Alt Legal Connect Session:Put Your Money Where Your Market Is: Where and How to Market Your Firm to Maximize ROI
Alt Legal Team | September 15, 2021
On Wednesday, September 15, Tasneem Khokha, Managing Director at GrowthPlay, and former BigLaw attorney and Director of Marketing at Katten Muchin Rosenman, presented the session, “Put Your Money Where Your Market Is: Where and How to Market Your Firm to Maximize ROI.” Tasneem discussed how to identify and market to your firm’s best target audience while calculating and maximizing your marketing ROI. She provided practical tips for creating a marketing plan, executing marketing efforts, and developing a follow-up protocol.
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Tasneem explained that her discussion would be divided into three parts: (1) How to evaluate marketing opportunities and create a plan that aligns with business objectives, (2) How to execute these efforts simply and practically, (3) How to follow up to maximize business generation and ROI.
When you do any sort of marketing activity, it’s not just to raise your profile but to develop new business. What does the process of business development look like and where does marketing fit in?
- Meeting a good fit client or prospect – this is where marketing has most valuable contribution through ads, sponsorships, conference attendance, publishing articles, etc. We spend money to get in front of audiences.
- Building relationships – Clients hire you because they know you and trust you.
- Identifying a transition – Determine when your legal services become relevant and necessary. This is the transition to business development, turning prospects to opportunities.
- Hold sales conversations
- Close the work
Tasneem indicated that she would be focusing on the first 3 topics in her discussion.
Evaluating Marketing Opportunities
Lawyers have lots of opportunities to market themselves – ads in publications, conferences, sponsorships – but figuring out what aligns best with your business objectives can be difficult. Tasneem explained that the first thing to consider is whether this opportunity will get you in front of your target market – clients or referral sources. You can define your target market in different ways – perhaps your target is a niche field like fashion and luxury brand industries; perhaps you are looking at companies of a certain size or value; or you may be looking for people with particular job titles – GC’s, start-up founders, company founders, etc.; perhaps you are looking for geographically-based clients.
Next, look for opportunities to learn about what your target market cares about when it comes to trademarks and brand protection. Tasneem explained, “If I know what an audience cares about, I can consider what I bring that’s valuable to that audience.” Next, look for opportunities to be seen by the right organization. Then look for opportunities to contribute to thought leadership and show your expertise and exposes you to your audience by speaking, providing content, writing, etc. to show off. Lastly look to connect with decision makers
Once you’ve determined that an activity will get you in front of your target market, consider how to execute this activity in the best way possible. Tasneem introduced the Marketing Roadmap which helps you determine how the marketing activities you are doing for business development purposes connect with one another. Prospects and Connectors is the biggest box on the Roadmap because the most valuable business development activities are those that put you in front of people who buy from you or refer to you. Tasneem said that if all of your marketing activities is spent on interacting with Prospects and Connectors, that is awesome! But you can also spend time on the other boxes (Alliance & Team Marketing, Events & Associations, and Content & Influence) to feed into activities with Prospects and Connectors. You want to engage in any of these activities to get you in front of new or existing Prospects and Connectors. Tasneem noted that some of your best Prospects and Connectors are your existing clients. It’s so much easier to get new business from existing clients, but we can’t rely on them entirely and we need a steady stream of new clients coming in. Tasneem recommends spending at least 1/3 and up to half-2/3 of resources (including time, activities, and dollars) marketing to existing clients rather than new clients. If you have a half-to-half mix or a 1/3 to 2/3 mix, those are both healthy mixes.
Network-Building Best Practices
Events and associations – Make sure you’re there for the right reasons! When you go to an industry event and you only show up for business, that’s usually pretty obvious and it turns people off. If you genuinely care, you can build authentic relationships that lead to business opportunity. If you’re doing events and associations, get into leadership ranks. That participation raises your profile and allows you to build relationships leading to business opportunity.
Alliances – In terms of alliances, offer ways that you can be valuable to others.
Content and Influence – Find ways to reuse content, break into parts, publish in different places. If you invest time to create content, find ways to get as much mileage out of it as possible.
The Core Four for Preparation
Use this tool particularly when it comes to event-based business development activities – attending or hosting an event, or picking up the phone to call a referral source. Go into these activities with preparation – don’t wing it! Think about (1) Why you are going; (2) Who will be there; (3) What you want to accomplish, (4) What do you do that is better/different. Then consider what you are trying to communicate and learn, and finally, consider what the next steps will be.
One of the most important things about marketing and business development is determining if an activity will get you in front of the right target audience. The other important part is the follow-up. Tasneem indicated that she sees too many lawyers investing in business development activities and not doing adequate follow-up. If you don’t follow-up, it’s a wasted opportunity. Tasneem said, “It’s hard because you’re busy but the reality is, if you’re not going to follow-up, you’re lighting money on fire!” Rather than doing more marketing and business development efforts and less follow-up, do fewer activities and make sure you have time to do the follow-up otherwise you won’t get the ROI that you’re looking for. Instead of saying “We should follow up!” at a conference, say in the moment, “Would you be up for a Zoom/coffee/lunch/phone call?” and invite the person to something. Also think about it in terms of presentations and articles – can you build into your presentation that you have a resource guide related to the presentation. Tell the audience, “If you are interested in this resource, please let me know by dropping a bus card or dropping email address in the chat, and I’ll be happy to share it with you.” Now you have the ability to follow-up!
Authentic Reasons to Connect – The Three In’s
Invitations – Invite them to an interaction with you, something your firm is hosting, or something outside of your firm like a conference or event that the person might be interested in.
Introduction – Introduce people we meet to others in your network in ways that they would find valuable. Introduce people based on personal interests, geography, or having recently handled similar issues.
Insights – Offer insights on a topic someone might be interested in. Send and article, information based on personal interaction, or ask questions seeking their expertise.
Tasneem encouraged everyone to track follow-up using CRM like Interaction or smaller ones like Contactually. Also, Chris Fritsch talked about CRM systems in her Alt Legal Connect session. Tasneem noted that data shows that it takes 7-14 touches with a client before they will consider working with you, so you need to continue to follow up with potential clients. You need multiple interactions to be known, liked, and trusted so that people will do business with you. At a minimum, 1-2 interactions a year is necessary. For higher-priority connectors, make at least 3-4+ interactions a year – this is usually enough to keep relationship fresh.
Most lawyers and firms think about measuring ROI in terms of whether a particular activity generated new clients, matters, or revenue. But most marketing/business development efforts aren’t that close to the revenue – it takes time to get the revenue. What you really want to look for is whether you met new people in the target market, reconnected with people, advanced relationships, etc. Tasneem recommends that when measuring ROI, look at the factors on the Scorecard. You have to do all the right things in marketing and business development in order to achieve revenue. If you see these leading indicators of success (meeting new people in the target market, reconnecting with the right kinds of people, and advancing relationships with prospects or connectors), you’ll see that you are on the right track and revenue will follow!
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