Savvy media buyers know they must market at multiple organizational levels at larger firms and connect with as many influencers of the purchasing decision as possible. “Every partner is, in effect, an owner of the business, investing his or her own money in every product or service purchase,” Vermeulen said.
While smaller law firms may not have as many owners of the purchasing decision, the marketing process can be equally or more challenging, Vermeulen said, because the lawyers take on the role of purchasers.
But the extra effort involved in engaging smaller firms is definitely worthwhile. “Small firms-those with 10 or fewer lawyers-make up about 90% of the legal market today,” Vermeulen said. “And 50% of all law firms are solo practices. These firms have the same needs that every small business faces. … In the technology area, quality and support are often major issues, since support staff is often minimal or nonexistent.”
Lawyers at firms of all sizes are busier than ever, even more so than your average business owner, said Sadie Peterson, president of marketing agency SD MarCom. “Their time is very valuable, so any offerings that require a major investment in their attention span will most often be overlooked.”
Other ways to best engage lawyers in the workplace include advertising in legal publications, sponsoring e-mail newsletters and building Web microsites that not only market a product or service but also provide them with useful information for their jobs. “Lawyers continue to get more sophisticated about using the Internet, especially when it comes to research,” Koeppel said.
The best media buying approach with lawyers, however, is to make personal contact, said Barry Solomon, VP-general manager for the LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Network, a database of lawyers and law firms. “Relationships between vendors and lawyers are built on trust, and firms must trust that their vendors are reliable and committed to the legal marketplace,” Solomon said. “This might require very close hand-holding and relationship-building at the beginning, but putting in this face time with your prospective law firm customers … will go a long way in earning their business.”
Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct