Greenfield Belser 2017 Annual Review

Greenfield Belser has been a Finn Partners company for almost two years. This year we are adopting the new Finn brand style we created for the firm that is on the second spread of our book. That’s exciting for all of us here at Finn, but that’s hardly all that has been going on this past year. Really, it is impossible to say we love the work we did for one client more than another, but our goal is always to show you a balanced portfolio—across sectors with firms of varying sizes located all around the country. Read more here.

See More

the dish
on websites

the largest professional service firm
and association websites at a glance

See More

Brand Thinking
Bleeding edge thinking on branding and marketing


Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

By Kim Proxmire
February 2, 2012
Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

Read Kim Proxmire's article below or at to learn more about branding best-practices.


Even in a compromised economy, the only bad marketing is no marketing. Only slightly better than no marketing is aimless marketing, with no strategic plan—particularly when resources are thin and competition is fierce. We know that when law firms set goals, determine priorities and develop written plans, they consistently outperform those that do not. But it still seems that some (okay, many) aren’t undertaking marketing and business development activities in a systematic manner.

Operating without a strategic marketing plan is like constructing a building without a blueprint. You can do it, but chances are you won’t like the outcome. With a blueprint, the builder knows whether it will be a shed or a cathedral. Likewise, with a well-defined marketing strategy, you can move forward confidently knowing what kind of future you’re building—and how and why the dollars are being spent. There isn’t a law firm I know that doesn’t like to know a little something about the potential for return on investment.

It’s Time to Get Strategic!

A strategic marketing plan allows you to explore and understand the direction you want to go, determine the actions necessary to get there and realize the potential consequences of those actions. If you wish to deviate from the plan, obviously you can, but you do so consciously and with rationale. And, bottom line, it’s much cheaper to do all this on paper ahead of time than in midstream execution. Essentially, your plan becomes a template for effective and quick decision-making for both high-level issues and routine details.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that every detail and every person moves in the same direction, that the marketing budget transforms from an expense into an investment—and that every dollar spent yields more than a dollar’s worth of value.

Creating the Plan

No, the Planning Fairy does not arrive and place the plan before you—although I know some wish it did! And strategic planning is a process, not an isolated activity. Through the process, you explore and fill the gaps between:

  • Where you stand today and where you want to be
  • What you and your colleagues think is important and what clients actually want
  • Areas of disagreement within the firm and a unified commitment to a strategic direction

Individual plans are created for the firm as a whole, for each practice or industry group and for each individual attorney. All should fit together as a unified whole, complementing and supporting each other. Each plan must be specific, measurable and aligned with the firm’s overall vision, taking the following into account:

  • Client retention
  • Cross-selling services to existing clients
  • New business generation
  • Developing new referral sources
  • Providing internal resources and programs to improve client relations and business development
  • Enhancing firm, attorney and practice capabilities, reputation and image

While specific tactics will vary from firm to firm, certain elements are universal. Whether you have a full-time marketing professional on staff, or rely on part-time help or a consultant, the strategic marketing plan should:

  • Identify what is unique about the firm, its offerings and its position in relationship to other firms in your market
  • Establish firmwide marketing goals (aligned to the firm’s business goals, of course) and identify tactics to help achieve those goals
  • Define your desired client base and appropriate methods for reaching them, which may include advertising, media relations, networking in trade, legal or community settings, public speaking, direct mail, website, social media, newsletters, etc.
  • Provide budget reviews and suggestions for financial resource allocation or re-allocation
  • Recommend modifications to key messaging, consistency of identity, appearance and image, and effectiveness of collateral materials

On the tail end of the recession’s whiplash, there isn’t a better time than now to put a strategic plan in place that guides use of your firm’s limited resources and insulates your future. Your strategic marketing plan may easily be the difference between holding ground and gaining ground. It should not be optional.