Other than law firms lagging other industries a little, there’s no reason that large law firm Internet marketing isn’t going to see significant growth in 2008.
Though few Madison Avenue advertisers have spent more than 5 to 10% of their marketing budgets online, that’s likely to change per the Wall Street Journal’s Suzanne Vranica.
Merrill Lynch predicts that ad spending on the Web will grow 18.4% in the U.S. next year, versus 2.3% growth for ad spending as a whole. Publicis Groupe SA’s ZenithOptimedia says it expects the amount spent on Internet advertising to overtake spending on radio in 2008, and spending on magazines in 2010.
The key for law firms will be to use the Internet effectively. This growth is not coming because of increased investment in websites, email newsletters, and directory listings. The growth is coming, in part, per Vranica, because of the growth in social networking. And blogs lie at the heart of social networking.
Unlike law firms who are using blogs to repurpose articles, newsletters, and such, innovative law firms will use blogs for social networking. Identifying strategic niches, the online influencers to your target audiences in those niches, and how you get those influencers to amplify your message will be critical to success.
In 2008, it’ll be up to you employed in large firms and PR agencies advising large law to assess whether you really know what you are doing when marketing via social networking. If not, it’s time to get some help rather than dismissing marketing mediums you don’t understand. Dismissing innovation only hurts the law firm and is ultimately going to cost you your job.