The practice of law is both a business and a profession. The professional side is the part you trained for and spend most of your time doing. The business side is what accountants do and what you’d like to ignore. However, the marketing piece of the business side deserves some of your attention and that should start by thinking for a minute about who your present clients are and who you’d like them to be.
Make two short lists, one for present clients and one for future clients. Include age, gender, educational and economic level, and interests. Now that you have them in mind, let’s review the generational characteristics of our population, think about where your clients fit and how to market to them.
Traditionalists, born 1900-1945, don’t question authority, adhere to the rules, put duty before pleasure, are savers, and believe in hard work. While they have adapted to technology, they prefer face-to-face contact, less e-mail, and handwritten notes. Marketing to them can include cards for birthdays, holidays, and quarterly newsletters as well as meetings for lunch, Rotary, Kiwanis, or Lions.
The 75 million Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964, are the most educated of the population. They are confident of self, not authority, want a prestigious title and the corner office, have the highest divorce rate and second marriages in history, and were the radicals of the 60s and 70s and the yuppies of the 80s. They are ambitious, competitive, and ethical.
Baby Boomers have acquired technology; they research and buy products and services online, use e-mail, TV is important to them, and they are on Facebook and Twitter. They still go to the mailbox, appreciate newsletters, brochures, postcards, and greeting cards. When writing content for them, it should be straight forward, written in 2nd person, in clear, easy-to-read fonts, and include white space and graphics. They are loyal—do a good job and they will come back and refer others.
The Gen Xers, born 1965-1980, are a small group, numbering about 51 million. They have a low level of trust for authority and are juggling children, job, aging parents, and home ownership. Xers are the first generation to not do as well financially as their parents. They are apathetic politically, highly educated, and have assimilated technology into their lives.
Gen Xers shop and research online, like e-mail, and use social media, namely Facebook and Twitter. They also respond to print such as newsletters, postcards, or greeting cards. Include both print and digital marketing to reach them.
The Millennials, born 1981-2000, are the largest group with 79 million members. By 2020, they will comprise 46% of the workforce and control or influence the spending of $1.3 trillion. They prefer meaningful work, want the companies and services they use to contribute to the community, and view marriage and parenthood as more important than careers and success. They respect authority yet are less trustworthy of individual people. They are the first generation of children to have schedules. They were born with a smartphone in their hand.
To reach Millennials, forget print and use all forms of digital communication. They are more apt to come to you if they are referred by their peers or if your reviews are positive. They will visit your website, your SBM Member Directory profile, and read your blog. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., is a constant part of their world. They also stream radio to their phones, tablets, and laptops. Think about including radio advertising as part of your marketing plans.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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