Your development team should be different from your marketing team. That is an important detail to remember. While they may seem the same and could possibly serve similar functions, they are all too different.
While it is natural to do what you can to keep operational costs at a minimum, like having one staff do the work of two, don’t ever get tempted to have only one marketing and business development team. Otherwise, you are looking at negative long-term results.
You might be wondering why. Why is it so important to have them separated when in fact they seem so similar? Shouldn’t they be interchangeable at least?
What is Law Firm Marketing?
To understand the difference between the two, it is important to know the key roles and responsibilities of each. For law firm marketing, it is all about raising awareness for the business and the services it delivers.
No matter how great your firm is with all the cases you won and the flexible payment options you provide, if nobody knows anything about it, you are not looking at any potential customers.
Awareness is what gets you the attention you need. That in turn will eventually convert to leads and customers.
The bigger responsibility of law firm marketing is to highlight key details. What is your rank as the best law firm? What is your win rate on your cases? And several others that can make you stand out from the competition.
What is Business Development?
When talking about business development, it is spreading the footprint of the business. It involves creating key connections, cultivating partnerships, and fostering existing clients. The goal is to forward the overall status of your business in the industry.
It may seem no different to marketing by spreading awareness. However, looking closer at the picture, it is more on creating key connections and acquiring potential resources.
Law Firm Marketing vs Business Development
At this point, you either know what’s different between the two or are only more confused. To put it simply, marketing is creating awareness among leads and potential customers. On the other hand, business development is about spreading awareness to connections.
Law firm marketing is what you get to see and what the company tries to show. While business development is what happens on the inside. It is more than just gaining new clients, but growing the firm in other aspects as well such as reputation and available resources.
Now you know that each of these teams have their own responsibility to perform and they are both quite different from each other. A good marketing team doesn’t automatically mean they can be good in business development. The same concept is true the other way around.
However, this still doesn’t answer why there should always be two teams. Why can’t one person or group specialize in two different responsibilities?
Each Plays an Important Role
While it may be clear at this point that the two have different responsibilities, at a certain degree, the distinction can be blurred. The two are doing the same thing and that is spreading awareness. What differentiates them is who they are targeting.
It is this thin distinction that serves as the problem. For a marketer, it can be fairly easy to get carried away and be more involved in internal workings instead of marketing to potential customers.
The same concept can be applied the other way around. A business developer can find marketing campaigns to potential audiences much easier than to hold a one-on-one conversation with a key industry connection.
When you have one team working on two different tasks that are easily interchangeable, you are opening the possibility of an unequal work output. Your team could either veer more towards marketing or business development without them even knowing it.
You don’t want that, because marketing and business development work side by side. One is not more important over the other. Instead, marketing makes it easier to develop business and a developed business is easier to market. The failure of one can mean the downfall of both. So, you cannot risk underperforming on either one.
Law Firm Marketing: Who Should Be Doing It?
You now have a solid understanding of separating the two. Now, the problem is, who are the right people to do each job? When one person can’t do both, who should be doing either one?
Law firm marketing is not so different from other forms of marketing. Other than it being more of a niche service which requires it to be more targeted to a specific audience, it is the conventional social media and traditional marketing approaches.
Therefore, any experienced marketer should be enough for the job. If you are running on a tight budget and can’t hire an inhouse person or team, outsource marketing can be an option. The best part about it is that you strongly delineate your marketing team from your business development department by having one not being in the same office.
Law Firm Business Development: Who Should Be Doing it?
How about the task of business development, who should be tasked to have this responsibility?
Since it is more technical, this is something that only an expert can effectively perform. In most cases, business development is performed by lawyers themselves. However, it is not exclusively limited to them.
Business development has a much higher risk. By dealing with key industry connections, a successful transaction could either make or break your law firm. It could add important resources at your disposal or you are looking at going back a few steps.
Most firms try to cut down on their operational expenses by using one team for everything. That includes people tasked to do the marketing to develop business relations as well. It is not a wise move to make. While some have been lucky to have survived, it isn’t true for the majority.
The potential for risk is high. You open your firm to a high chance of business failure. Not worth the risk of saving a few paper bills.