A reader of our last blog post (entitled Is SEO snake oil?) wrote a comment that really resonated with me:
“All too often attorneys want to believe that there’s an easy answer: something they can throw money at that will automatically bring new business in the door…” wrote Fina Wert, Director of Marketing at McNees Wallace & Nurick.
Exactly. That’s the underlying tension in legal marketing. Everyone wants it to be faster and easier than it is.
Fina’s words really connected with me because I spent nearly a decade trying to develop a way for law firms to outsource marketing to my company with minimal input from their attorneys. I figured that I’d make a fortune if I could find a cost-effective formula. Despite much effort, I couldn’t figure out an effective way to take attorneys out of the marketing equation.
In the end, here’s what I learned: Most of legal marketing is about building a reputation and developing relationships. And to do this with any degree of success, it’s vital that attorneys are directly involved in the effort.
So, what’s the role of the marketing department? To help craft a plan of action – and perhaps offer some organizational support. However, at the end of the day, individual attorneys must make a commitment to do the heavy lifting (like writing, speaking and networking) that will bring clients in the door.
As far as I can tell, the fast and easy solutions (i.e., those that minimize attorney participation) never seem to deliver a decent return on investment. Am I missing something? If so, I’d love to hear your stories