Thursday, February 10, 2005

Legal Marketing and Conventional Wisdom

Andy Haven asks the question sitting in the tongue of so many legal marketers, “If industries that have been putting their best minds and millions of dollars into marketing for a century are having to rethink their assumptions, what does that say about marketing in the legal industry, which hasn't even begun to embrace much of the conventional wisdom?”

I would like to challenge everyone with a different question along the same lines: ‘What does it say about marketers in the legal industry that they assume conventional wisdom will work with law firms?’

So much of conventional marketing wisdom was born in industries and markets quite unlike professional services and law firms. Many of the most basic principles of what works and what does not are similar yet the tactics to me feel like something much different.

I have often said that legal marketing is a closer cousin to matchmaking than to business promotion. In every element I have to be considerate of BOTH the targeted customers and the product/person I am targeting them with.

Our products have personalities (the attorneys), and preferences, and no fear of revealing either. Even marketing the firm holistically requires individual attention to the attorneys. If I was marketing for Mattel I can tell Barbie who she will “be” for the market, and she won’t offer a differing opinion…

It gets right under my skin sometimes when attorneys don’t listen to what I recommend! And then I remind myself that legal marketing IS a new, new thing; that I’m part of it; and attorneys are just tenacious enough to keep reminding me of it.