Changing a mindset


Marketing runs through everything that a law firm does and is not just about creating a new brochure or a fancy logo, says Robert Sawhney

The idea that marketing is integral to the performance of a commercial organization is not new. However, within the professional services sector, and in particular law firms in Asia, the word marketing elicits notions of advertising and selling. This is unfortunate because research – even within the professional services sector – demonstrates that marketing is the key driver of financial performance and client value.

Robert Sawhney
Robert Sawhney

When I talk about marketing as the key driver of a firm’s success, I do not mean activities such as advertising or promotion in isolation. These are a part of marketing, but are not what marketing is really about.

As I see it, marketing is the guide for creating and delivering client value. As Tim Ambler from the London Business School rightly points out, trying to measure the return on investment (ROI) for marketing as a business process in its entirety is like trying to measure the ROI on eating – if you don’t do it you die!

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Robert Sawhney is the managing director of SRC Associates Ltd, a Hong Kong-based firm that works with professional services firms throughout Asia on improving their competitiveness. He is also the author of Marketing Professional Services in Asia (Lexis Nexis, 2009) and Developing a Profitable Practice in Asia (Ark, 2010). For more information, see or contact