It is budget and planning season. Or at least normally it would be. Perhaps at your firm you’ve been in non-stop budget and strategy revamp-mode since the spring. Whatever the situation is in front of you, it’s time to focus on how to take what you have accomplished this year and make plans for the year ahead to help drive bottom-line revenue growth for your firm.  

Without marketing objectives to guide your efforts, the marketing plan is aimless. The first step to a comprehensive marketing strategy is to define these objectives and how the marketing strategy will help you and your firm achieve them.  

Step One: Understand Your Firm’s Strategic Plan 

The first step to creating marketing objectives is to know and understand your firm’s strategic plan. Talk with members of the management committee if you need clarification. List the strategic objectives outlined in that plan those on the top of your page – they will be the basis for every marketing objective you create. If you cannot directly tie one of your marketing objectives back to one of the firm’s objectives, it should not be a part of your plan.  

Questions to ask:  

  • What is the firm hoping to accomplish in 1, 3, and 5 years?  
  • What goals (and metrics) has the firm established for the coming year?  
  • What does firm leadership envision for the future of the firm?  
  • What problems is firm management hoping to fix?   
  • How can marketing help the firm reach its goals? 

Step Two: Learn About Your Place in Your Market  

We don’t operate in a vacuum, and for most of us, we don’t have a monopoly on the legal services we provide. Taking some time to understand what is happening outside your law firm that will impact your law firm enables you to be proactive in your planning, not reactive in your execution.  

Questions to ask:  

  • What are your competitors doing?  
  • What regulations are impacting your business?  
  • What other external factors play a part in attracting new work?  
  • What is happening in your industry?   
  • What are innovative ideas in your area?  
  • What can you do to break out of that mold 
  • Where are you a market leader?  
  • What competitive advantages do you have?  
  • Where is there room for growth? 
  • What differentiates you from your competition? 

Step Three: Get to Know Your Ideal Client 

You may already have a picture of your ideal clients. If so, great – pull those out. If not, you can easily create your ideal client profile (ICP) – a description of the company or consumer you should try to sell to. Once you have an in depth understanding of your ICP, create a fictionalized profile for each persona that personifies the ideal traits of your prospects.  

Questions to ask:  

  • What motivations does your potential client have? 
  • What problems do you solve for them?  
  • What is their background 
  • Where would they potentially gain awareness about your firm 
  • What communication methods do they prefer?  
  • What does their organizational chart look like? 
  • What is their process for buying legal services?  
  • What is your value proposition?  
  • How do they research legal services? 

Step Four: Bring Marketing and Business Development Together  

Understanding the process a potential client goes through before working with your firm is an often overlooked step when creating marketing objectives. The customer journey illustrates all the touch points your firm may have with a potential client, the actions they might take, and their motivations at that time. A well-designed customer journey will show where marketing needs to be involved, where business development needs to be involved, and how best to communicate at each step to keep the potential client engaged in the process.  

Questions to ask:  

  • What messaging resonates with them? 
  • What bottlenecks do potential clients experience as part of our buyer’s journey?  
  • Does the information we provide align with their needs at that stage? 
  • What potential questions do they have at each stage?  
  • Do we provide a variety of marketing materials throughout the process? 

Step Five: Create Marketing Objectives   

Finally, it is time to put everything together into your strategic marketing objectives. Every marketing objective you create needs to align with what the firm plans to accomplish, the opportunities and threats in the market, the motivations of potential clients, and the experience they have when learning about the firm.    

Questions to ask:  

  • Which activities best create awareness, educate your audience, and communicate your firm’s value?  
  • What projects get you closest to meeting your goals?  
  • Where can you get the most marketing value for the money you spend?  
  • What untapped opportunities exist if you combine innovative ideas in areas you are a market leader?  

Clearly articulating the ways your marketing department can contribute to the goals and objectives of the firm is imperative to your success. If leadership sees the value the marketing team will bring to the firm’s growth, the more likely they are to approve what you ask for.  

 

Looking for some guidance to create your marketing objectives, plan, and budget? Contact LISI today.