I am already hearing from both our African and international law firm clients that planned travel, events and sponsorships are being postponed or cancelled in response to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) virus outbreak.
Such decisions are no doubt well reasoned and considered but firms should be careful not to allow 'gaps' in their presence and client engagements to go unfilled. Leaner, more accessible or technology-driven providers are, justifiably, going to be interested in filling any gaps.
Face-time is always going to be a vital component of any law firm client strategy, this is not a problem and an approach which I fully endorse. Where firms need to be addressing potential softness, however, is ensuring that their physical presence is matched by their digital presence when it comes to talking and engaging with their current and potential customers. The joy of a consistent, robust and long-term digital presence is in its flexibility, scalability and relatively low cost.
Budget line-items for air travel, hotels, client entertainment, meals and mileage are not going away. I implore firms, however, to look at the benefits of reallocating a portion of such spend to developing and growing their digital presence. And no... this does not mean spending mega-bucks on a fancy website which clients simply won’t visit and high-fiving over a job well done.
I have previously explained the many benefits of a proper Content Marketing strategy and encourage new readers to take a look at the practical steps outlined in this previous article to start on their journey towards reaping the benefits of such.
Some practical steps to consider to replace in-person engagements are:
It remains to be seen how long this particular travel and handshake-limiting threat will continue for but it will not be the last. I implore law firm leaders and marketers to start considering how developing their own consistent digital presence will protect them from the current and future business disruptors.
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