Market Focus: Lawyers
No ordinary jury of your peers, attorneys can be tough customers—and even tougher prospects. They rank among the nation’s most highly educated professionals, have notoriously meticulous gatekeepers and, for those in positions that bill by the hour, time literally is money. But before dismissing this audience altogether, it’s important to weigh the evidence in its favor. For countless B-to-B companies, the legal community is a vital customer, and American Bar Association (ABA) List Sales Operations Manager Rick Vangundy calls attorneys “an untapped market” for consumer companies.
The verdict? If you’re willing to invest time and effort into making your case, marketing to lawyers can be a winning proposition. But there are a few things you should know before jumping in.
Relevance Matters: The Demographic Profile
As you might expect from a profession so often focused on cold, hard facts, lawyers tend not to like generalizations, observes Patricia Wood, senior director, membership services for the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), a voluntary group with more than 70,000 members. “They relate better when you show that you know something about them and their practice.”
According to Diane Bruhl, director of the ABA’s Membership and Marketing Division, there are 1.1 million lawyers licensed in the United States, including those practicing in its possessions and territories, such as Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands.
Interestingly, gender distribution among attorneys differs by age. “Younger lawyers tend to be more evenly divided between male and female, while older attorneys are predominantly male,” says Kevin Vermeulen, vice president and group publisher of ALM, one of the largest legal journalism providers in the world. “In law schools, it’s about 50-50, but at the partner level it becomes more male dominated.”
The majority of attorneys—around 76 percent of ABA members, says Vangundy—are married. “They have families and spouses, and the groups around them also have consumer wants and needs.”