September 2003  Volume 29, Issue 6
ABA Law Pracice Management Magazine, September 2003 Issue
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SIDE BAR: Target Range: Write a Strategic Marketing Plan
by Patrick M. Byers
Law firm marketing is harder than ever. Here's why.

  • There's more competition. There are more lawyers and law firms than ever before. In the United States alone, Dun & Bradstreet lists 28,050 legal services firms with 10 or more employees.

  • There's less attention. When it comes to grabbing consumer attention, you aren't just competing with other law firms. The average American adult receives 3,000 commercial messages a day, while the typical business manager is expected to read about 1 million words a week. We have all become experts at shutting out information that isn't relevant to us right now.

  • Most law firms fail to respond to today's reality. While legal marketing has vastly improved in the past decade, drive-by marketing still rules the day. It's a hasty endeavor in which communications lack consistency and the firm's efforts are seldom coordinated fully.

Better Marketing Starts with a Plan

Is it really true that a strategic marketing plan can solve some of legal marketing's biggest challenges? Yes. Here's how:
  • A marketing plan defines and prioritizes your target audiences, so you can focus your marketing efforts where they will do the most good.

  • It includes a positioning statement, an expression of the benefits you offer that will be relevant and appealing to your target audiences. Your positioning is the basis for all your firm's communication materials, advertising and contact points--and it can eliminate inconsistencies in your messaging and materials.

  • It allows you to incorporate contact strategies that take into account how and where your prospective clients get their information--and how they make their buying decisions. These strategies will drive your media plan, which should include a detailed advertising and direct marketing schedule.

The faithful execution of a strategic marketing plan makes for a more proactive, cost-effective and coordinated marketing effort. If you don't yet have a plan in place, what are you waiting for-the competition to best you? Start preparing your plan today.

Patrick M. Byers

( patrick@outsourcemarketing.com) is a principal and founder of Outsource Marketing, LLC, based in Bellevue, WA. He can be reached at (425) 451-1644.