.
Katie O’Rourke, Vice President, Business Development – CONCEP
MARKETING TEAM OPERATIONS:
Leveraging our databases and utilising client relationship strength and opportunity software to identify our key targets and those who seem open to approach is going to be vital in 2015. This focus is going to be essential to avoid our partners and firms’ voices, no matter how impressive, being drowned out.
And as for my personal prediction?
With the youngest of the Baby Boomers passing the age of 50 in 2015 (and the oldest turning 69), the new year will put the pressures of succession planning squarely at the feet of law firm management. … (they) will need to consider factors such as timing, compensation, gaps in lawyer ranks, desire to work past retirement, and most importantly, client wants and needs, while addressing succession plans.
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for your law firm marketing for next year and may encourage you do some things a little differently. If you want to see a complete list and full text of the “Trends in Legal Marketing for 2015”, you can read it here.