I recently read a report that the professional services market is becoming technology driven but what does this really mean for us? Do we all need to get out our best robot outfits and talk in code or do we need to review our marketing processes in order to compete?
It is true that during the last ten years the legal industry has seen major changes that are leading to the traditional business models becoming vulnerable to digital disruption due to free access to the Internet to obtain knowledge. It is unsurprising that a report written by PWC indicated that less than a quarter of law firms have made changes to respond to the digital age, despite 80% identifying the need to. But what does this mean for us marketers?
When I started my marketing career the 4Ps were the oracle of marketing; marketing courses focused on product based companies and there was little focus on how we can use technology to market ourselves. Social media took off in the late 2000s and the world became obsessed with the latest trends, hashtags and snapchat filters. For many this was mind-blowing; companies struggled to keep up with the changes in technology and many legal practices failed to acknowledge the importance of using technology to develop their strategy to meet customer expectations.
To this day, I have only met a handful of people who could say they have never shopped or banked online, used social media, browsed the internet, sent an email or used a contactless card. We all expect to be able to do everything instantly; if you do not know the answer to something you Google it, you send your friend a WhatsApp message rather than sending a letter, or you buy all those dresses you have on your saved items in ASOS (yes, I really did need all five of them) rather than going to the shops. As marketers we need to be proactive, we need to see what our customers want before they do. Technology has allowed us to analyse trends, customer interactions, provide tailored services to customers to save them time and it worries me to say that many companies still have not acknowledged the power of technology. Implementing a good practice management system can provide marketers with the knowledge they need. The more we rely on technology the more powerful it will become – we should never underestimate the power of data.
Over the next few years, to remain competitive, legal practices will need to better understand their businesses. Change is inevitable, tech savvy graduates, innovation driven clients and smart app technology will inevitably drive change in the legal profession at a rate never seen before. Law firms will embrace technology to save costs, time and meet client expectations. As large firms push for market changes, smaller firms will need to adopt technology processes in order to compete. I do not think we need to get our silver helmets out just yet but we cannot deny that one day artificial intelligence could completely change the business environment. As marketers we need to embrace change and help our businesses understand the power that technology can bring. Build confidence in technology within your own organisation before going out into the big wide world – if everyone is on board you are in a much better position to drive change.