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By Kim Tasso
I suspect that few lawyers will own up to watching the US TV programme “Pimp my ride” where cars are given the full bling treatment for everyone to admire. You could think of lawyers “pimping their ride”. They hone (shine) their specialist skills so that they become top of their game for others to look to in wonder.
But it’s inward looking and rather misses the point in today’s market. All good lawyers have pimped their ride. So the issue is where you drive your pimped up car – or lawyer – in order to attract the right sort of attention from the right sort of clients? You may be the very best lawyer in a particular field of expertise but if clients don’t know about you or can’t find you then your time sheet will remain empty. You need a “go to market” strategy – and it’s linked to your positioning.
Marketing starts on the outside. It considers the market and the emerging needs of clients. Then it moulds or creates a product or service to meet those needs whilst making a profit. And in this day and age, you need to focus on a specific segment of the market – both so that you can achieve some space between you and the competition and also because what underpins today’s successful marketing – unless you are one of the biggest players in the market with almost unlimited resources – is niches.
As it happens, most contemporary business writers (eg Purple Cow by Seth Godin) and marketing experts (eg Inbound marketing – Get found using Google, social media and blogs by Brian Halligan and Sharmesh Shah) are strong advocates of the niche approach.
Marketing professionals in the legal market have long known this and have tried to promote a segmentation approach. Some were successful – look at the increase in the number of sector groups. Outside the Magic Circle, the firms that are most well-known usually dominate a particular niche – whether that is media, telecoms, property, health or insurance. Or something else – perhaps driven by a particular topical issue.
The thing is, to develop a strong niche you need some things that prove somewhat hard for most of the legal world:
So it’s time to stop pimping your ride and get on with niching your market strategy.
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