How are law firms investing in their marketing and BD?

The Law Firm Marketing Club’s annual Professional Services Marketing Survey, now in its fourth year, continues to grow in participation, with 125 firms contributing data in 2024.

As marketers, we understand the importance of robust and dependable data, and in this report, we delve into various aspects of professional services firms’ marketing and business development (BD) strategies.

Key areas of exploration include:

  • Investment trends in marketing and BD among professional services firms.
  • Size and composition of marketing and BD teams.
  • The integration of marketing and BD into strategic planning processes.
  • Outsourcing trends in marketing activities.
  • Performance metrics for the fiscal year 2023/24, including turnover, headcount, marketing budget, team size, and technology investment.
  • Allocation of marketing and BD budgets during the same period.
  • Forecasts for the fiscal year 2024/25, covering marketing activities, budget allocation, turnover projections, team size adjustments, and anticipated challenges and opportunities.

Here are some of the highlights…

Marketing budgets

On average, firms dedicated 3.1% of their turnover to these efforts, representing an increase from the previous year’s 2.7%. This trend was particularly notable among law firms, where the allocation rose to 3.0% from 2.9% in the previous year, indicating a heightened emphasis on marketing and BD strategies within the legal sector. Similarly, accountancy firms also showed an upward trend, with their allocation increasing to 2.0% from 1.7% last year.

To put this into perspective, a £10 million turnover law firm is investing approximately £300,000 annually in marketing and BD activities, excluding staff salaries. While outliers were excluded from our analysis to ensure accuracy, these findings underscore the growing recognition of the importance of strategic marketing investments in driving business growth and client engagement within professional services firms.

How did firms’ fare in 2023?

In 2023, most professional services firms saw growth: 66% reported higher turnover, 58% invested more in technology, and 40% expanded their workforce, signalling a promising trajectory amid market changes.

How were marketing & BD budgets spent in 2023?

Digital advertising emerged as the frontrunner, experiencing a notable increase to 23% from the previous year’s 20%. Conversely, expenditure on events saw a decline to 9% from 13% in the prior year. However, other budgetary allocations remained largely consistent with previous years’ figures.

Additionally, firms’ performance in 2023 reflected positive growth trajectories, with 66% reporting increased turnover, 58% boosting their investment in technology, and 40% expanding their firm headcount. Notably, a significant portion of firms utilised third-party consultants and agencies for various marketing functions, with 60% seeking support for SEO, 58% outsourcing design work, and 40% delegating digital marketing tasks.

Strategic planning in law firms

It’s encouraging to see how more marketers are being entrusted with driving the strategic planning process at their firms – at 23% across all firms in 2024 compared to 19% in 2023. However, this is down from 28% in 2022.

To really understand this data, we looked at it across the different types of respondents. This helps us look at the data in context:

Clearly this gives us a different complexion, with each person answering from their context we can see those not in leadership roles in the marketing team being less involved in the strategic planning process. Conversely, those in leadership roles are indicating a high level of involvement in the strategic planning from marketing.

It’s also interesting to note that the firms that are £6M+ have a notably larger input from their marketing teams to their strategic planning. Oddly the larger firms (£50M+) see a dip. What does this tell us? Is it suggesting that larger firms with perhaps more structure in their marketing functions have a more inclusive and robust planning process?

For access to the complete report or to learn more about the Law Firm Marketing Club membership, please contact Sophia Stancer, the Club’s manager.

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join over 7,000 conveyancing professionals – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our daily and weekly round ups

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.