I am with a 17 attorney general business firm located in Boston and chair of the firm's three member marketing committee. At this year's planning retreat we discussed the concept of niche marketing and whether we should focus on a specific niche. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
A niche marketing strategy can help you stand out from the crowd by focusing on a particular segment. Here is an outline of a typical niche marketing program.
- Reach Out to Existing and Potential Referral Sources
- Contact existing and past client that would be willing to provide leads, give you written testimonials/references and involve you in their professional and trade associations
- Contact non-client influentials - attorneys, bankers, editors, executive directors of industry associations, media, and community leaders and work with these people.
- Existing practice profile and factors as well as referral sources form the bedrock of a law firm.
- Targets of Opportunity
- Additional targets of influence
- Offer Silver Bullets - Solutions to hot button issues that potential clients have.
- Targeting a Niche
- Selecting a Niche Target
- Location/Zip Codes
- Type of Business/Industry
- Practice Area
- Develop an insider understanding of the niche industry (industry success factors)
- Critical success factors
- Key ratios
- Key publications of the niche
- Writing, speaking, leveraging memberships with key organizations
- Objectives and desired outcomes
- Prospective niche client profile
- Library of niche publications
- Niche database
- Existing clients
- Prospective clients
- Non-client influentials
Often a niche strategy does not involve a new area of practice - it may involve delivering services that you already perform - but marketed to a specific industry group. In essence you are learning the unique needs of a specific industry group, learning their language, and demonstrating that you understand their business better than your competition. An example would by an insurance defense firm that handles the defense for a couple of trucking cases and then creates a niche around the trucking industry.
Place your niche marketing strategy carefully. It takes time, financial resources, and commitment to successfully pull off a niche marketing strategy. Don't try to focus on more than one or two niche markets and insure that the niche that you are targeting is large enough to satisfy your objectives and justify the time and resources that you will be required to invest.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC