Legal Marketing Blog

Marketing Study Cites Competition For Law Firms As The #1 Obstacle To Growth

Posted by Jennifer Iverson

A law firm marketing and business development survey has found that competition in the legal arena is their biggest hurdle towards growth.

There is no doubt that there is fierce competition in the legal arena for new business, but now according to a new study, it is confirmed.

A new survey put out by legal mogul Lexis Nexis called, “Law Firms in Transition: Marketing, Business Development and the Quest for Growth” provides a look into the state of legal marketing and more significantly, benchmarks for enhancing the overall business development strategy.

Survey Statistics

The targeted trends and statistics on how law firms are managing the evolving challenges of legal marketing include:

  • Positive growth forecast – A little over half of those surveyed (57%) are optimistic about law firm growth this year, while about one-third expect growth to remain stale. Just 5% expressed pessimism.
  • Biggest growth barrier – Competition was the single largest challenge to law firm growth according to 52% of respondents. The following highest challenges cited were 2) attorney participation; 3) pricing; 4) no long-term strategy; and 5) no accountability, for example one respondent wrote in the open-ended comments “Lack of follow-up on proposals from attorneys.”
  • Law firm marketing or business development – Approximately 90% believe there is a relatively clear distinction between “law firm marketing” and “law firm business development.”
  • Difference in marketing and business development structure – Roughly one-quarter of respondents said their law firm did not have a business development department, while 29% indicated marketing reports to business development. Just about one-fourth of law firms say they have a chief business development officer and of those, 81% said the chief marketing officer satisfies both roles.
  • Law firms investing in thought leadership – Thought leadership (63%) is the highest area in which law firm business development and marketers say they will invest in online growth. Digital trends underscored additional areas of investment including: 2) analytics (58%); 3) blogging and content marketing (57%); 4) social media marketing (55%); and technology such as CRM (51%).
  • Investment in law firm marketing – As a percentage of revenue, 13% said their firm invests between 1-2% on marketing or business development, while 32% said 2-5%.
  • Return on investment (ROI) challenges – Calculating the return on investment (ROI) on the marketing activities in which a law firm invests for growth, continues to be a challenge. The largest group of respondents (43%) indicated they do not have measurable data. About one-third said they did (33%) with another 23% stating they were unsure.

“The #1 activity tracked among law firms is the win/loss ratio.”

Cohesion, consistency, and firm-wide support were common themes in the final open-ended question of the survey which asked respondents for, “the single most valuable idea law firms could implement to drive better results in marketing and business development:

  • Get attorneys to work together so that the client sees a united front and attorneys who get their issues across the board
  • Better train, equip, and reward attorneys for business development rather than a single-minded focus on the billable hour only
  • Create a firm-wide business development strategy and implement/track on the individual attorney level

The InterAction team is hosting a complimentary webinar on October 27, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. (EST) which will walk through the survey results and identify how legal marketers and business development professionals are capitalizing on the industry growth assessment: Law Firms in BD Transition Survey Results Webinar http://bit.ly/Law-Firm-BD-Webinar.

We specialize in public relations, branding and developing your law firm’s online presence throughout the Seattle area

Our award-winning marketing team at Firm Evolution welcomes the opportunity to assist you. We provide a wide range of public relation and marketing services throughout Seattle, Redmond and Bellevue, Washington. We focus on the needs, goals and differentiating aspects of each law firm client.

Our emphasis is on the big picture — leveraging the strengths of the individual attorneys, practice groups and overall firm on all fronts. We work closely with our clients to ensure that all components of their marketing program – from press releases and marketing plans to website and internet campaigns – provide a strong foundation for maintaining existing clients and developing new ones. Contact Firm Evolution at 206.321.3220 to learn more about how we can help your law firm