What to watch in marketing to law

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As director of business development for Boston-based international law firm Goulston & Storrs, Beth Marie Cuzzone has experience on both sides of the legal marketing equation. It's Cuzzone's role to market her firm's services to other law firms, and she is in turn a prime marketing target of countless vendors seeking to sell their products and services.

BtoB: What are the biggest opportunities for marketers that want to engage law firms today?

Cuzzone: Usually the largest line-item budget for law firms is technology. Lawyers produce paper-and lots of it. There are vast opportunities for software companies that make processing, capturing, coordinating, indexing, storing, communicating and sharing volumes of information and paper easier and more cost-effective for law firms.

BtoB: What are the best ways for vendors to establish relationships with law firms?

Cuzzone: The biggest mistake a vendor makes is making contact with the lawyers rather than the administrative management often in charge of these purchasing decisions.

Lawyers are there to practice law; the entry point into a law firm is through administrators. When lawyers each bill several hundred dollars an hour, they have neither the time nor the expertise to address a possible vendor. They also, typically, don't have budget to spend with a vendor--but people in positions like mine do.

BtoB: What are some common mistakes that marketers make in trying to connect with this audience?

Cuzzone: Vendors usually target the largest 300 law firms, which account for less than half of the law firm population in the country. There's good money to be made with smaller law firms. Also, vendors tend to view the legal market as U.S.-only. The truth is more and more international law firms are moving into this country, while American firms expand overseas. This trend will greatly accelerate over the next several years. If a vendor can't see beyond the water's edge, it will miss out on important opportunities. M

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