,,Why read this article? This short article looks at what lessons marketing teams within law firms have learned since the outbreak of COVID-19 and how these lessons will impact future strategies and ways of working going forward.
,I have definitely started to see law firm marketing teams shift their focus from short-term content and client activities to a more medium and long-term approach. Global law firms are starting to focus more on strategic activities that engage with and help clients more, rather than previous month’s which have been a constant surge in content generation to meet client demand for information throughout COVID-19. As these teams start to focus long term what learnings can teams take from this pandemic and adopt as part of standard practice going forward.
,,1. Delivery timelines accelerated and focusing on creating the right things for clients
,For those that work in global law firms, most will relate to the challenges of getting concepts to market at a pace we want to operate at. Law firms are filled with blockers and individual stakeholders which can kill off projects when they are busy. Yet since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have seen lawyers invest considerable time in creating content for clients, whether that be in the form of legal briefings, podcasts, webinars, white papers and more overnight, as legal developments occur law firm marketing teams have been able to turn these into guidance for clients, at a speed we have never experienced before.
,The engagement and collaboration from teams across different service areas and jurisdictions, will hopefully encourage those that do not usually see the value in these activities being more open and experienced in supporting these types of projects going forward. Although caution should be considered, as the disadvantage of this is that key communication to clients can get lost in the flood of content, therefore firms should monitor their activity with clients to ensure that clients are not being sprayed, which has been common feedback throughout COVID-19 by clients.
,I do think ROI/measuring the success of marketing initiatives has taken a bit of a back seat by a lot of marketing teams, with more emphasis on creation and execution, so this is something to keep firmly in mind still and try to measure engagement and opportunities developed. More debrief sessions are essential when you can create things faster, else you can keep creating the wrong things for clients.
,,2. Restricted budgets and delivering marketing on a shoestring
,Quite quickly we have seen law firms reduce or eliminate external spend completely, this has forced departments to rethink their strategy and external spend. Particularly around sponsorship of events and memberships. With greater emphasis on cost control in law firms and marketing directors keen to avoid team redundancies, marketing budgets will ultimately be tightened. I am right now, unsure if I can touch my own budget for the new financial year yet.
,To cope during COVID-19, law firms have turned to utilising internal design resources, digital teams and other support services to deliver products and content that is usually outsourced. Of course smaller law firms might not have the same level of resources, and will need to be smart about how they go external for these types of services on smaller budgets.
,The cost of delivering webinars, podcasts, white papers do not cost anything other than time, this is something that firms will be more conscious of as law firms have been impacted by Covid-19 and we will see marketing budgets tighten and ROI measured more closely going forward.
,,3. Bespoke and personal channels
,Prior to COVID-19 we have seen a greater emphasis on ensuring legal marketing teams are producing succinct and tailored content for clients,
,When reviewing client engagement on CRM’s and speaking to clients, we are seeing some clients receiving a large number of centrally sent content, which is just getting deleted or unsubscribed, according to General Counsel I have spoken to over the last few months, most are only engaging in content sent direct from their relationship partners and those firms that they had pre-existing relationships prior to COVID&19.
,This feedback will encourage relationship partners to be more proactive in analysing and tailoring briefings before sending on.
,Also we will expect to see firms
,,4. Virtual teams and service delivery
,For many legal marketing teams, working from home once a week is routine and for many global law firms, central teams are used to working virtually with lawyers around the world.
,However since the outbreak of COVID-19 and teams moving to working from home all week, we have not seen any disruption to the way in which marketing teams are supporting their law firms, which is challenging law firms to think about the move to smaller offices and encouraging greater working from home by teams. I personally am definitely moving from one day a week to two or three days to enjoy a greater work life balance (no commute) . I have been enjoying the past few weeks.
,Many of us probably find ourselves with not just Skype, but Zoom and MS Teams and we have had to quickly adapt to these platforms for internal meetings or for hosting external clients on webinars.
,This could also make it easier in terms of recruitment pools being expanded, no longer will law firms be restricted to recruiting local candidates, instead a London-based law firm can potentially recruit a regional-based marketing candidate to fulfil the role remotely. Perhaps in more international law firms, we could well see more roles moving to other countries outside of the UK.
,,5. Digital marketing
,The way in which internal teams have pivoted their focus and those larger teams have upskilled wider teams on webinar, podcast and other digital marketing activities has been very effective.
,Many law firms have focused resources and time on social selling techniques such as ,sharing relevant content, interacting directly with potential buyers and customers, personal branding, and social listening on such platforms as LinkedIn since COVID-19 broke out.
,There will be a greater demand on teams to have knowledge and experience in these areas, which will likely also become part of recruitment criteria when this unfreezes for firms. I also expect the number of in-person events to decline, and a shift to virtual client engagement strategies taking focus going forward.
,Review your marketing activities over recent months looking at spend and ROI, look at ways that your team can implement some of the above learnings into the team’s future strategy and the way in which the department supports the firm going forward via virtual, digital focused and cost conscious teams.