Industry groups are a bet. Low-risk/high-reward—but a bet, nonetheless. Firms are betting they will attract marquee clients and fuel existing relationships. Those who don’t use industry groups are betting their marketing won’t be diluted by the rapidly growing list of firms who do.
At 36.9%, more law firms than ever are going to market by industry-facing groups, up from 27.3% in 2017. But, only about 1/3 of these bring the winning formula success demands. This includes:
Its Own Budget
A successful industry group takes research, training, planning, clear messaging, client outreach, and more. Less than half of industry groups have a dedicated budget—one proven component for success to fund all this.
Leaders who live, breathe, and sleep their industry—only 13% of law firms dedicate a leader solely on an industry.
Going to market by industry demands different messaging, content, and outreach. Each industry has different priorities—an industry-focused strategy leads with the most important practices based on client need and builds the other practices for an integrated offering. This is one more way to prove your understanding.
Every industry has its thought leaders, preferred blogs, influencers, and trade media. Your job is to attract this core group and get them to help spread the word.
Not just any content. Hyper-relevant content—and not so much about the law itself. Clients can get insight on the law—they are looking for the future trends, regulatory strategies, management strategies, industry benchmarks for spending and staffing, and other key metrics like spending on product development, acquisition strategies, and talent retention.
These metrics can come in many forms as long as they drive constructive action and success. Metrics proven to drive success include:
- Number of client visits to discuss the industry
- Visits to non-clients to discuss the industry
- Number of date-specific social media posts
- Number of inbound leads
- New business
- Types of matters
- New contacts made by source
Dedicated Business Development
The best industry groups rely on a small collection of highly knowledgeable and well-trained partners to follow up on leads. These attorneys know how to lead conversations and know their content. The aspiring attorneys with less knowledge and experience will be part of the team—but play a supporting role until they, too, are pros.
Client Feedback and Insight
No amount of secondary research will match what you learn from talking to clients and prospects alike. Bring knowledge, and clients will learn something new and valuable about the industry. And you may just get yourself referred.
Clients bring high expectations—meet them and you win big. Falling short of these expectations means you take 2 steps back. It hurts credibility. The risk/reward ratio suggests the investment to exceed client expectations dwarfs the rewards. For example:
Top clients of industry groups generate 16% more revenue than the top clients with no industry group
Growth in clients serviced by industry groups is more than 4x higher than growth at clients outside an effective industry group
Firms with 3 or more industry groups add just over $32,000 in profits per attorney
The 38.9% of law firms with industry groups have a head start, especially the firms with the 8 key drivers for success. We recommend jumping on this trend before the other 60% figure this out.
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