Strong Trends Energize Law Firm Market Research – Part 1

Researching Market TrendsMost lawyers believe that they know what their clients want. Shockingly often, these lawyers are mistaken. As a result, they make poor business and business development decisions.

Should we open a new office in a new region? Should we add a new practice area? Should we expand (or eliminate) an existing practice? Should we target a particular kind of work in a particular industry? What sets us apart from our competitors?

The only way to truly understand what clients and potential clients want from a lawyer or a law firm is to do market research that uncovers the truth in clients’ hearts and minds. Client research is used to support law firm strategy and tactics that lead to better results and an improved bottom line.

“We know that to create, execute and maintain strong brands and client communications, law firms must understand how clients and potential clients are making decisions related to their service offerings,” said Brian Elkins.

Elkins discussed the use of market research by law firms at the monthly program of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association, which took place Feb. 11 at Ocean Prime in LoDo, Denver.

Elkins is senior brand strategist at Heart+Mind Strategies, a national consulting group that helps Fortune 500 corporations, associations and interest groups with cutting-edge brand strategy, audience research and product/service innovation. The firm’s research is behind such well-known campaigns as “Plastics Make It Possible” for The American Plastics Council, “got milk” for the National Milk Processors and “Together We Can Save a Life” for The American Red Cross.

Elkins focused his presentation on new trends in market research.

The best brands today motivate using emotion

Market research can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative research is rational and delves into the minds of clients and potential clients. It focuses on what, where and when. It measures the incidence of views and opinions in a chosen sample. It uses structured techniques such as online questionnaires, on-street interviews or telephone interviews. It assumes a fixed and measurable reality that can be analyzed using and reported through statistics.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, delves into the value systems (hearts) of clients and potential clients. It focuses on the why and how of customer decision-making. Its purpose is to gain an understanding of underlying reasons and motivations, and uncover trends. It uses unstructured or semi-structured techniques such as face-to-face interviews or group discussions. It assumed a dynamic and negotiated reality. Data are analyzed by themes and reported in everyday language.

“To persuade and motivate, you need to understand both minds and hearts,” said Elkins. “Marketing IQ must be combined with marketing EQ. Qualitative research yields valuable data. At the same time, quantitative or ‘values-based’ research is proving itself essential to understanding today’s dynamic and increasingly interactive marketplace.”

The best brands today are interactive

In the past century, branding was a one-way process – delivered from the provider of the product or the service to the consumer of the product or service. The brand was tightly controlled and conveyed to audiences using traditional mass media buys, placements and speaking engagements.

“Today, thanks to the Internet, branding is now much more interactive and collaborative,” said Elkins. “It is created and controlled not by its owner, but by what clients and consumers say about the brand in the course of uncontrolled social media conversations.

“The consumer landscape is dynamic,” said Elkins. “Brands must complement traditional methods of market research and message delivery with non-traditional, innovative research approaches that successfully reveal clients’ wants, wishes, desires and unmet needs. Brands must be nimble enough to adapt quickly and engage across multiple touch points.”
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Janet Ellen Raasch

About Janet Ellen Raasch

Janet Ellen Raasch is a writer, ghostwriter, editor and blogger at Constant Content Blog who works closely with professional services providers – especially lawyers, law firms, legal consultants and legal organizations – to help them achieve name recognition and new business through publication of keyword-rich content for the web and social media sites as well as articles and books for print. She can be reached at (303) 399-5041 or jeraasch@msn.com.


Website: http://www.constantcontentblog.com
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