Strategy versus tactics – it’s a very important question from a marketing perspective. What does that mean? 

Almost every firm we talk with really focuses on tactics (not strategy) and they ask questions that betray that. Unfortunately, focusing on tactics first is the surest way to waste marketing dollars and efforts.

What are the tactics, and why shouldn’t you start with them?

A tactic is a thing you do – rather than a framework in which you do it.

Here are some examples of tactics:

  • Writing articles or blogging
  • Posting on social media
  • Using LinkedIn
  • Sending a newsletter
  • Running PPC campaigns
  • Speaking engagements

Do some of these things generate clients? Sure, they can. You might have done some and had good results in the past.

But I also bet that you’ve done some of these tactics and received poor results in the past.

That’s because focusing first on the tactic (the thing that you do) – without having a framework to ensure it gets the best results for you – is a mistake.

So the firms that we speak with often start with questions like “We want to publish more articles, should we?”

But that’s the wrong question! If you are putting a solution into the first question about what to do, that’s a tactic. And you’re missing the point.

Now let’s compare that to strategy. 

Strategy is first looking at the big picture – how clients are created – before selecting the best tactics to make it happen.

A strategy is stepping back and asking the question: “Where are my perspective clients and what is the path that takes them from becoming aware of their problem, to becoming interested in a solution to choosing my firm as that solution?”

This question is a strategy because you can meet those prospective clients at each point in that journey using the right medium and the right tactic.

So your choice of whether you’re on social media – versus writing an article – will depend on where that prospect is in their consideration of solutions (which your firm is – a solution to a need they have).

The Hidden Complexity Of Practice Types

What makes this more complex is that you might have different strategies depending on the kind of practice you have. Consumer-focused attorneys have a different prospect journey than business attorneys.

Litigation attorneys have a different prospect journey than transactional attorneys.

There is no one-size-fits-all. This reinforces the need for strategy before tactics, because certain markets respond better to certain tactics. 

For example, one firm we spoke with last year was a business transactional firm. A marketing consultant had sold them an SEO package. Discussing that with them, we explained to them that this tactic – SEO – didn’t fit at all with their strategy. Why? Because their ideal prospect (a General Counsel) didn’t use Google to choose outside counsel.

That’s why we first started with strategy for them – and guided them to something that worked.

Where To Go From Here

So I encourage you to take a step back. If you’re thinking “I should be doing X” and haven’t fully mapped out your prospects’ journey first, you’re probably falling into the “tactics before strategy” trap.

Also, if you’re not intimately familiar with all the law firm marketing strategies out there – and the tactics you could choose to optimize each, Practice Alchemy can help you with a Marketing Audit. You’ll get a complete analysis of what marketing will work best for your firm.