The digitisation of content and communications is certainly something the legal sector has been preparing for.

Our increasingly digital economy has been great for lawyers, with more work becoming available in many different areas, including copyright law, mergers and acquisitions, media and communications, and consumer law.

Despite this change however, many feel law firms have been slow to embrace digital communications when compared to other sectors. 

This contrast is explored in our brand new report Digital Marketing in the Legal Sector, published in association with The Lawyer.

The report focuses on current activities and priorities in digital marketing within the sector, as well as challenges to best practice. It’s based on a survey of more than 150 professionals employed in marketing, digital or communications within the legal sector, carried out in the spring of 2015.

Here we’ll look at three key trends from the survey, that will help answer the question: "Are law firms prioritising correctly or missing opportunities in digital marketing?”

Content marketing is effective and in demand 

Multimedia content creation is the skill second-most in demand when recruiting into legal sector marketing teams. 

Content marketing is also viewed as the most effective digital marketing discipline for law firms.

This corresponds with law firm websites and their prioritising of sector insight in the form of articles, publications and video.

We asked our respondents to rank the top three most effective digital channels or disciplines for their firm:

Mobile is now on the agenda

Half of our survey respondents felt their firm was adequately set up to manage the customer experience for mobile users. 

This shows that, although larger law firms are still experiencing the pains of adapting to mobile (only four of the top 20 firms in The Lawyer 200 had responsive websites at the time of writing), things are changing across the sector. 

Of course, it’s often easier for a smaller and less asset-rich firm to make the switch to a mobile-first mentality, providing they have adequate budget set aside.

9% of respondents said their firm was ‘very much’ set up to manage the customer experience for mobile users. 41% said ‘to a certain extent’, 32% ‘not really’ and 19% ‘not at all’. 

The alignment of data and communications is slow

Despite identifying the importance of proactively engaging with clients using digital content, eCRM strategy is immature for many survey respondents. 

27% of respondents admitted they have nothing in place currently and are scoping new systems. A further 30% said they are implementing a new system and processes. 

That leaves less than half of respondents claiming to have an established or mature eCRM strategy. 

When it comes to automation, which relies on organised data and CRM, only 24% of respondents are using automated email for client acquisition.

For much more detail and insight, download the full report: Digital Marketing in the Legal Sector, published in association with The Lawyer.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 29 June, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (2)

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Andrew Rogerson, Director at Grist

Christopher,
Great article. But it is no surprise that content marketing is high on the agenda of law firms. Content marketing, in the form of client briefings, newsletters and surveys, has been used to communicate the IP of partners for many years. But most of this content has been produced without a clear understanding of where it fits into the bigger picture. So while content creation skills may be in demand, I would argue that content marketing strategy should be higher on the priority list.
Although content is highly valued by many law firms, and obviously highlighted in your survey, the link with the broader business development process (and therefore the real opportunity) is invariably missed. Content is often created without a clear objective or audience in mind. Content that focuses on client pain points as much as the firm's services, that clarifies business objectives rather than technical details and reveals how peers are dealing with similar problems would have even more impressive results.
It is time that all of us in professional services marketing took up the baton and started to match the efforts of our B2C peers. Only then will we reach the real potential, of our firms, and of ourselves.
Andy Rogerson, Grist

over 2 years ago

James Bliwas

James Bliwas, Managing Director at Leaner Law Mgt & Mktg Services

The problem many firms run into with content marketing is that they never started with a strategy; they started blogging (or whatever) because the firm across the street was doing it so it seemed like a good idea.

The same is true for social media; a lack of strategy means that, for many firms, Tweets are sent out or Facebook and LinkedIn updates get posted that do little to engage the target audience. Firms forget that the word "social" is part of the phrase "social media."

about 2 years ago

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