Who is Your Target Prospect?
Critical to implementation of an effective marketing program is developing a very specific profile of your target audience. In many cases, if a provider is simply targeting “lawyers” or “law firms,” they may be missing the boat. Hence, in determining a target audience, the following should all be considered:
Type of Practice
A criminal law practice will have very different needs than a family law firm, which in turn may have altogether different requirements than a commercial litigation practice, a bankruptcy firm or even an organization that provides several legal services. Some products and services may cut across all practice areas, while others should be targeted towards very specific groups of individuals. Prior to implementing any type of marketing endeavor, it is critical to understand how the particular product or service fits into the needs of each practice area.
The Law Firm's Target Audience
Law firms can also be categorized by those that target the general public, those whose prospects are other businesses and those who target governmental entities. These different target audiences may demand very different types of goods and services. As such, they require different strategies on the part of legal marketers as well as different vehicles in which to reach them.
Size of the Firm
Very large legal practices have very different needs than those of small practices or even of sole practitioners. For this reason, businesses that promote certain products or services must allocate their marketing resources carefully. For example, some practice management applications lend themselves well to the needs of a large firm, while these same applications will be unnecessary for a smaller operation. Similarly, boutique bookkeeping services might find a positive reception amongst smaller practices, but may find less enthusiasm at larger organizations where such functions are performed in-house. At A.L.T., we work with our legal vendor clients to determine how best to target the right size law firms.
The specific market or markets in which you will be promoting your products and services may each have unique media characteristics that will affect the nature of your marketing plan. For example, some markets have very strong Bar associations that offer a wealth of promotional opportunities to providers of legal goods and services. Others may not even allow legal vendors to participate in any bar activities. In determining which markets or areas of the country to pursue, it is important to understand the legal community of each.
The Culture of the Firm
Just as law firms vary by practice areas, their target markets, size and the means by which they go about making decisions, so too does the culture of the practice determine how a legal vendor should consider approaching particular firms. Some organizations are very set in their ways and are reluctant to embrace new means for doing things. Other firms may fall into the category of “early adopters” and are eager to work with the “latest and greatest.”
The Law Firm's Decision Making Process
One of the major reasons why targeting law practices can be so difficult is because the decision making process (and the decision makers themselves) vary from firm to firm. In some organizations, decisions are made by committee. For others, that decision may be made by a managing partner…. or a sole practitioner…or a chief administrator, a paralegal, the head of a particular department (e.g., IT), a CEO who is not an attorney or perhaps by the firm’s board. This means that in order to be certain one is reaching the “right” individual(s), one must often reach out to all of these various groups – sometimes an expensive proposition
REACH THE UNREACHABLE!
Contact A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group to discuss the best strategies for determining your target audience and marketing your product/service to attorneys and law firms.