Recent posts from Clare Rodway and Richard Cohen explore new ideas in the changing market for legal services. Both provide useful indicators of future marketing and business process methods that firms need to consider as part of their planning.These ideas are already having a profound effect on the market for legal services and need to be taken into account – whether you plan to use them or not. Other firms will and it will have an impact on your business.

New developments in 'marcoms' (marketing communications) when applied to a particular firm need to build on the established marketing basics to achieve their full potential. Often, firms buy in marketing solutions without thinking of the implications for the internal processes of the firm or how those processes could be changed to achieve better returns on promotional investment.

The adoption of the ‘freemium’ idea, using social networking or any other type of promotion channel, all rely on the communication of the benefits of the services offered (when compared to the client’s alternatives choices) in a timely manner, to the identified groups of potential clients. Essentially, that means talking to the right people at the right time with a message they understand.

Any communications channel, be it in print, web or in person, needs to be clear throughout the firm. In small firms this can be relatively easy, but in larger firms internal communications become as important as communications with potential clients. Everyone in a firm needs to be able confidently to present the benefits of any of its services to any client when the opportunity arises. Thus everyone needs to be familiar with the firm’s brochure and website, so they know what to say about other departments services.

Potential clients are looking for help with a particular set of circumstances. However, most clients have little understanding of how solicitors’ firms work, but expect a ‘joined-up’ service. They are seeking easy access to services they understand, and that they see can deliver the benefits they need. For the firm, whatever the method used to deliver that message, the marketing basics must be in place to provide the message content with benefits for clients.

Then you need to consider each communications channel and how best to get your message across. Both freemium and social networking require a lot of relevant content to be generated around the core benefits message to make it attractive to potential clients. But don’t lose sight of the core message or you really will be providing it for free.

Taking the time and effort to get the basics right means your firm can use and get returns from new marcoms channels. In a changing legal services market, having the ability to act quickly based on sound marketing basics can be the difference between thriving or just surviving.

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