Laura Cutler, Marketing Lead, Global Campaigns
Herbert Smith Freehills
We had the opportunity to catch up with Laura Cutler, Marketing Lead, Global Campaigns at Herbert Smith Freehills to discuss her view on developments within legal marketing. Laura will be joining our incisive panel on the art of content marketing at the Law Firm Marketing Summit this November.
What do you think is the biggest single challenge threatening the profitable future of law firms?
The business landscape is shifting at such a pace with influences from technological advancements, political and social change, that every business, not just law firms, need to embrace innovation to become more agile and cost-effective. New incumbents are delivering what clients want and how they want it, which is vital to compete in this era of customer-centricity. But for me, to remain relevant to changing client needs and in turn to remain profitable is through building a more diverse and empowered workforce.
When you look at how other professional services sectors are adapting their marketing and business development strategies to changing market conditions, what do you feel the legal sector should be emulating?
Targeted, insightful, concise!
The digital age has brought about a colossal decrease in attention span. Using rich media and infographics that can relay the equivalent of a thousand words at a glance, is how the Big 4 and management consultancies are grabbing attention. Really knowing your target audiences and tailoring your approach in content formats and choosing the right mix of channels to execute an integrated campaign will get the best results.
Gone are the days (hopefully) of creating long-form, insular pieces of content and sending them to everyone on your mailing list and then moving on to the next project. Attention grabbing, opinionated content disseminated in bite-sized, easily accessible formats at regular periods, to keep ‘front of mind’, is the trend. Using data analytics to then see what’s working well, or who is engaged in your content offering, is a vital source of information for BD teams and fee-earners to then follow up and enrich their relationship building and referral efforts.
One of the biggest challenges for marketing and business development teams working within law firms is to engage the managing partners in the process – what’s your personal tip for getting this to work?
Strategy is the art of sacrifice. Having a clear content strategy that focuses on some key macro themes aligned to your client’s issues, growth initiatives and brand promise can unite the whole business. When there are finite resources at stake, knowing what you want to be famous for and making the most of a global thought leadership campaign can deliver so many benefits. Reputation: brand differentiation and awareness; stakeholder profile raising. Relationships: attraction and retention of clients/influencers and potential hires. Revenue: sales and cross-selling opportunities. All of which contribute to reassuring your clients that they’ve made the best choice in appointing you.
My personal tip is to remember that you’re the glue that holds the 3R model together (Reputation, Relationships, Revenue). Use it as a way to communicate recommendations or as a structured form of questioning to help define priorities. As a Marketing or BD professional, you are the client advocate but you’re also perfectly positioned to connect the dots on a variety of singular initiatives to deliver synergies and better results. Keep your evidence high-level, use best practice examples from competitors or wider industry and consider inviting in an external voice to reinforce your message. You’re in the role for a reason and have a wealth of expertise to bring to the discussion and decision-making process. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Good luck!
For more information on the Law Firm Marketing Summit, take a look at our agenda for 2018.