A fresh approach

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31 March 2010


In the first entry into the PR and marketing section of this website, Alastair Moyes, a director at Legal Futures Associate Marketlaw, says ‘marketing’ encompasses far more than many lawyers think

Defining marketing: it's about management of a business

All new and fresh approaches to informing the legal profession are always welcome. This is all the more important for areas of practice and business management that solicitors may need more help with. Marketing and PR as this section is titled provides a starting point for further discussion.

Splitting PR and marketing into two areas highlights that these are two distinct areas of marketing management. Since the marketing industry is rife with people making up words and changing their means to suit any purpose, I thought it would be useful to start with a definition of marketing and attempt to clarify what’s where in marketing management.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as “the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating, and satisfying customers’ requirements profitably”.

My colleague David Monk, has a better definition for legal services marketing that has come from his 20-plus years of working with solicitors’ firms. It goes like this:

“If it’s not the production of legal work or accounting for that work, then it’s marketing!”

So that covers everything really – staff numbers, services offered, where your offices are, the clients you choose to serve and more and more. It’s how you run a law firm, it’s the questions about how to produce legal work and be profitable. Most people mistake the word ‘marketing’ to mean advertising, which is not helped by the many hundreds of sales people that call firms trying to sell something and call it ‘marketing’.

So I hope we’ve established that marketing is about management of a business. It’s a process of understanding your clients and organising your firm to serve their needs profitably. That process can end in advertising, PR, seminars and any other sort of promotional or ‘marcoms’ (marketing communications) activity because you have decided who your customers are, what it is they want, how your firm can best satisfy that need and how you are going to tell them about your services (deep breath).

There are specialist marketing people and business that help in specific areas like PR, advertising etc but in the end its all about what you have decided to do. Marketlaw and other marketing management consultancies help you first to understand what marketing can do for your firm in its current position, help you plan where to go in the (uncertain) future and then assist you in getting their along with our contacts at website companies, SEO, direct mail, newsletter writers and other services that help to achieve your firms marketing aims.

But get it right first – ask yourself and your partners, what are your firms commercial goals as a business? And how can marketing help you achieve them? 

PS Congratulation to Neil for launching into a new era of legal market journalism. All at Marketlaw wish him and the site every success and we hope to contribute where we can.

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