Monday, May 04, 2009

Relevance in Legal Marketing

I recently read the book, "Relevance: Making Stuff that Matters," by Tim Manners (Penguin Books, 2008). While focused primarily on consumer marketing, the basic concepts are worth some discussion in regard to legal marketing.

The main premise of the book is that advertising (print, TV, etc.) is no longer relevant, in part because it can not be held accountable for results. Another key reason is that advertising disrupts our lives with irrelevant messages.

The author states that the ultimate accountability in marketing is how relevant the brand is to the consumer.

Does this hold for law firm advertising? I would answer yes and no. The "yes" is in regard to general purpose "image" advertising. In fact, I recently heard an active law firm advertiser admit that their weekly print ads in the local business press did not generate new business. The purpose here is to increase your firm's name recognition.

Legal advertising can be useful and productive for consumer oriented law firms, like family law or personal injury law.

"Direct response" TV advertising, for example, which encourages the viewer to make a phone call handled by an intake center, can easily be measured. The same holds true, perhaps to a slightly lesser degree, to billboard advertising or the Yellow Pages.

Search engine marketing for law firms, including pay-per-click ads like Google AdWords, is another form of advertising that is very effective for lead generation.

One concept in the book that is highly relevant to legal marketing is this: focus on solving your customer's problems. Nike does this very well, for example. They listen to clients, understand what their needs are, then create a series of special events to bring clients together with the Nike brand to reinforce the relationship.

Finally, author Tim Manners advises readers to connect with their most progressive, creative clients, then build client needs / suggestions into new product and service development.

Law firms that create a favorable experience for clients as they go through the legal process will see a strong return on investment in client satisfaction, referrals and repeat business.

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