How does strategic marketing work in the legal industry?

About 2 teaspoons networking, about 1/2 litre website, about 20g blog posts and sometimes maybe a pinch of LinkedIn. Is this a good marketing recipe?

Publication Date
How does strategic marketing work in the legal industry?

Legal Marketing: Everything used to be... more manageable!

The good old days: Marketing used to be relatively simple. The legal business was local and the market to be served was therefore manageable. In addition, there were only a limited number of possible marketing measures available to legal service providers. For example, lawyers were able to concentrate on accumulating numerous memberships, attending a wide range of aperitif events, publishing in relevant magazines from time to time and sending the obligatory Christmas card to all clients at the end of the year. Easy.

These processes worked relatively lean in most companies. Often decisions were made ad hoc about investing in a particular marketing measure. Planning a little and then reaching an agreement in the partner committee on the marketing efforts for the next fiscal year. Many law firms did without marketing know-how for a long time. Support was only purchased in the area of IT services (for the administration website) or perhaps at a printing company for the production of the company brochure (and the famous Christmas card!).

Due to the formerly manageable environment in the legal industry, this all worked well for a long time.

Marketing of legal services and content today

Why has legal marketing become more complicated?

First and foremost: Because the environment of law firms has become more complicated in many ways. A few examples:

  • The competition has grown and changed. It is well known that today not only old familiar players but also a considerable number of new players are playing in the field of law firms.
  • New business models are also developing in the area of content suppliers, which are giving legal publishers, for example, food for thought.
  • The companies' target groups are no longer concentrated at specific events. To hit the target you have to communicate on a variety of channels.
  • The target groups have more information available. There is greater transparency, which forces companies to think through the messages they send to the market. Many assertions can - as far as they are not true - simply be refuted.

For example, many law firms find it difficult to distinguish themselves from their competitors. If one searches for legal services from different companies, they often seem interchangeable and it is not easy to distinguish between the offers. This leads to a mixing of the messages of the law firms, which can no longer be assigned by the target groups.

Added to this is the agony of choice, which sometimes leads to excessive demands. À la carte: A wide range of marketing measures is available.

attorney marketing law firm legal marketing social media website digital seo
Source: (visited on 15.07.19)

Where to start and how to distribute resources most efficiently? And how do you communicate coherently across all these channels?

By the way: We have already explained in an earlier post why law firms are perfectly suited for digital marketing.

This is where strategic legal marketing helps

Simple ad hoc decisions are out of place in such a complex environment. The marketing of legal services and content requires in particular

  • an awareness of their own corporate goals,
  • clarity about the target groups,
  • a holistic view of the distribution of resources and
  • a well established system for tracking the performance of the various marketing measures.
You will soon find an article on how to choose the right marketing measures and determine the marketing mix on our blog.

In short: It needs strategic marketing. That means a well thought-out concept based on the company's goals, taking into account the target groups and from which informed decisions are made that can be implemented. In the end, these decisions also affect the necessary budget and the general distribution of resources to achieve the goals.

This is not an easy task, especially since knowledge of the legal sector is required in addition to specialist skills for the development of the strategy and its subsequent implementation. On the professional side, knowledge of marketing, strategy, (graphic) design and technology is required today. For a strategy that can be implemented, an in-depth understanding of the legal work processes and knowledge of the requirements of the various stakeholders in the market will help. It is precisely this industry knowledge that many marketing agencies and strategy consultancies lack.

Steps to a successful marketing strategy

The starting point are the company goals defined in the overall strategy of the company. What is to be achieved? Growth? If yes: What exactly should grow? And: How much in which time span?

Against this background, the following three questions must then be answered.

1. Who are your target groups?

These are the people you need to achieve your company goals. As a rule, this is the potential clientele as well as the young legal talent that you want to attract for a career in your own company. Of course, the target groups must be clearly defined and correctly segmented. "Potential clientele" is too broad a term. If you try to address everyone, you will not reach anyone in the end, because no one feels addressed.

2. What are your selling points?

An effective growth strategy requires good planning and a sound knowledge of the market. What are the strengths of your company compared to the competition? Where is the potential for growth? Is it worth sharpening your own strengths? Or do you need to invest in an area that is currently underdeveloped in your company in order to open up new market potential?

As with the target groups, one is tempted here to say relatively quickly: "We know all that!" However, it is worthwhile to deal with it in depth and to question existing assumptions again and again. The arguments found must not be mere assertions, but

  • true,
  • provable and
  • be relevant for the target groups.

Only arguments that pass this test should be incorporated into the marketing strategy. Your sales arguments determine where your company can position itself most effectively in the market.

3. Which key messages should be communicated to the target groups?

This question must be answered separately for each target group. Not all stakeholders in the legal market need the same story to achieve the desired result. The top graduates of the universities are not looking for information like which clients are being adressed. Nevertheless, a certain coherence is of course needed in this area as well. The messages must convey a coherent picture and be convincing.

Conclusion on strategic legal marketing

In summary, the marketing of legal services and content today requires a coherent overall strategy. In order to develop and implement such a strategy, in addition to a broad range of specialist skills, in-depth knowledge of the industry is also required. Those who bring this with them will achieve their goal by taking a targeted approach and answering the questions above.

At HeadStarterz we have combined the relevant skills. We know the legal industry from our own work experience and have implemented projects with various stakeholders. Our exclusive focus is on the marketing of legal services and content. Everyone in our team has relevant skills, which we invest in your project as a team.