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Buffalo and the innovators dilemna

Innovative law firm marketing professionals can have a tough time bucking tradition. Matt Sherman, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Chicago’s Welsh & Katz, put it well in a post last week to the Legal Marketing Association listserv.

Law firms have a huge herd mentality (I tend to see them as a buffalo herd – proud, slow moving, stubborn and more than likely to follow the lead buffalo over the cliff – even if it kills them).

As marketers, it’s our job to counsel our respective firms to not follow the herd. I know it’s tough (particularly when everyone else is advertising in the annual Law Firm Review special section of your local equivalent to Crain’s Chicago Business and you’re not). Just remember, the majority of the people reading that special section are resident in your firm and other law firms in your city. Most likely, your clients are skipping over the special section.

Don’t believe me? Well, how many of you pore over the list of top HMOs in your city or top health insurance companies? Although we all make premium payments to them every month and should have an interest in their financial standing, unless one of the companies is a client, we’re probably skipping the list (I know I do).

We all need to be lead buffaloes. Resist following the pack. In the end, you and your firm will be better off.

I had not had much experience with large law firms before founding LexBlog. It’s been an eye opener.

Law firm marketing innovators, with cost effective ideas offering excellent ROI, often meet a ‘Let’s wait to see what other law firms do.’ May not be expressly stated, but that’s clearly the sentiment.

Looks like Matt has gotten Welsh & Katz, a full service IP firm, outside the pack. Matt’s email sig alone listed four IP resources ranging from Client seminars to publications such as ‘Stop Product Pirates’ and ‘Put Patents to Work.’

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