What does it mean to “position”​ your law firm?

There is not a single business on earth that can afford to appeal to everyone. Efforts to please one group of people will often have the opposite effect on another. Even a product as ubiquitous as water can be sold differently to different groups of people.

Human beings are so diverse in their wants and desires that it is impossible to craft a single product or service that meets the needs of everybody at once. This is a challenge every law firm must face if it wants to have high growth or be resilient to uncertainties in the wider economy.

One solution is to build a law firm offer that is so bland and inoffensive that nobody could be put off by it. Lots of firms take this approach, but the result is so boring that nobody is attracted to it either.

A better solution might be to segment the market into two or more groups and design different products and services for each group. That works well for consumer packaged goods but is more difficult for law firms who’s product is human expertise that can’t simply be sold in different packaging.

The best solution is to make a deliberate and strategic decision to focus on a single type of customer to the exclusion of all others. This process of choosing and developing a focus, and then working hard to embed that idea in customers’ minds is what marketers call positioning.

Positioning a legal service business means making a firm decision about, and then communicating:

  • what types of clients you’ll work with;
  • what areas of law you’ll practice;
  • which jurisdictions you’ll cover;
  • what systems and processes you’ll use;
  • what the client experience will be like.

The aim is to arrive at a position small enough that you have sufficient resources to defend it from competition while being big enough that there is enough potential business to meet the firm’s financial goals.

Positioning is the most important concept is successful marketing and extremely important if you want to build a high-growth firm. Over the course of the next few articles, I’m going to take the time to dive into to it in much greater detail. I’ll cover so more reasons why you should want to develop a strong position, some of the challenges you’ll likely face, as well as looking at each of the six pillars of law firm positioning in detail.

This post was first published as an episode of BeanThinking, my regular video series for lawyers and legal marketers. You can watch the show on YouTube, or Facebook or listen to it as a Podcast on SoundCloud. Follow me on Twitter to chat.