If professional service firms are on your radar, a recent report reveals some useful insights and opportunities.
The report focuses on the UK legal sector, but its findings are likely to also have resonance for the accounting sector and other professional service areas.
A sector that needs help
The report is clear about the opportunities. “Many feel law firms have seemed slow to embrace digital communications when compared to other sectors. It’s fair to say the idea of law firms as ‘off the pace’ of digital change persists.”
“Many law firm heads lack a business background. This may manifest itself as a weakness when targeting new business or setting a brand or communications strategy. The sector’s emphasis on relationships, cross-selling and referred business means there’s a reluctance to talk about marketing in the way that modern marketers are accustomed.”
They notice that the UK legal sector is struggling with the adoption to mobile user behaviour. This is clearly shown by an analysis of the top 20 law firms from The Lawyer UK 200 list, showing the mobile-friendliness (or lack of it) of their websites:
The report also reveals that only half the respondents felt their firm is adequately set up to manage the customer experience for mobile users.
So the overall need is clear. But what of budgets?
The good news is that 35% of respondents said their overall marketing budget had increased from 2014 to 2015.
Digital channels and disciplines
Respondents were asked about their most effective digital channels or disciplines. Content management came top, followed by email marketing and then social:
One set of statistics underlines the urgent need for professional service firms to improve their digital presence. The report cites a US study by the Research Intelligence Group that found 76% of 4,000 adults surveyed used online resources to search for an attorney in 2012, a figure that has presumably only grown since then.
The most frequently-cited barriers to investment, aside from broader restrictions on budget, were related to culture and skills. So this is a sector that has a need for help, knows it has a need, and has the budgets, but lacks in-house skills and is slow to develop their culture for change. In summary, the research implies that opportunities abound for consultancies and agencies targeting professional services.
Econsultancy in association with The Lawyer.
The Lawyer and TheLawyer.com are the UK’s leading weekly magazine and website dedicated to the business of commercial law. The survey, which was carried out in the spring of 2015, was taken by 150 professionals in marketing, digital or communications within the UK legal sector.
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