Around the world, law firms are grappling with the challenge of trying to ensure that the money they spend on legal marketing achieves the best possible return on investment. It’s a challenge that’s becoming even more complex, as an ever-increasing number of different marketing options present themselves to law practices. Should firms, for example, stick with the traditional marketing mix of legal directory entries, contributed articles, client seminars and brochures? Or should they embrace the emerging technology-led channels, and also move into podcasts, blogs or client webinars?
With an ever-increasing number of marketing options available, our recent study of marketing in Brazilian and Mexican firms did help to get insights on which tactics law firms believed were most effective in the Latin American region.
Overall, we discovered a strong preference for marketing practices that involved two-way interactions between the law firm and potential clients or referral partners. Interestingly, amongst the “traditional” methods, “face-to-face” relationships were preferred in both countries – lawyer presentations and client meetings were regarded as some of the most effective marketing activities – moreso than their online equivalents. Here, both countries showed resistance to the use of social media methods such as joining a social network, webinars or blogging. Whilst respondents did view some of these newer methods favourably, the present low level of take up is perhaps a reflection of cultural barriers in online participation or a lack of understanding of how they can be used to help generate new business.
Looking at the more traditional forms of marketing, law firm websites, detailed information materials and brochures were rated highly in both legal markets. Brazilian respondents placed more importance on a media presence, whereas Mexican respondents preferred investing in legal directories.
In reality, today’s law firms use a mix of tactics and channels to communicate their proposition to the market. But, what is also clear from our survey is that the business of law remains very much a people-centred business – and that there is usually no better tool for marketing a firm than its very own lawyers.