I don’t mean to alarm all you legal marketing professionals, but according to scientific researchers, there have been five major extinction events throughout the Earth’s history. They call them the Big Five, and each resulted in the total annihilation of more than half of the planet’s species.

Now, while it’s definitely a loss that we no longer ride a wooly mammoth to work or keep a trilobite as a pet, scientists theorize that these mass extinction events actually accelerated the evolution of life. To encapsulate a few millennia into a single sentence, what happens is environmental conditions change, the old guard can’t adapt fast enough and dies out, and then the smaller critters – perhaps the ones that are just in their evolutionary infancy – rise to prominence.

As they say, history repeats itself. And I know that you know that the legal marketing landscape is changing. Technology is moving at a speed that we can barely keep up with. As fewer people notice traditional advertisements, Internet marketing has become the priority. If you can’t be found on the Internet, then you probably can’t be found.

Because this overlapping realm of social and digital and content marketing is so vastly different in many ways from the old way, I get the sense that we’re all wondering whether we’re on the verge of the next mass extinction event. And if so, will we as legal marketers adapt or die?

If you don’t want to go the way of the stegosaurus, there are a number of initiatives your law firm’s marketing department must give critical thought to. Not all of these tasks need to be kept in-house. In fact, I’d argue the role of the marketing department will largely morph to become orchestrators of an assortment of outside vendors. But everyone will have an important role to play, and many of these roles will, at times, overlap and work in tandem.

  • Creative strategists: You need someone to make things look good and to manage the entire marketing/creative process? This is your guy (or gal). Creative strategists (frequently called creative or art directors) are tasked with managing the look and overall tonal quality of a particular effort.
  • Content strategists: In this changing environment, the goal isn’t just to capture a prospect’s attention; it’s to incorporate them into the community that surrounds your brand. The content strategist conceives and implements creative content that resonates with your audience on a psychological level, giving visitors a reason to come back and engage again and again and again.
  • Digital strategists: No matter how big your law firm’s office marquee might be, if you can’t be found on the Internet, you’re losing a big chunk of potential business. The digital strategist is your Internet/search marketing expert. Using a variety of SEO tactics, this individual will help you get to the top of the SERPs. (They can also answer, “What is a SERP?”)
  • Media relations reps: Finally, a title that is familiar! But don’t be fooled. Media relations reps are evolving. No longer are they strictly tasked with executing traditional media relations plans; they now have to think outside of the box to grab the attention of inattentive members of the press. They also are beginning to adapt to technological changes, harnessing the immense networking power of social media more than ever before.
  • Business developers: It’s never a bad thing to have help with cultivating a book of business. Like media relations folks, business development personnel aren’t going anywhere, but they are changing. New technologies, from LinkedIn to robust CRM systems, are altering the sales process. The most successful business developers will be those who stay ahead of the curve and adapt with the times.
  • Tech developers: IT is growing to become an essential part of every law firm marketing department. After all, you don’t expect the CMO to write PHP code, do you? Someone has to know how to construct the backend of a firm’s digital collateral, from websites to mobile apps.

Jaffe PR is right in the thick of this change. We recognize that the marketplace is evolving. Rather than fight the inevitable, we are adapting to the times. That’s why we recently added two new media relations professionals, hired a Digital Strategist and promoted me to Content Strategist. It’s all part of our job description: to provide you with the services to keep your law firm competitive.

How else are you seeing legal marketing evolve? Do you have any concerns about how you will adapt? Leave a comment or contact Terry M. Isner at tisner@jaffepr.com