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Survey Provides Insights for Marketing to In-House Counsel

Finding ways to cut through the clutter appears to be the biggest challenge legal marketers face when trying to get the attention of in-house counsel, according to the 2014 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey.

The 4th annual survey is actually two surveys:  one of in-house counsel and one of law firm marketers.  Today’s post deals with findings from the in-house counsel survey; tomorrow we’ll look at the law firm marketing survey data.

What I tend to look for in surveys like are any indicators that show how those being surveyed like to be marketed to.  Fortunately, this survey asks the question straight out: What types of law firm-generated content do you find most valuable?   Here’s the data for the top 5:

77%:  Practice group newsletters

63%:  Client alerts

38%:  Blogs

36%:  Website content

8%:    Social media

Note that it is the historically traditional forms of law firm marketing content that in-house counsel says they value the most. 

While the survey did not explicitly ask in what form respondents prefer to receive this content, it did query attitudes on information delivery via mobile devices and found that 52% believe that receiving business information on a smartphone or table helps them stay more informed on critical business issues.  34% said receiving information this way helps them manage that information more efficiently.

When it comes to law firm blogs, 50% of in-house counsel said they read law firm-authored blogs either very often (18%) or somewhat often (32%).  Only 15% said they never read a law firm blog.  A majority – 65% -- seek out law firm blogs that provide substantive content and perspective within narrow legal practices and specialties. 

As for social media, LinkedIn is by far the most preferred platform among in-house counsel, with 62% saying they access it daily (37%) or weekly (25%).  Here’s how they are using it with regards to outside counsel:

56%:  Contact and build connections with outside counsel

42%:  Join and participate in groups that outside counsel leads on specific practice areas

37%:  Access content provided by outside counsel

34%:  Research potential outside counsel

So to summarize, the three key takeaways from this GC survey that will help you market more efficiently to in-house counsel are:

  1. Create a practice-specific monthly newsletter with substantive content.
  2. Create a hyper-focused blog with timely, relevant content and commentary that reflects your position as the “go-to” expert in the field.
  3. Participate on LinkedIn by joining practice-specific groups and sharing relevant content with those groups.

This survey was conducted by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group in February and released in April; 189 corporate in-house attorneys were surveyed for this section of the study.

© The Rainmaker Institute, All Rights Reserved National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 129



About this Author

Stephen Fairley legal marketing expert, law office management

Two-time international best-selling author, Stephen Fairley is the Founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, the nation’s largest law firm marketing company specializing in marketing and lead conversion for small to medium law firms. Since 1999, he has built a national reputation as a legal marketing expert and been named, “America’s Top Marketing Coach.” He has spoken numerous times for over 35 of the nation’s largest state and local bar associations.