Our friends over at The Rainmaking Blog have begun a series, Changing the Rules of the Game (Rules #1 & #2), and I couldn’t agree with them more.

Legal marketing, today, is more strategic than when I arrived on the scene 11 years ago. Back then we never spoke of “business development” or “sales,” but we did respond to RFPs, sponsored in-house seminars, bought tables of ten, advertised and mailed out newsletters. “Cross-selling” was the big goal back then (still is, but that’s another post). Over the years, the medium has become more strategic, the message more on point, and the results measurable.

Old Rule #1: More marketing will obtain more results. In the past, all you had to do was throw more money at marketing or advertising and you would see more results. But not any more.

New Rule #1: ROI rules. With the increased competition and level of sophistication in the legal marketing industry, to get ahead you must be faster, smarter, and more effective than your competitors.

Your ability to leverage Internet marketing and automatic parts of your marketing system will allow you to dominate larger firms with bigger budgets; however, every dollar must be accounted for and every effort must be measured for Return On Investment. You cannot afford to be indifferent.

Old Rule #2: Taking care of clients comes first.

New Rule #2: Take care of your business first or you won’t be in business to take care of your clients. Too many times lawyers focus solely on their clients without focusing on the bottom line.

The result is devastating: not sending out invoices on time; not raising your rates for years; not actively cross-promoting other services your firm offers; and not staying connected with former clients. Everything rises and falls on leadership. You must be the one to lead the charge in shifting your firm’s culture from one of passivity into action orientation.