Sunday, January 29, 2006

Marketing and Law Firms

Whilst I am not an expert, Seth Godin must be one of the great marketers today. I have had this post saved up for ages and read it all the time.

It makes me think about marketing in the context of a/my law firm. What I see is large firms making huge marketing efforts. Some firm sponsors law school bbqs, so that we have sausages courtesy of X. Someone else sponsors the Careers Guide and the Law Ball. These firms have their marketing strategies down and they seem generally to get the results.

My firm, being very small, simply doesn't do much marketing. We are too busy getting work out the door to do anything but basic customer service and good product performance in the form of client outcomes. These marketing activities are simply those which go along with the lawyering we do, rather than as a result of any specific efforts on our behalf.

Recently, I have begun to push for a bit more 'marketing'. Why don't we have a newsletter? Why don't we keep in touch with clients to inform a big batch of them about changes in the law, rather than have them call up one at a time? Why do we handle work which doesn't earn any money? For example, we do TONNES of conveyancing. Despite upcoming changes in the law to restrict access to that market by providers, there is simply no money in conveyancing, unless you are doing big transactions. So why are we wasting time with small clients who own one house and we charge $300 for 10 or 15 hours' work?

Surely, at risk of pissing a few clients off, we are better saying 'Sorry, we just can't take that work on'. If we weren't so busy doing the small work for loss-making clients, we could focus upon more profitable, rapid repeat clients with whom we have a steady and solid relationship. Then, also, the partners would have more time to think about proper marketing, apart from getting to spend a bit of time doing what they want to do.

Sometimes it is a good idea to say no.


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