Marketing Research: the Necessary Priority

Publication year1987
CitationVol. 16 No. 10 Pg. 1859
16 Colo.Law. 1859
Colorado Lawyer

1987, October, Pg. 1859. Marketing Research: The Necessary Priority


Vol. 16, No. 10, Pg. 1859

Marketing Research: The Necessary Priority

by Rita Y. Mitchell

Since the Supreme Court decision in 1977 allowing attorneys the right to advertise and compete openly for clients,(fn1) the legal industry has cautiously but consistently turned toward marketing its services. Other factors encouraging an interest in marketing include a decreasing market share, an increasing number of competing firms, an increasing level of sophistication among the competition and a less-than-rosy economic climate.

Marketing, by definition, is the performance of business activities which direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user in order to satisfy customers/clients and accomplish a company's business objectives. For many industries, especially those related to the production and distribution of products, marketing is an old friend and a time-honored practice. The marketing of professional services, however, is just beginning to obtain recognition and acceptance as a viable means of business development.

This article discusses marketing research, the essential ingredient in any effective marketing program. Practitioners and firms would be wise to consider marketing research prior to implementing advertising and public relations campaigns.

The Legal Profession's Perception of Marketing

In the legal profession, marketing of services has manifested primarily through an increase in advertising and public relations. In a 1986 American Bar Association ("ABA") poll on advertising by attorneys,(fn2) 24 percent of attorneys responding said they used advertising in some form, compared to 13 percent in 1984. The poll further indicated that the advertising methods used by most of the 600 surveyed included Yellow Pages (74 percent), newspapers (16 percent), magazines and journals (8 percent), leaflets (8 percent), TV (7 percent), radio (5 percent), direct mail (4 percent), billboards (1 percent) and miscellaneous (13 percent).

It is interesting to note that among those surveyed, the general perception of advertising was negative. "[M]ost of the attorneys in the ABA survey said they would advise relatives in other localities to steer clear of lawyers who advertise." Further, "three of every ten respondents said advertising causes 'an undesirable image' and...

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