Where Smart Legal Marketers Are Investing Their Money

Good news: law firm marketing and business development budgets are growing. According to the Legal Marketing Association and Bloomberg Law’s survey, “Where Are We Now? Revealing the Latest Trends in Legal Marketing and Business Development,” 63 percent of firms say they anticipate increasing their marketing/business development budget over the next two years.

Law firms are recognizing the importance of investing in the health and longevity of their practice – or at least, they’re feeling the pressure to generate revenue. That’s the number one reason why survey respondents said they’re adding funds to their marketing budgets, followed by corporate counsel reducing the number of firms they’re working with and pressure from competitors that are marketing pros.

Having more money to play with is always exciting, but that money shouldn’t be spent on just anything. Spend carelessly and you won’t get the results you’re looking for – but allocate your budget wisely and you’ll see a significant return on investment.

Survey respondents named the following as the most impactful marketing and business development tactics to invest in:

  1. Events: Historically, in-person events and client visits haven’t been go-to business development tactics for law firms. But not only are more firms hosting events, nearly 70 percent of marketers said that events are one of the most effective initiatives they’ve implemented. It’s no wonder why: events allow attorneys to connect directly with potential clients in a low-pressure environment. Although events can be high cost, they’re also high value, and you should expect to see more firms taking advantage of them in the coming years.
  2. New technology: Just after events, marketers said that investing in new technology was the most important thing they’ve done in recent years. Attorneys and marketers alike cited email marketing, social media tools and litigation analytics tools as the most helpful tech they’ve purchased. Marketers also love Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – 73 percent said that it’s helpful – although lawyers didn’t share the same opinion, perhaps because they aren’t always the ones using the information.
  3. Social media: From attorneys’ perspectives, they’re getting the most bang for their marketing buck with social media; 52 percent of lawyers surveyed said it’s one of the most effective strategies they’re using. Although marketers were slightly less enthusiastic about it (maybe because it’s old news to them), they still agree that a strong social media presence is important. Compared to other strategies, social media is low cost, and with new features and algorithms constantly being rolled out, there’s always an opportunity to experiment and improve.
  4. Hiring more staff: Lawyers and business development staff agreed that a lack of time is the biggest obstacle preventing them from reaching all of their marketing goals. Maybe that’s why respondents also said that hiring more marketing and business development staff was one of the best things they’ve done with their budget. The survey also notes that some firms have found success by adding more marketing professionals within specific practice groups. Sometimes the answer to a marketing challenge isn’t to change your strategy, but to hire a marketing rock star to take the reins.

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