Every year around this time, I publish an article on the value of crafting a written marketing/business communications plan and the imperative to implement it as a marketing roadmap for the year’s business development activities. Then, invariably, every year we work with clients who do not have such a plan yet complain about the struggles they confront to build a prosperous client base.
For the life of me, I simply do not understand why very intelligent individuals cannot connect the dots between what they do and do not do and their anemic business-building results. What gives?
Realistically, can anyone argue, at this point, against the value of jotting down a few realistic, timely and targeted goals to which they commit action throughout the course of the year? To me, it begs the question: how hungry are you to grow a business? How much do you really want to build a client base?
Law firms and lawyers must develop and implement an integrated marketing plan and budget as key to effective business growth. Large firms usually maintain a document that looks like a budget but is often not aligned with a strategic firm marketing plan. Small (or solo) firms usually do not have a marketing plan or budget but rather make marketing investments on an ad hoc basis. To that, I would ask, how’s that working for you?
Commit to making 2019 a more strategic, productive year for your firm’s marketing efforts.
5 Thoughts on Why Firms Should Create a Plan & Budget
1. To use as a marketing roadmap.
It’s impossible to track meaningful progress if it is not written down. How can you document achievements if not to write them down in one place, one document? News flash: marketing plans and budgets are NEVER one-size-fits-all and, ideally, it is the marketing plan which drives the budget.
2. To avoid invest unwisely.
Why waste marketing dollars unwisely by spending on an ad hoc basis? This is a very reckless move. Every expenditure should be a part of an integrated plan.
3. To narrow focus to a firm’s marketing efforts.
An integrated marketing plan and budget is essential to help firms run an effective marketing program so that there are benchmarks including stated goals. It is also easier to turn down the occasional attorney “pet” project if it is not included in an overall plan.
Firms should invest their marketing budget and, more importantly, time, on initiatives, which will result in achieving measurable goals such as:
- Expanding business with existing clients.
- Attracting new clients.
- Increasing referrals from specific referral sources.
4. To create measurable objectives and evaluate success.
How will you know for sure that 2019 has been prosperous? What will your benchmarks be? Do you measure the “right” things? Will firm leadership’s subjective memories be enough? How will a firm determine where to focus its future marketing efforts if it doesn’t know if a given initiative played out as hoped?
A well-crafted marketing plan with objective goals, a purposeful timeline and detailed budget in place can help ask and answer key questions when evaluating your firm’s marketing efforts. The answers will inform next steps.
5. Demonstrate commitment to the business.
If you/your firm will not dedicate itself to developing an integrated marketing plan and budget, how can anyone expect business results to improve?
As firms and lawyers continue to operate in an uber competitive environment, how can you not engage in meaningful planning for the success of your firm?
KLA Marketing Associates advises law firms, lawyers and legal marketers to develop strategic marketing plans and budgets to identify their “ideal” clients and target markets, create actionable steps to reach those targets. Connect with us today to learn how we may help your firm map its success. Kimberly Rice