HOW WE WORK WITH FIRMS AND WRITE MARKETING PLANS
How we assist law firms is unique to each relationship. Some law firms come to us to review and formalize loosely-governed business develop efforts, others to improve profits or trim bloated budgets, to develop a next generation of rainmakers, develop succession plans for key lawyers and their key clients, to develop a niche within a substantive or geographic market, and many so they can remain both vibrant and independently owned.
Surveys show that law firms following a marketing plan are more profitable. The reason: they develop control over file flow, type of work and rates.
Our marketing plans require approximately 120 days to complete. They include measurable benchmarks so a firm can track progress over time. (You can’t evaluate what you don’t measure.) Our plans cover a 24-36 month horizon and contain specific action items, responsible parties for each action item, timetables and the estimated out-of-pocket expense of each.
The specific steps we take to create an overall firm marketing plan are:
We begin with a customized online survey of your lawyers and any key professional personnel that you might designate. We want to obtain as wide a view as possible of your current, past, planned and contemplated business development efforts. We also want to obtain an internal snapshot of your client and community interactions and referral relationships. Among other things, this online survey asks what marketing tactics lawyers and professionals have seen by other lawyers and firms which your firm might consider mirroring. It also asks what priorities should be set or modified to maintain current clients/lines of referral and establish new clients/lines of referral. It gathers data so we can examine creating case flow specific to an industry or an emerging legal issue, or through hybrid/alternative fees. The firm reviews and approves this online internal survey in advance of its circulation. (Lawyers and professional staff who would like to comment beyond the survey are asked if they would like to talk to us personally about the firm’s marketing via phone or Skype.)
We then write, and after obtaining your approval, distribute to your clients a mailed and/or emailed survey asking questions about your market position, client service and satisfaction. The clients should include those involved in all practice areas and in large files/dockets, medium-size files/dockets and smaller files/dockets, so we can obtain a response reflecting a cross-section of your firm’s practice. Responses are sent directly to us to be compiled. Respondents are guaranteed confidentiality to encourage candor.
We also review your firm’s current and past business development efforts and expenditures. These are then compared with local competitors, as best possible, and with market leaders of similar size to your firm in other cities that have practice mixes and market positions similar to yours. This includes reviewing all of your marketing-related materials, database and its management, online presence and a detailed website analysis of both your firm’s and, as best possible, your competitors’ sites and online presence.
We then combine all of the information gathered and present to your firm in person: the survey results, competitive comparisons, website analysis, reviews of public relations, social media and online marketing. We also present for approval 10-15 draft marketing goals based on your surveys and our research. Goals address overall firm issues with some specific to practice areas.
After the presentation, we use the approved marketing goals as the basis to draft your plan. The draft plan lists each approved marketing goal, lists the specific action items necessary to accomplish the goal, sets deadlines and assigns responsible parties for each action item. Out-of-pocket costs for each action item are listed in an attached draft budget.
We then will return to your firm to present the draft marketing plan and amend it in real-time along with the budget.
We charge a flat fee to complete this process and bill for our services in equal installments due monthly.
As often as not, we have an ongoing relationship with your firm to ensure the marketing plan is implemented. This is a separate engagement into which we enter with you.
WHAT IF WE NEED HELP RIGHT AWAY?
Some firms have issues or marketing opportunities that need to be addressed immediately– mergers, acquisitions, retirements, statutory or regulatory changes. They can’t or don’t want to wait for a plan to be researched and written. They want us to harness what’s in place, deal with or improve it and concurrently write a plan for the firm. In these situations, we enter into a slightly different arrangement.
For these firms, we provide immediate consulting and assistance. We often find ourselves focusing on online reputation presence and management, directory use, peer-review rankings and ratings, public relations, sponsorship opportunities, advertising and other marketing issues. We immediately begin meeting regularly– commonly monthly– while starting the plan process discussed above. This ensures near-term deadlines and opportunities are not missed.
Contact Bob Weiss or Amber Vincent to determine the best way for your firm to start improving its marketing efforts.