decorative image

What does the Pareto principle mean for law firm marketing?


The Pareto Principle is very simple, yet extremely effective when it comes to your law firm marketing and business development including sales. The 115-year-old rule is named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

The most important thing about his findings is how they can be applied to businesses across the world even in the digitalised way we live today. For example, in general, 20% of your time produces 80% of your results or 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your clients. 

Sometimes referred to as the 80/20 rule it gives you a really unique insight into shifting your balance of responsibilities to work with marketeers differently to secure you more business.

By looking at the important role that marketing plays in forming new business opportunities for you Pareto’s principle can be applied not just to increase leads and warming them up to say yes but it also saves you precious time, which you can then spend on tasks that only you can do, like meeting up with prospective clients.

What are the stages law firms use to generate new business leads? 

Traditionally, lawyers, like yourself, have tended to enjoy holding the pen and so lead towards dominating the marcomms output, because you see it as safe. You can keep editing and red lining it as you please.

Plus you see seminars, articles as much safer than, say, pitches or live events which are open to the general public.

In fact some lawyers I’ve worked with have even admitted that they stay commandeering marcoms as an excuse not to do the business development.

Therefore there’s an imbalance when it comes to the efforts and skill sets, which we can revitalise with inspiration from Pareto’s law.

Let’s start by analysing the marcomms and BD process as four different stages: 

  1. Stage one is communications, this is where you would broadcast, for example, a Linkedin Post, to a relatively unknown but very wide audience with the objective of ‘eyeball time’ aka lots of views, clicks and interactions. The key here isn’t to necessarily tick any box, it’s just to get content out there with the main goal of getting it seen by as many people as possible. 
  2. The next step will really try to narrow the wide audience down and tap into people’s interests. Usually, this will involve asking the audience to do something, so it could be signing up for a webinar, reading a white paper or downloading a pdf. This stage requires the audience to take action and we usually take them from the page they found us to a new tab elsewhere. It’s here where we want to capture their email address so that their marketing journey can continue.
  3. This is where your audience has now become your ‘leads’ and it’s time to decide if they align with you and your firm and whether a business meeting would be appropriate. To put it simply – do you want to meet them for coffee? Do they want to have coffee with you? Having a coffee with someone is business development. For things to move forward, even above and beyond technical excellence, there’s a need for the right chemistry to exist.
  4. The follow up to coffee is a pitch or presentation or proposal. This is sales or, for existing clients and targets, CRM. This is the point at which people decide: can we work with you to achieve this outcome at the price you’ve quoted? That’s a lot of moving parts.

How can Pareto’s principle be used by marketers and law firms?

Traditionally steps one and two are very safe as you can heavily control them, redlining and editing where you see fit.

But shouldn’t your focus be on business development? Shifting the marcomms weight towards a marketing expert who can take one idea, and turn it into a fountain of content looking at what it means for your audience, how they are going to buy it, and importantly what emotional factors are at play.

Marketeers can inject the much needed emotional aspects to help the audience connect with you, your values and your messages. They add warmth, personality and a tone that can’t be tamed with a red pen. 

So, what if we used Pareto’s principle and rebalanced the load so that it was an 80/20 marketing experts/ lawyers for marcomms, and 20/80 when it comes to business development and sales.

With just one single good idea from you, a marketeer can do more than that you will ever have time to do. For instance, from a single blog post, a marketeer can craft multiple pieces of content and opportunities, including opinion pieces, news stories, video content or even an event! Your singular post can suddenly become a web of different content, reaching out to audiences through a range of platforms and broadening the scope. 

And most importantly it will ooze emotion which will help your audience connect with you and what you’re offering them.

This way the marketeer is using their skills to reduce the amount of time you’re investing in marketing and reusing, recycling and recreating content from a relatively small amount of work on your side. 

And because there is more content available on a range of different platforms the net to catch an audience is wider and the marketeer can reel in more potential business leads for you.

The magic of all of this work really sparks in the final stages, because whilst 80% of the business development and sales is down to you when it comes to your face to face meeting, your new business lead will already have a really thorough understanding and context of your brand, your business and how you work, so effectively they are not just warm to the idea of you working together, they are scolding hot and ready to say yes before you even sit down! 

In business development the 20% that the marketing experts hold will be spent preparing you for your meeting, sharing with you insights and rehearsing with you any key messages. But really at this stage is up to you to impress – it’s you or your firm that the client is buying.


In summary, why does Pareto’s principle work in law firm marketing?

Working with Pareto’s principle in this way means that by splitting communications and marketing 80/20 so that it is led by marketing experts they can plant many seeds of touchpoints for the audience which will grow into new business leads for you.

By using Pareto’s principle in this clever way marketeers can save you time and energy whilst simultaneously increasing a firm’s presence and business leads. Your time saved can then be spent doing the factors that only you can do – which is meeting prospective clients and wowing them with your knowledge. 

The balance then shifts when it comes to business and development and sales, weighting 80/20 to you meaning that you can focus your efforts ensuring that your client signs on the dotted line. Through preparation, planning and focus you’ll be able to pour over the necessary documents and rise above your competitors. 

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Share now |

Explore our latest posts