In the first part of our series of articles I offered an overview some general trends that every law firm can adopt. In the second part I will focus on some trends that are more suitable for medium sized and larger law firms.
Localization instead of globalization - or even personalization
More and more companies realize the local business and cultural specificities and change their business operation according to them. It's rarely true that a cross-border campaign reaches every targeted person with the same effectiveness. There are two ways to change this - the first one is to adjust the global campaign according to the local tones and ways. The other solution is to create local campaigns, targeting only the population of a given continent, country, region, or other group.
How can lawyers use this thinking? Global legal solutions are rare. There are fields of law or legal solutions that can be international - mostly cross-border M&A deals, typically conducted by Big Law Firms. Some fields have mixed characteristics, like Banking & Finance matters - including global trends, and local regulations alike. (surely, M&A deals have their own local regulatory aspects - but the focus is different). Litigation is typically a localized field, with strong connection to the legal framework of a country's specifications (international dispute resolution is for another thing - a smaller part of litigation). Small and mid-sized law firms should decide on their focus, measure their strengths, and find their aim to provide something unique. They don't have to be an expert in everything - but should be in some.
The time of marketing technologists
This logical step arises from the merger of the communications and sales field. Digital technology takes a huge part of latest business communication strategies. Like in many modern professions, PR and communications experts' knowledge needs a constant update. Imagine a marketer’s knowledge from 2005 - without Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. Mobile solutions, social media, online advertising, all request a special knowledge so marketers should be technologically aware and up-to-date.
So do lawyers. We can't say that a lawyer "knows online.” The online segments all pose a need for special knowledge, a unique touch which is learnable, but they all take some time to understand and master. Especially if they want to manage their online presence without an external expert, as ongoing management is necessary, it could be very time-consuming.
Micro targeting is a strategy when a business, a product, or a solution aims for a very small group or even a person himself. The sci-fi version is when in the movie “Minority Report” the billboards scan our retina to identify the relevant targeted advertisement to display. In the present, in order to use this method we must have an in-depth knowledge of the target audience. Another way of using micro targeting is to reach a larger group through these individuals - a common example is to find the opinion leaders of a certain group to deliver the message. Now, with digital advertising technologies, the usage of Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, the personal targeting is not in a too far of a future anymore.
Lawyers can profit from this targeting technique, even if they are specialized in a specific field of law. The client acquisition strategy can be highly precise, even down to one company or a person. We can determine who we want to meet to present our expertise. Online social networking tools are working at their finest for us.
80% of users check in to Facebook from mobile worldwide. In CEE the web page views from mobile devices are around 15-20%. The usage of smartphones increased to 40% (10% more than 2014) - still behind the 75 % penetration in the USA. Nonetheless, every business should be mobile-ready (ready for visitors or potential clients).
Law firms are in a manageable situation if they have the base. Mobile friendly or responsive webpage is a must. The hardest part if they already have a webpage to convert it is sometimes harder than to build a new one. And another important element: since 2015 April 21 Google punishes non-mobile friendly pages and ranks them backwards in the search results. With 40% of searches coming from a mobile device, this is something that has to be taken seriously!
Mate Bende deals with legal communication for almost 10 years. As a qualified lawyer he started his career at Wolters Kluwer Hungary. Later he was the communications and business development manager of international law firms Gide and Schoenherr’s Hungarian office. In 2015 he started his own consultancy practice, Pro/Lawyer Consulting, focusing mainly on law firms.