By Stephanie Dorssom, Digital Marketing Manager, Husch Blackwell LLP
The corporate legal world is highly competitive. With thousands of law firms competing for the work from a lot of the same organizations, law firms should not be complacent. In this day and age, firms are touting innovative solutions and products to meet the needs of clients in an effort to offer differentiating factors that could possibly give them a competitive edge. From the Internet of Things (IoT) to blockchain, bots, design thinking and AI, these innovative buzzwords are now commonplace in the legal industry — but will they impact how clients purchase legal services? Furthermore, what is marketing’s role in the innovation process?
Mastering client service and embracing innovation are how firms will succeed against disruptive technologies and beat their competition. This requires a combination of:
- Intrapreneurs: Individual, forward-thinking attorneys that listen to their client’s needs and create focused, innovative solutions that are highly advantageous to clients
- Marketing Professionals: An integrated network throughout the firm that also serves as the front line to clients
This group is the best mechanism to communicate broadly to attorneys about changes occurring in the market while also promoting each intrapreneur’s success internally and externally, organically generating demand for change.
Let’s talk more about marketing’s role. Implementing the following strategies will help promote a firm’s innovative client offerings.
- Branding: Does your firm have a subsidiary in order to create and license proprietary technology solutions? Does it have its own logo and brand? Consider working with your in-house risk management team to set one up if you plan to launch new technologies. From there, make sure all proprietary offerings are branded, including website content, email and social media graphics, event materials, collateral, etc.
- Website: At the least, is there a web page devoted to innovation? If not, add a dedicated page to innovation on your website. Be as specific as you can about your offerings and how they lead clients to victory and include specific case studies, infographics, statistics, client testimonials and thought leadership pieces. Don’t forget to update the page monthly to keep it fresh. Search engines love new web page content.
- Internal Communications: Is there a page for innovation on your intranet? Consider housing important “how to,” best practices and process documents on the intranet – spotlighting innovative ideas on the home page. Include innovation-related successes in internal newsletters.
- Email Marketing: Have you built a targeted distribution list of clients and prospective clients that would be interested in any new innovative offerings? Solicit contacts from attorney intrapreneurs as a starting point and build from there.
- Blog: Do you want to brand your firm as an innovation thought leader? If you have a dedicated group of attorneys focused on developing innovative offerings for clients, prospects, start-ups, etc., a blog might be a good, consumable medium to explore. Frequent thought leadership can build the trust of clients and establish your attorneys and firm as go-to resources. Be sure to link from your website to the blog and vice versa for search engine optimization and simplifying the user experience.
- Media Relations: Are you leveraging relationships with writers and reporters? Learn which media outlets in your area focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. Offer to meet an innovation-focused writer for coffee to explain what your firm is doing in the area of innovation and who your firm’s intrapreneurs are. Follow and strike up a relationship with local start-up organizations; they often have newsletters that are looking for content. Search out innovation-focused events in your city, and introduce yourself to reporters who cover them.
Bottom line: Law firms MUST stay relevant. The collaboration between innovation and marketing is key. What initiatives shared here can you start today?
Interested in learning more about innovation and marketing? Stephanie Dorssom, joined by her colleagues at Husch Blackwell, will take part in a panel discussion, “The Law Firm Dilemma: Why Marketing Is Key During Disruptive Innovation,” at the LMA Midwest Regional Conference, June 18-19 in Detroit, Michigan. Learn more and register here.
Stephanie Dorssom is a marketing and communications professional that oversees and executes the development, production and maintenance of electronic and web-based communications. She is currently employed by Husch Blackwell LLP, a full service corporate law firm with 700 + attorneys located in 18 cities across the United States. Stephanie guides attorney business development and marketing efforts by making strategic recommendations to increase the online profile of the firm and individual attorneys. She routinely provides her firm’s attorneys with social media training and coaching by giving presentations at department meetings and by working with them individually. Stephanie is a Certified Social Marketing Professional through Hootsuite Academy.