First movers in traditional sectors like law have been using the last decade to rewrite the rule books. Where reputation and relationships were once enough to attract and retain new business, they alone can no longer guarantee long-term success.
This tipping point has been felt across the industry, with The Lawyer noting that as much as 75 per cent of UK 200 law firms could disappear within five years if they fail to make their processes more efficient. That suggests a reluctance to move with the times could have a fatal impact on the future of smaller firms.
It is a scenario that James Noble, partner at digital marketing consultancy Propero Partners, has already envisioned. He says: “Digital transformation is happening in the legal sector, there is no escaping it, and having resisted change, these firms are now recognising they need to up their game in order to remain competitive. Reputation used to be enough, but not any longer.”
Founded by a team of professionals with a wealth of industry experience, Propero Partners specialises in providing end-to-end strategic marketing campaigns that give firms, including those in the legal industry, a leading edge. A lot of their work is with large local high street firms and smaller regional firms that have fallen behind in the digital stakes and are starting to feel the pressure.
Mr Noble says: “Some of these firms don’t even have a web presence, which means they’re not showing up where potential clients are looking for them. This puts them at a huge disadvantage.
“Our first fix is to create an online brand impression that resonates with their target audience. From there we can help them implement and manage their wider communication platforms, such as social media, to ultimately equip them with the tools they need to provide a service that is in tune with the modern digital age.
“Where we see the real, measurable results, however, is in proactively finding and engaging customers for these firms. We attract good-quality leads, we initiate conversations and we hand the firms the inquiries we’ve generated to close into sales.”
What Propero Partners has been quick to recognise is that, in many of these firms, their key focus has been on providing high-quality legal services. “We know that a lot of partners in law firms do not want to be salespeople, so our role is to act as a sales function for them, freeing them up to do what they do best – the law,” says Mr Noble.
In the last year since Propero Partners was launched, the feedback from clients has been very positive and for good reason. Significant outcomes for clients have included a halving of their general costs of dealing with inquiries, a doubling of revenue and, in some cases, their net profits.
Resisting the change that is sweeping the legal sector is the surest way for a law firm to fail because the changes are being driven by the customers.
“Even if you are given a referral for a good law firm, the chances are you will still Google them to find out more about them,” says Mr Noble. “And we also know that digital communication channels – social media and instant messaging – are increasingly becoming the channels of choice for customers.”
If they are to remain competitive, law firms must find a way to keep up with the ongoing change and it is specialists such as Propero Partners that can support them along the way.
Mr Noble concludes: “Marketing is a sector with a lot of players, but what differentiates us is the extent of our industry knowledge and experience that enables us to help firms with business growth and development, and the fact that everything we do is end-to-end and, most importantly, tied to the strategic objective of our client.
“With our help they will generate a steady stream of new clients, achieve consistent business growth and be seen as a leader in their niche, who stands out from the competition.”