Financial Times 2023 Thought Leadership trends

The Financial Times has just published its list of ‘10 thought leadership predictions for 2023‘.

While it’s a very interesting read, #1 on the list should grab the attention of all law firm Marketing and Business Development people:

1. Marketing will need to prove that it is not a discretionary spend

In 2023, budgets will be tightly managed, and all marketing investments will be scrutinised. Any programme that looks like a nice-to-have will be vulnerable to budget cuts.

This will not be an obstacle for marketers who can articulate a clear business case for their campaigns and present a rigorous strategy that optimises the commercial ROI from each investment.

The most effective marketers will also be able to demonstrate how thought leadership can be activated in ways that drive revenue growth in a tough market. This is likely to include showing how ideas and insight can build the sales pipeline and drive engagement right through the sales funnel.

My take: this approach will not be limited to Thought Leadership but to all marketing and business development activities over the next 12 to 18 months.

Indeed, many of us could argue we have lived with this approach since 2008!

Other than #1 on the list, the other big take-out I took from the FT’s list was #8:

8. User experience will be the decider of thought leadership success

User experience has always been crucial to good engagement, but for too long B2B companies have got away with underplaying it. Now, the expectations of audiences are increasing. They will no longer distinguish between B2C and B2B content and will expect the experience of consuming content to be the same for both.

For marketers, this means making it easier for audiences to access the right content at the right time and in the right place, and giving them flexibility and choice throughout. Poor user experiences, such as cumbersome lead-capture forms and fragmented content journeys, will turn audiences away and do more harm than good.

Amen to that one!

If you can make the time to read the list, make sure you get to #10 🙂

As usual comments are my own.


Quote of the Week – 11.11.2022

This week’s Quote of Week comes via Tom Curry, Managing Partner, Lenczner Slaght on Slaw – A Managing Partner’s Perspective on Legal Marketing:

I also think it’s important for lawyers to remember that marketing and business development is a long-term game and consistency is key. You never know when your efforts will pay off, but they absolutely will if you keep at it.

Tom Curry, Managing Partner, Lenczner Slaght

Q: What’s the average cost of Marketing and BD to a law firm?

A: Many will say between 8 and 10%. Some of the more optimistic may say 15 to 20%. And the pessimistic in the crowd may go as low as 3%.

Very few though would say 0.8%.

Yet that was the finding from the latest PWC law firms survey [2022]:

If data from a P&L statements doesn’t lie, then marketing and business development investment by most law firms is truely woeful and probably goes a long way to explaining why we are where we are…

As usual, comments are my own.


How much does your law firm spend on Marketing and Business Development?

Read the following interesting comment earlier today in an article on National Law Review (‘How to Create a Measurable Law Firm Marketing Budget‘) about law firm marketing budgets as a percentage of overall gross revenue that made me stop and think:

If you’re intent on setting a marketing budget, know that large law firms spend anywhere from 2% to 5% of gross revenue, while small firms spend between 5% or 10% of gross revenue, according to the American Lawyer.

The figure of around 3% of gross revenue has been knocking around for most of my career, but is that really enough? Can law firms really say they are investing in business development and marketing if the amount invested is single digit figures of gross revenue?

I suspect the answer to that is “no”; and I think you would find most other businesses would laugh at this level of investment in marketing…


Shoutout to Campaign Creators on Unsplash for the photo credit  

Can you do Marketing without being on Social Media?

Can you market your law firm or personal thought leadership without being on social media?

The fact that I’m writing this on a blog that will be shared on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook should probably give you my answer. But, Iffy Ibekwe recently wrote an interesting article on the Above The Law website on this very issue: ‘Marketing Without Social Media: Take a step back from social media marketing and try some other techniques‘.

A couple of the more interesting tips Iffy suggests include Contact Former Clients and Contact Your Centers Of Influence. I’m not entirely sure you can Offer Referral Incentives here in Australia, but in those jurisdictions where you that might also work.

One of the. more obvious ones I thought Iffy missed was join the local chapter of your Chamber of Commerce or a group such as Lions Club. You might also look at the Conference and Speaking Scene, and while you would be right to argue these require some social media work, typically this is done by the conference organiser.

So while I now have to agree that you could market yourself or your practice without being present and active on social media – why would you?