Thursday, September 11, 2008

Branding or Networking ... What Gets Business?

While attending a luncheon meeting of the Legal Marketing Association South Florida City Group today that I helped to organize, one firm present was mentioning that the attorneys in their 35-member business law firm were split on the best way to promote the firm.

One group of attorneys favors a high profile branding campaign, featuring prominent advertising in local business papers and industry trade publications. (This is a very conservative firm that has never really advertised in the past.)

The other group of attorneys feels strongly that networking is the better approach, where attorneys focus on building their referral networks by attending meetings of the bar, chamber, industry groups, etc.

Who's right? The Rainmaking Lady feels there is room for both approaches in an integrated marketing campaign.

Depending on a law firm's budget, some level of advertising in today's competitive marketplace could be a good way to stake your claim as a major player. Networking is also a powerful means of building business relationships, plus you get the advantage of building a face-to-face understanding of your prospect's wants, needs and pain.

Of course, we advocate adding speaking engagements and publishing opportunities to the mix.

There is a time and place for many types of marketing campaigns in your business development plan, particularly if they work together to reinforce each other. The key is to start by establishing your goals as specifically as possible, then determining how you will measure the goals.

Once you've done that, it is best to get started on the implementation. Don't let differences of opinion hold your firm in a perpetual state of marketing inactivity. You will fairly quickly be able to determine what is and what is not working.

Remember, never stop marketing!

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