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Law Firm Best Practices Blog

The 3 Phases of Marketing System Implementation

The implementation of a functional and effective law firm marketing system can add significant going-concern value to a law firm's platform, which ultimately constitutes a competitive advantage for the firm and its attorneys.  A strong marketing system makes  difficult for lawyers to exit (leave behind the cumulative value of a perfected marketing system) and can act as a major incentive for talented professionals to join the firm.

 

 

We will review 3 major phases involved in adopting a functional marketing system.  These phases include:

 

Phase 1: Plan Development (Strategy)

Phase 2: Activity Budget and Contact Management (Tactics)

Phase 3: Marketing Automation Systems (Automation)

 


THE INFOGRAPHIC AND WRITE-UP BELOW HIGHLIGHT THESE 3 PHASES

 

 

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Phase 1: Plan Development (Strategy)

We consider two parties as the key agents in a law firm marketing system: the individual attorneys and the firm (the collective group of attorneys). Their actions affect each other and define the success of the system. In this system, the attorneys engage in marketing activities according to their individual plans (as part of phase 1).

 

At the same time, the firm is responsible for developing a support system (In-house resources, outsourced services, and software solutions), as well as marketing policies that encourage and facilitate but also control the attorneys' marketing actions. Simultaneously, the firm may also engage in marketing activities designed to benefit all attorneys (the firm).

The main outcomes include:

  • The formulation of strategic and financial goals and objectives;
  • An assessment of current and past marketing efforts;
  • Target client definition through market segmentation;
  • The development of a marketing mix including content development, relationship building, and contact management activities based on tactical marketing goals

Our articles The 5 Steps of Legal Marketing Plan Development” and “The Legal Marketing Mix” provide further information on this topic.


Phase 2: Activity Budget and Contact Management (Tactics)

Phase 2 adds a layer to the marketing planning process by means of organizing and coordinating the attorneys' activities and budget requirements in the form of an activity budget plan, as well as contact management using a database to enhance both effectiveness and efficiency of law firm and attorney marketing efforts.

 

A system is implemented that allows attorneys and the firm to associate budgets and hours with specific activities that are tied to tactical goals. For each activity type identified as part of the marketing mix, attorneys and/or firms define activity details, hours and financial investments. E.g. when organizational memberships are identified as part of an attorney’s marketing activity plan, they would name specific organizations, and allocate membership fees, as well as time requirements typically for a 12-month period. The same goes for content development activities like blogging: the attorney determines blogging frequency, time requirements and blog hosting costs, if applicable. The result is an activity budget report, which attorneys can submit to management for a streamlined approval process.

 

This form of activity management ensures proper implementation of the strategic plan and promotes active participation in business development.

 

Additionally, contacts are collected and organized in a database to keep track of leads, prospects, current and former clients, and referral sources. Law firms and attorneys can tie also tie certain activities as part of their activity budget plan Ideally, contact management is done with the help of a contact management/CRM software application. This automated process is less tedious than manual contact tracking in a spreadsheet or document.

 

Phase 3: Marketing Automation Systems (Automation)

The final phase is the adoption of a marketing automation system. Marketing automation refers to the software application that law firms use to automate various marketing actions. Automating  repetitive tasks such as emails, social media and other website related functions gives law firms more time to focus on other marketing initiatives.

 

There are applications that have the capabilities and functionalities to become the center of a firm marketing system. When this occurs, the MAS app informs the marketing-related actions of all participants (management, attorneys, marketing specialists, etc.) and drives business development. The software becomes a virtual marketing director. A marketing automation system should include at a minimum the following functions:

  • Contact Management;
  • Planning and Scheduling of Relationship Activities (entertainment, meetings, conferences, etc.);
  • Content Creation and Distribution (blog, social media, newsletters, etc.);
  • Analytical tools to measure performance and indicate improvement areas; and
  • Intuitive tools, forms, workflows, and on-demand training.

These functions can turn an automation app into an engine that powers a law firm marketing system and a virtual marketing director. Properly configured software helps the firm and its attorneys by leading their clients through the buyer journey, a marketing term used to describe the entirety of the touch points between the law firm and client.

The buying process (journey) begins with the prospect’s initial awareness of the firm’s legal services and progresses through engagement with firm and ultimately to the point when a current or former client refers new business to the firm.

 

Automation systems typically apply inbound marketing strategies. Inbound is a philosophy that is based on a client- centric business and business development approach. The focus of inbound marketing is providing value with permissive rather than interruptive tools. Inbound marketing connects content with context, in other words, developing valuable content that is relevant to the target audience.

 

For more information on automation systems please review our article “Can software function as our law firm’s next marketing director?”

 

 


Wherever your law firm is with marketing efforts, PerformLaw can  help to position your firm for sustainable  success.

 

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