By Ioana Good –
Published in the New York Law Journal –
Things change. The past few years brought many disruptors to businesses of all kinds, driving new methods for conducting business, using new technology applications, and adapting to regulatory changes. Legal marketers and change are not exactly strangers, though. They have always lived in a space where services and products constantly evolve. They’ve made vast adaptations during the pandemic, abruptly shifting from in-person marketing to nearly 100% digital marketing efforts. The industry has also spent a significant amount of time teaching new concepts internally and pushing teams and firms to forge ahead.
As the recovery continues, change will also. Will people yearn to return to the old routines or continue to embrace habits they developed to adapt to covid? Where will they focus their efforts as they reach the post-pandemic consumer? What areas of marketing will they invest in more in 2022? Here are four trends to look for in the new year.
Hybrid Marketing and Technology Efforts Will Elevate a Firm’s Offering
While the pandemic forced event cancellations, the movement towards virtual platforms has been a success. Now, businesspeople can have multiple meetings across the country in one day and be much more efficient rather than spending an entire day traveling for one meeting.
“Many of the online efforts are here to stay, and so will the investment in the technology that supports those efforts,” said Barbara Bell Malin, Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer at Jackson Walker LLP. “Interestingly, at Jackson Walker, we’ve seen clients express a clear preference for webinars over in-person CLE programs.”
For example, the firm holds a well-attended half-day symposium every year. This year, instead of offering the symposium in person or a single half-day webinar, they decided to offer it as a series of five, one-hour virtual presentations. The firm specifically included feedback on the format in their post-event surveys to decide if they should plan to go back to holding the in-person event next year. “The clients who responded have overwhelming indicated that they prefer the multiple one-hour webinar format over either an in-person event or a longer webinar,” said Malin.
The challenge, of course, with a migration to a marketing mix that includes a heavier focus on online efforts is that it is far easier to build relationships in person. The result is that firms need to be much more intentional in understanding client needs. “That is probably part of why we see so many firms determining that now is the time to make investments in things like client feedback, business intelligence tools, experience management platforms, and improved contact management systems,” says Malin. “Standing alone, none of these are novel. But what does seem new is a real drive to synthesize all of the internal and external data firms have about their clients and their client’s needs to develop an integrated understanding of how to serve them better and acquire new clients.”
Content and Public Relations Will Never Be More Important
If you’ve studied successful brands over time, you know they were not born that way. They work at it every day, delivering three essential items: credibility, authority, and visibility. To be leaders in their field, firms will need to align their public relations efforts with thought leadership and SEO. It is not enough to be mentioned once; credible brands do it repeatedly. Those who provide valuable content vs. promotional content will always remain at the top of the search engines.
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