SCOTT ST CLAIR
SUBJECT: MARKETING PLAN DATE:
Our marketing is governed by this simple maxim: Clients hire attorneys, not law firms. It stands to reason, then, that all of the firm’s marketing communications will lead with individual attorneys. However, the firm has a distinct ethos that we have expressed in our brand promise. The expression of this promise in our communications will give consistency and unity to our messaging, which will give our communications greater force with potential clients. Target Market The firm’s client base consists almost entirely of small businesses and professionals, including medical doctors, attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers and other professionals. Currently, the firm provides mostly litigation defense in professional malpractice, construction and product defect matters, and other complex litigation. The firm has a substantial intellectual property practice, including patent and trademark prosecutions and litigation. In addition, the firm offers commercial legal services to businesses, including real estate closings, business formation, contract formulation and negotiation and so on. Consequently, the target audience for the firm’s marketing communication is the managers of small and medium sized businesses, and professionals of all sorts, including doctors, attorneys, architects, engineers, accountants and so on. General Messaging The following paragraphs discuss the messaging that will imbue all of BWPH’s marketing communications. Background: Barnwell Whaley is a mid-sized law firm that serves the Charleston and greater South Carolina markets. The firm’s practice is concentrated primarily in complex civil litigation, but also includes substantial intellectual property and transactional practices. Litigation areas
include commercial, construction, general liability, health care, and trucking and transportation. As such, our practice serves primarily businesses and professionals. Naming: As with many law firms, this one is known colloquially by just the first two words of its name: Barnwell Whaley. Acknowledging this is simply recognizing reality. Consequently, all marketing communications will use the “shorthand” version of the firm name. There is no intent to change the legal name of the firm, which will be used as required when claiming copyrights and trademarks and in legal documents. Brand Promise: The following words and phrases characterize Barnwell Whaley: § § § §
Legal work of uncompromised quality A thorough understanding of our clients’ businesses and professions Excellent client service Traditional values: honesty, integrity and value o We put our clients’ interests ahead of our own o We provide candid assessments and advice for each legal challenge o We provide honest value: big law firm quality at more modest rates § Attorneys that are among the best and most broadly accomplished in South Carolina Breadth of Experience: One of the key attributes of the firm’s attorneys is the breadth of experience and education that they possess. For example, BWPH attorneys have, in addition to their legal degrees, advanced degrees in: § § § § §
Chemistry Accounting Business Administration Nursing Engineering
We believe that it is critical to market the breadth as well as the depth of our attorneys’ experience Tone The tone of all communications should be professional but not staid. It is as important for potential clients to see BWPH as progressive and innovative as it is to see us as professional and competent. Results and Metrics The ROI on our marketing expenditures is going to hard to measure: the old saw in advertising is that “only 50% of advertising works; the question is, which half”. Fundamentally, it will be difficult to separate the effects of our marketing efforts from other organic sources of growth.
Initially, I propose the following metrics: § § § § § § §
Establish a “click” base line on our existing website Use tools provided my Martindale-Hubble to monitor comparisons between our firm and others in the Charleston market. Monitor click-throughs from the Martindale site to ours. Require that all “marketing” attorneys report monthly on their activities. No report, no expense refund Require that all “marketing” attorneys agree to participate in at least one community program Require that all “marketing” attorneys give at least 3 seminars related to their areas of expertise per year to industry groups that are within our target market Require that all primary attorneys visit at least 6 existing clients each year, and document their activities. No report, no expense refund. Keep marketing expenses to no more than 1.5% of revenue
Marketing Strategies There are three elements to expanding the firm’s business: obtaining new work from existing clients, obtaining new clients in our existing practice areas and acquiring new clients in new practice areas. All three elements use marketing tools to accomplish the goal of expanding the firm’s business, but there is a strategic component to the third element that is beyond the scope of this marketing planning document. Once the firm has determined which practice areas it want to add to its current portfolio and the means it will use to enter those areas (acquisition, organic growth, etc), then we should develop an additional marketing plan to support that effort. Marketing Tactics Logo and Branding: We have already redesigned our logo, business cards and letterhead. We will have to redesign other marketing communications to incorporate the new logo, too, including the website, sell-sheets, the firm resume and so on. We have engaged Tiffany Jonas to do this redesign for us, but we will use in-house resources for production of many of these documents. In other words, once the design template is done, Carol or I will “pour” the necessary text and images into the template to make a sell sheet, for example. Doing so will substantially limit our costs. Web Site: Our current web site lacks many elements that would make it a stronger marketing tool for the firm, specifically an “attorney-centric” organization, emphasis on the breadth and depth of our attorneys’ experience, lack of case studies and testimonials, and search engine optimization. Again, we will get Tiffany to design the templates and help with search engine optimization, but we will use internal resources for the majority of production. Carol and I have all the tools and skill necessary to do the job.
As of August 12, 2009, a search for “civil litigation Charleston SC” or “litigation defense Charleston SC” does not bring up BWPH web site in Google. Hood and other defense firms do come up. Advertising: I believe we should run a series of ads in the Charleston Regional Business Journal to introduce our attorneys to the Charleston market. Presuming we purchase half page ads, each ad will be focused on two attorneys, describing in some detail the breadth and depth of his or her experience. These ads would also brand the firm and drive readers to the firm website. For a half page ad, the expense is about $1,200. I recommend we run one ad a month. Design and production will run about $2,500. We currently spend significant advertising dollars on the yellow pages and Martindale Hubble. I am eliminating our listing in most “bar registers books”. These listings are expensive (we spent $3,000 on such in the last 12 months) and produce little. Collateral: The most essential piece of collateral is the firm’s website, however a professional designed and produced print piece is also required as a leave-behind when visiting potential clients. Rather than a “firm brochure”, this piece will be a resume that has short biographies of each firm attorney, a brief firm history, recent significant case descriptions and a representative list of clients. Direct Marketing: We will produce a sell sheet and cover letter to market Ernest Lipscomb’s expert witness practice. The source of the leads will be MaxVal litigation database, which costs $50 per month. I plan quarterly mailings of 500 pieces at $1 per piece. Media Relations: We will continue to use the media lists developed by E. Boineau & Co. to distribute press releases announcing firm achievements, including awards given to our members or associates, important new clients and major court room successes (were appropriate). We will also further develop case summaries, which will become part of our media kit. Attorney Marketing Activities: Carol and I will work with the members and associates to develop personal marketing plans that will include the following elements: § §
Visiting with clients or potential clients at least one a week at a lunch or a dinner Spending one day per quarter at a marketing activity, which could include giving a seminar related to the attorneys’ practice area, visiting an out-of-town client or attending a trade group seminar or meeting. These activities must be approved in advance by a member or it must be a part of the attorneys’ approved marketing plan. Participate on a committee level in an association or trade group related to the attorneys’ practice area Attorneys may “opt out” of marketing activities, but will be expressly advised that attorneys who do so will not be considered for membership in the firm.
In order to promote marketing activities by attorneys, the firm will set minimum requirements for marketing activities according to the following schedule:
Billable Hours Marketing/Week Marketing/Quarter Administrative Time Continuing Education Vacation
Time in Hours Week Month Year 40.00 173.33 2080 2.00 8.67 104 0.62 2.67 32 2.00 8.67 104 0.27 1.17 14 1.54 6.67 80 46.42 201.17 2414
Definitions: § § § § § §
Billable hours: Time spent on matters that can be billed to and collected from clients Marketing/Week: Time taking current or potential clients to lunch, or attending community or professional organization meetings Marketing/Quarter: One full day per quarter spent visiting current or potential clients or giving a seminar, etc. Administrative Time: Time spent entering time, reviewing bills or attending firm meetings Continuing Education: Time spent attending continuing education classes Vacation: The extra time per week or month that must be billed to “replace” the time taken during two weeks of annual vacation
Seminars and Events: The firm will participate in seminars that put the firms attorneys in contact with potential clients such as insurance adjusters. One such event is the Joint Meeting of the South Carolina Defense Trial Lawyers Association and the Claims Management Association of South Carolina. The next Joint Meeting will be held on July 22, 23 and 24 at the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC. Michael Barfield attended the last version of this event and reports that the ratio of attorneys to adjusters is very high with about 120 attorneys to less than 20 adjuster. Further, most of the adjusters were there as guests of attorneys, so they were not potential clients. This event does provide an opportunity for entertaining our own adjuster/clients, given that it is clearly as much a social event as it is an educational one. We need to ascertain whether current insurance company rules will allow most adjusters to participate, but if so, this would be a costeffect way to entertain key adjusters.
We have recently been invited to participate in two programs hosted by CNA. The first is their Accountants & Lawyers 2009 Annual Defense Network Program, which is being held Oct 13 â€“ 15 in Chicago. Cooke and Barfield will attend. The second event, the Meeting of CNA Counsel, is being held in conjunction with the Defense Research Institute National Conference, which is being held in Chicago on Wednesday, October 10th. Ferderigos will attend.