Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Will They Do?

Next week my firm will dip its marketing toes into a new geography. Though the firm has many clients in the region our efforts there have never gone beyond individual business development. It will be an interesting test of messaging.

As well entrenched as we are in certain niche areas of the market the firm has operated rather quietly leaving a lot of marketing capital unspent... and other firms are better known broadly in the area. Interestingly, no firm in the geography has done much strategic marketing; The response by both my audience and peer firms should be quite a study. I anticipate:
  • Heightened buzz - unfortunately, from competitors it will be of the negative sort spoken to other lawyers and possibly clients (their own) as they search for words to describe this "intrusion". Fortunately, their buzz will carry our message deeper, further, faster.
  • Mirroring - Some firms will create response campaigns by mirroring parts of what we do. If we appear in print so will they. As we sponsor so will they. PR; ditto.... The net effect is the sudden spike in law firm marketing spend will increase buyer awareness in the region. They will think more about the choices that are available.
  • Parochial marketing - Firms with a higher identity as a "local" firm will take steps in word and action to lock down relationships with organizations and client groups to protect their territory. The net effect is they will expose their limited reach and resources in a time when businesses need to pay little attention to geographic boundaries.
  • Outreach - For some we will be seen as an opportunity to expand their practice and they will reach out to form a business development alliance. It's good to make new friends.
I might also add to this list, "nothing will happen at all", but I don't believe that is possible. No matter the long-term outcome, in the short-term people will react (potential clients and competitors); reaction always creates lasting change.
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