Should A Law Firm’s Legal Marketing Team Be In-House Or An Outside Agency? The Answer: Both!
A 15-attorney law firm has a marketing manager and a marketing coordinator who splits her time with IT. These two write and post firm news to the website and share the content on social media and in emails to the firm’s distribution list.
They also submit speaker proposals for conferences, oversee advertisement creation and placement, update bios, and write pitches. They understand that much more can be done, including tactics to increase marketing effectiveness: SEO, boosting social media engagement, creating a blog with a content calendar... but there’s just no time.
This typical law firm marketing department conundrum can quickly, easily, and efficiently be addressed by incorporating an outside marketing agency. Law firms often debate whether it’s best to rely solely on an in-house team or use only external marketing experts. It shouldn’t be an “or” decision. Law firms should consider an “and” solution!
There are many pros and cons to using internal or external marketing professionals. When law firms use a mix of the two, they get the best of both worlds:
Internal marketers are familiar with the firm, its practices, the attorneys, and its current strategic focus. They are the lawyer marketing experts for the firm who direct the external marketing people to execute the legal marketing strategy based on the firm’s needs and goals.
Law firm marketing will always be a financial investment. Don’t just consider an internal marketing team member’s salary when trying to do a cost comparison - also factor in benefits, bonuses, office supplies, and equipment, plus the resources used for hiring and training. Outside marketing agencies are only paid for the cost of the service provided.
Turnover on an internal team can leave the firm short-staffed with very little notice. An external marketing agency can keep the marketing activities going consistently and usually have another knowledgeable and talented team member step in when needed.
Internal marketers often must be generalists, wearing many hats. If the law firm wants to focus on a strategy and ensure it’s done well, like search engine optimization or website design, then hiring an outside agency with expertise in the area will get the work done faster and more effectively.
Scalability is a huge benefit to working with an outside marketing agency. Use them when needed, such as launching a legal marketing campaign around a new practice area. When the campaign or project is done, a firm is not left with extra staff.
Outside agencies expand the talent pool, which is important for law firms in more rural areas or smaller cities. In today’s connected world, a law firm can hire the right talent for the project no matter where the agency is located.
When considering hiring an outside digital marketing agency, there are a few issues to think about. While the ability to work with a marketing expert anywhere in the world is a benefit, that can create scheduling issues with time zones. Be sure to discuss how the agency ensures a seamless working relationship with the firm’s internal marketing team. Communication expectations should also be discussed upfront. Find out how often the agency will provide updates and let them know your preferences on everything from email or telephone to weekly or bi-weekly scheduled check-in meetings.
Like law firms, marketing agencies come in all sizes and services. Larger agencies may provide a one-stop-shop for all marketing. Others may provide a plethora of digital marketing services, like SEO, website design, and paid social strategy, but not handle public relations or content drafting. It’s not uncommon for a law firm to work with several marketing agencies at once to cover the bases. Marketing agencies are used to collaborating with other agencies at a client’s direction, so don’t be afraid to connect them so they can work together to accomplish the law firm’s goals.
The inside-outside legal marketing model creates a scalable, cost-effective, and results-oriented team filled with the right mix of experts for whatever a law firm wants to accomplish. Contact the team at Scorpion to learn more about the best fit for your firm.