Recession-Proof Marketing in 4 Steps

recession, economic downturnIn tough economic times, marketing is often one of the first items to be slashed. That's a mistake, as I've maintained consistently. The time to be marketing is in a severe economic downturn. But regrettably, a lot of law firms will dump jet fuel while their firm is going into a tailspin.

Lawyers USA has a good article pinpointing the 4 steps a law firm must take in this horrendous economy.

• Focus on top clients.

Those are your crown jewel clients, which generate 50% to 80% of firm revenue. Visit them, spend time with them, find out what's going on at their companies and if you can help them.

Susan Van Dyke, a legal marketing and communications consultant in Vancouver, British Columbia, suggests setting up small working groups for each of your top 10 clients. Then, launch a series of non-billable, quarterly lunch meetings between the clients' executives and the legal teams to discuss new issues or resolve problems. 

• Follow the revenue pipelines.

Determine your high-margin practice areas, and focus on them to increase your pipelines of revenue. For instance, Van Dyke says, the lending industry needs foreclosure help; real estate developers may have contract issues or employment disputes.

"Package a suite of services that demonstrates your understanding and ability to assist them swiftly," she suggests.

• Communicate your expertise.

Trey Ryder, a legal marketing consultant in Payson, Ariz., recommends mailing out educational letters to referral sources, as well as current and former clients, explaining the economic problems they face and what you can do to help them.

For example, "in this particular economy, a lot of people want to protect their assets, they want to do estate planning," he notes.

• Get a plan.

Make all the lawyers in your firm develop a business development plan, listing the clients they're going to call on, the people they'll build into a referral network and at least one organization they will join.

And don't just join a random organization. Ask your best clients which organizations they belong to and then ask if you can attend a meeting of that group with them. If you go to a Rotary Club meeting with a client, for example, not only will you be introduced to potential clients, but you'll have the opportunity to deepen your relationship with the existing client. 

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Jennifer Cohen - December 11, 2008 8:49 AM

Great points for recession proofing. I like that you added a marketing tip in there because often times, marketing budgets are the ones that go when money gets tight...but in fact, it is just the thing a company needs to keep it rolling. The key is marketing smarter!

Thanks for the info!

Jennifer Cohen
Foster Web Marketing

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