By Amy Burton-Bradley, Partner at Julian Midwinter & Associates
The newly-released 2015 ALPMA/JMA Winning Work in a Digital World research reveals that not a lot has changed for firms on the marketing and BD front since our 2014 study.
- competition for clients in a mature and saturated market – rated the single biggest challenge (21% of respondents)
- firm differentiation (17%)
- finding new sources of work (16%)
- keeping up with online, digital, and social media (11%).
Firm report card
1. Translate aspiration into action“The major challenge is getting it all humming along in one meaningful, strategic direction. Saying no. Not being waylaid by Partner demands. Having enough hands on deck.”
With competition for new work fierce in a mature and saturated legal market, it’s reassuring that 84% of respondents say marketing and BD is important to their firm. However, only 50% of firms have an overarching marketing and BD plan and only 32% agree their firm is strategic and disciplined in its approach to marketing and BD activities.
“[Our challenge is] coming up with a firm strategy and ensuring we adhere to it.”
2. Capitalise on client satisfaction
This is a huge missed opportunity for firms. Collecting client data through a formal process can help you to:
- keep your clients happy and make them feel special by asking for their opinion and feedback
- give clients what they actually value (hint: it’s unlikely to be a 'latest news' section on your website)
- head-off any grumbles before they become serious issues (like a bill dispute)
- uncover what your clients’ changing needs are – giving you opportunities to design new services or refine your offerings
- reward your lawyers and staff for a job well done, and to performance manage others
- promote your firm using client data statistics and evaluations.
3. Win with in-person activities
Strikingly, though, 56% of firms do not train their lawyers in critical marketing and BD skills, and we can see in the report card that more than half of firms do not have individual marketing and BD plans for their lawyers. As one respondent noted, their firm tends to rely on ‘passive’ marketing and BD activities, like referrals, to generate new business; ‘our staff are not comfortable with actively trying to market the business in more direct ways.’
4. Do more with digital
The most popular activities firms are hoping to try in the coming 12 months include:
- making use, or better use, of social media
- upgrading website features and content
- increasing client-focussed activities
- producing online video content.
About our Guest Blogger
She is a partner at Julian Midwinter & Associates, a business development consultancy that has helped law firms attract, win, grow, and retain new clients and business since 1993.