What Goes into a Law Firm Marketing Plan?

legal marketing content ideasWe are often asked by clients and prospects to develop a legal marketing plan on their behalf. This is always an intriguing proposition because what some view as perhaps a two-page outline of the promotional activities to be pursued, a true marketing plan offers something far greater. Such plans provide a more detailed picture of where the firm stands, its goals, and how it plans to achieve them.

A full-fledged marketing document should address the following areas:

Background
  • Firm History
  • The Services it Provides
  • The Geography it Serves
  • The Types of Clients it Serves
    • Businesses vs. General Public vs. Government Entities
    • Age, Income and Gender Demographics
    • Psychographic Profiles
  • Attorney Billing Rates
  • Firm Reputation
  • Firm Strengths
  • Firm Weaknesses
  • Results of Marketing Efforts to Date
Industry Overview
  • General Trends
  • Seasonality
  • Client Development Cycle (from awareness through initial consult and retainment)
  • Attorney Billing Rates
  • Competitive Framework
    • Competitor Descriptions (e.g., size, number of attorneys, strengths, weaknesses, etc.)
    • Competitor Reputations and Positionings
    • Analysis of Competitive Communications (e.g., ads, web site, brochures, etc.)
Objectives & Strategies
  • Vision/Mission Statement
  • Long-Term Goals & Rationale (e.g., increase revenue to $XXX to support partner payouts of $XXX)
  • Long-Term Strategies (e.g., generate greater awareness of the firm among a particular business or consumer segment)
  • Short-Term Goals (e.g., Obtain $XXX in revenue in the upcoming fiscal year)
  • Short-Term Strategies (e.g., Implement social media campaign, broaden geographical target, add new practice area, etc.
2016 Strategic Plan
  • Improvements to Firm Services
    • Billing Rates
    • Promotional Program
      • Objectives
      • Budget & Rationale
      • Target Market
      • Target Audience(s)
      • Marketing Mix/Budget Allocation
      • Activity A (e.g., development of new web site)
      • Activity B (e.g., PR campaign)
      • Activity C (e.g., social media effort)
    • Creative Development
      • Positioning of the Firm
      • Benefits the firm provides (particularly vs. competitors)
      • Substantiation for Benefits
      • Communications Hurdles
Opportunities & Red Flags
  • Indicators of Success (i.e., milestone to be achieved/interim metrics)
  • Plan Assumptions
  • Firm Strengths as Related to the Marketing Plan
  • Firm Weaknesses and Red Flags as Related to the Marketing Plan (i.e., firm may or may not be able to effectively implement activity A for such and such a reason)
Implementation
  • Plan Flowchart & Timetable

While a full-fledged marketing document such as this may not be realistic or feasible to implement on an annual basis, we have seen it be an extremely worthwhile exercise for law firms undergoing a transition, requiring a new direction or seeking to tap into new growth areas.

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