The 3 Phases of Marketing System Implementation

November 4

A law firm that has an effective and functional marketing system in place has a significant competitive advantage.  A strong marketing system makes it difficult for lawyers to leave (leaving behind the cumulative value of a perfected marketing system) and can act as a major incentive for talented professionals to join the firm.


What is involved in adopting a functional marketing system?  We will review the 3 phases of involved in the description and infographic below.


The 3 phases of marketing system implementation include:

Phase 1: Plan Development (Strategy)

Phase 2: Activity Budget and Contact Management (Tactics)

Phase 3: Marketing Automation Systems (Automation)





PerformLaw Infographic

Phase 1: Plan Development (Strategy)

We consider two parties to be the key agents in a law firm marketing system: 1.) the individual attorneys and 2.) 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 goals for this phase include:

  • Assess current and past marketing efforts;
  • Formulate strategic and financial goals and objectives
  • Define the target client  through market segmentation;
  • Develop a marketing mix that includes: 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.  An activity budget is developed, as well as a contact management database.  Both are used to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of law firm and attorney marketing efforts.


Activity Budget

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.


Contact Management

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 law firm 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 touchpoints 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 the 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 development approach. The focus of inbound marketing is providing value to clients and bringing them to you because they find your content valuable and relevant. This is different from some traditional marketing tactics that use interruptive tools such as advertising, commercials and other means to get the attention of prospective clients. 


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.