Thought Leadership, Behind The Brand

It's about playing the long game and supporting our clients

4 MINUTES

Qamar Anwar, managing director, April 28, 2020

COVID-19 is having a dramatic impact on virtually every business, with all of us under immense pressure to hold onto cash, reduce costs and retain clients in the hope that there is an economy left once this is all over.

Marketing is often one of the first costs businesses look to reduce in a downturn. As a legal marketing collective, there is an obvious impact on our business if law firms reduce their investment in our lead generation services. It could come across as ignorant or self-serving for me to say don’t reduce your marketing investment at this current time.  There are, however, many reasons why businesses should still continue marketing their services, even in these difficult times. As a business we have had to think long and hard about how we adapt in order to support law firms for the benefit of all of us in the long-term. 

Cutting costs at the moment may look the most fiscally prudent route whilst there are Government support packages to take advantage of, but what happens when these come to an end? Firms will have the daunting challenge of an empty pipeline and rapidly returning costs, with no new business to pay for it. Right now, it’s imperative that firms look to strike the right balance between the short-term pain and the long-term needs of your business.

Standing with our clients and partners

At First4Lawyers we have seen increases in collaborative working up and down our supply chain, with clients and suppliers alike. I am genuinely delighted to see how quickly organisations have come together with the collective aim of supporting each other with one common purpose… to survive. We’ve worked to accommodate our client’s needs on a case by case basis. Yet more importantly, our focus has been on how we can give our customers the confidence they need to retain their investment in First4Lawyers. This has included flexing our proposition to not only help law firms reduce their costs but do our bit to help them be in a stronger position to survive this crisis.

In the current climate it is costing more to deliver less, but instead of making our clients pay more for less, we are reducing the cost of panel membership whilst simultaneously increasing how much we are investing in marketing. To do this we are using our own money to bolster our marketing activity. We have committed to invest as much as is needed over the coming weeks and months to ensure we deliver new business to our panel members for the long-term.

Our partners have been amazing. They have either reduced their own costs or offered additional services to help us strengthen what we do. This has enabled us to work even more effectively when monitoring the markets and working to understand the best time to invest in marketing or hold back because it is too competitive. It’s also helped us when making decisions to switch between media channels and upweight because the market is right, through to monitoring impression data and competitors. At every step we have worked to feed all this information back to our panel firms, so they have the confidence that we are the right partner for them.

Everyone is in this together; partners, clients, our colleagues and suppliers, because it’s more important for us that our industry comes out of this stronger, than it is for us to get a bit of extra budget in the short-term. We believe that if we work through the pain with our clients we will develop relationships and trust that will continue to pay dividends for everyone for years to come.

Independent, privately owned advantage

Can we afford to do this? The question should be can we afford not to do this?

As an independent, privately owned business we are in a unique position to be able to support businesses through this crisis, as we have the ability to adapt quickly and make decisions without the pressure of shareholders or additional stakeholders.

We have always run our business with one eye on fiscal prudence. We don’t hold any debt and remain financially sound which enables us to support our loyal customers for as long as we can. However we don’t have an unlimited pot of money but what we do have will be used for the benefit of the collective.

We can see the pressure that is building within the listed and larger group businesses within our sector. I understand the pressures, and I feel the pain as a business owner. But, at First4Lawyers we’re going to play the long game, support the businesses we work with and develop relationships that will make any short-term pain seem insignificant.

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