In a year when most marketing plans had to completely change, it can be daunting to think about planning your business development strategies and activities for the upcoming year. COVID-19 altered the landscape for most industries, including the legal industry in 2020, and it’s not clear how long those effects will last. Is it even possible to come up with a good marketing plan at this point? How can we ensure marketing strategies are going to be successful if we aren’t even sure what our economic situation is going to be in six months?
Actually, it is possible to develop a quality marketing plan that prepares your firm’s marketing strategy to deliver results and weather the storm of economic upheavals. Not only is it possible, but it’s also important to have a marketing plan to guide and track your business development efforts.
To support law firms’ marketing planning for the year ahead, the LexisNexis® InterAction® team released a law firm marketing guide, A 5-Step Guide for Law Firm Marketing Planning. With reliable information and peer interviews based on research conducted in October 2020, you’ll want to use this guide as a blueprint in planning for the upcoming year.
Before we reveal the five steps, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind as you head into next year…
Remember, marketing plans and data are important every year
The importance of marketing at law firms is becoming more and more recognized, with eight out of 10 firms creating marketing plans. Having a marketing plan supported by business development initiatives is important when things are going well. But, firms should realize that plans are just as important, if not more so, when things are uncertain in the economy.
At the same time, we’ve also realized how important it is for data to support and measure marketing plans. During normal times, data reveals which business development efforts we should continue or change based on goals and objectives. When things are uncertain, having current and reliable data can be crucial for adjusting plans quickly if needed and as the market changes.
Firms want to increase leads with fewer resources
Next year, there will be an even bigger push to bring new leads for business, and every dollar spent doing so will be scrutinized to justify the ROI. Though efforts will increase, it’s still likely that firms will operate with fewer staff and decreased budgets due to cutbacks intended to minimize the economic impact of the pandemic. And networking will continue to happen virtually, as will a lot of legal work and billable hours. Because of this, there will be a heightened interest in data integrity for tracking and automated processes, which will make it possible to work through just about any condition.
Traditional planning is out. Agile planning and data tracking is in.
For successful planning each year, marketing teams must align their goals with the firm’s overall business objectives, prioritize department initiatives for the year ahead, allocate resources in an efficient way, and define the metrics used to assess progress.
But in the upcoming year, marketing teams will not only have to achieve what’s listed above, they’ll also have to be prepared to adjust each one of those steps along the way based on immediate or changing trends in the legal landscape. Therefore, teams will have to set goals that are agile while collecting and interpreting data to determine new directions for business development if necessary. It may seem like more work than usual, but this InterAction report makes it easier and guides you through a process that’s simpler to follow with just five steps.
The 5 steps to creating your agile marketing plan
The law firm marketing guide by InterAction, A 5-Step Guide for Law Firm Marketing Planning, is your key to creating agile marketing strategies with the data necessary to achieve successful results and build your business next year. We’ve included a quick overview of the five steps, but you can read the full report here.
Step One: Plan Your Objectives
Start out by aligning the marketing department’s goals with the firm’s overall business development objectives. Law firm marketing experts also warn that a common mistake they see is to jump straight from strategy to tactics, without investing the time to first determine what will constitute success at the end of the year.
Step Two: Manage the Initiatives
Looking ahead, legal marketers advise that this is the time to be more targeted in the development of tactical initiatives, moving away from the “spray and pray” approach that many firms have favored in the past. Establish the specific tactics you want to take to drive the pursuit of your strategic objectives.
Step Three: Track Your Opportunities
In today’s uncertain times, things change rapidly. Be prepared to monitor the progress of each initiative and adapt on the fly. Measure the specific data points that will allow you to track the right numbers.
Step Four: Understand the Results
Law firm marketing teams need to be engaging with data analysis experts to create and produce progress reports that are informed by sophisticated data science. Present findings using clear and concise reports, produced in user-friendly formats.
Step Five: Discover Insights
Learn what is working and what isn’t by uncovering key insights from the results you are able to surface from your data. Embrace agile marketing planning by identifying areas for opportunistic marketing initiatives and modifying the tactics in your original plan.
For more detailed information on the five-step guide, download the full version of the InterAction blueprint, A 5-Step Guide for Law Firm Marketing Planning.
To find out more about leveraging today’s technology and using it to build your business development activities, contact your account manager or visit www.interaction.com.