AF oundation For Entering New Markets by umAqgK6u


									                 A Foundation for Entering New Markets: Where to Start

                                        By: Deana Kardel, President
                                            Eos Consulting, Inc.
                                               415 845 7690

The overriding goal of the Law Firm Marketing Professional is to boost the firm’s bottom line. One way to

accomplish this is through penetrating new markets. Any competent marketing professional can recite the

steps for putting together a marketing plan and executing that plan, but it is not often recognized how

important it is to do careful groundwork before writing and implementing the plan.

A Good Beginning

Even a well-written plan and brilliant execution is useless unless it proceeds from a solid base of facts,

thoroughly analyzed to provide insights into actual past and likely future patterns. Tight control and

accountability during the implementation process to ensure plan adherence must be based on good

information - otherwise, “garbage in: garbage out.” The marketer first of all needs to decide whether the

market is worth the effort of penetrating.

Study Study Study!

One of the first things to be done is a comprehensive study of the probable impact a proposed new area or

targeted market will have on the firm’s operations. The primary purpose of this type of business analysis

is to come up with recommendations for the management committee on whether or not to consider a

particular idea as a market development project. Another key component of the business analysis is to

determine the resources needed to implement the initiative. Finally, benchmark reports focusing on key

business indictors must be developed so that progress can be tracked and evaluated over time.

Now for the Concept Test

Once the business analysis is complete, the concept must be “fleshed out.” This means that the idea needs

to be transformed into a concept by pinpointing its basic purpose and identifying its key characteristics.
The comprehensive description of a potential initiative should be presented to members of the target market

for their reaction. Existing and potential client surveys or formal focus group studies with target audience

participants can be employed to facilitate the validity of the initiative. This process is often termed

“concept testing”.

The concept test is important because it can determine if the initiative is viable and/or if it appeals to the

target market. When the plan evolves from the business analysis through concept testing, the marketing

profession is then in a position to move forward with a strategic approach to communicating its offering.

However, there is one more step to consider before communications.

Maximum Impact

Once the concept is tested and the market response is relatively perdictable, consider developing an impact

statement. The impact statement measures the probable repercussions of a concept’s implementation and

introduction. If the concept is to be successful, how will this new practice area affect our financial results?

What type of marketing resources do we need in addition to what we already have? What attorney

manpower is available now and what will be required for the plan to be successful? How long will it take

to “break even” or generate new revenues? Then most importantly, how will management define success

for the initiative?

How’s The Fit?

It is now becoming clear that in order to forge into new markets, the marketing professional must address

many questions besides the obvious ones of marketing and promotional vehicle selection. In addition to the

business analysis, concept testing, and an impact statement, an examination of how well the new practice

area both fits in with and enhances the firm’s existing practice areas must be considered. Does it add depth

or does it open up a new dimension to the firm? What types of synergy between the firm’s current clients

and the targeted new clients exist?

Now, after all the groundwork has been laid, is the time to write and implement the business development

and marketing plan. The research and testing information will enable the setting of valid goals, the

development of a focused and effective plan, and allows the plan’s implementation to be tracked

accurately. Launching into new target markets is an intricate cyclical process that leads from analysis to

action. It involves an in-depth examination of the company’s strengths and weaknesses and considers

market challenges and opportunities. This may seem basic, but oftentimes the initial evaluation and

analysis procedures are overlooked. Without the proper concept testing and analysis on the front end, the

best and most detailed plans for launching into new markets will be fraught with peril for the unsuspecting

marketing professional.

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