this product is unavailable for purchase using a firm account, please log in with a personal account to make this purchase.

Marketing: Learn the lingo 3

Every Issue

Cite as: (2008) 82(4) LIJ, p. 86

In marketing, as with the law, it’s important to get the terminology correct. This final article in the series on marketing terms gets us from “networking” to “value add”.


Introducing yourself to people and seeking to meet people with a view to business or career development. An activity that requires clear objectives and some forethought. Networking is never for the purposes of drinking, socialising or matchmaking – although these can be pleasant side-effects.


An overused marketing term that just means where you, your firm or your practice stacks up in the market (that is, in the eyes of clients and potential clients) against your competitors. The “stacks” used can have different attributes – for example, price (high to budget), client type, level of expertise or specialisation and so on.


Stands for public relations – which is often a term incorrectly used interchangeably with “media relations”. PR is not just about media; it is about a wide range of communications and includes everything from publications, community liaison, government relations and web management to reputation management (see definition below).

Practice brochure

A brochure that briefly summarises the work a practice does and the benefits to clients of using this practice instead of a competitor’s. Features the key strengths of the practice (people, big transactions) – but only in the briefest form.

Practice development strategy

A marketing or business development plan for a practice within a firm. When a practice sits inside a firm, this strategy must necessarily include marketing to other practices within the firm.


Reach/cut through

What everyone wants in marketing. Simply the terms used to describe whether your marketing has worked, and how far it has gone. In short, the impact. Requires measurement to have any meaning.


Reputation management is relatively new to law firms. It requires careful management and protection by PR professionals who have experience in what damages a firm or organisation’s reputation. Damaged reputations mean lost clients and market position and can linger like a bad smell for a very, very long time.


Request for Proposal, also known as request for tender (RFT), tenders, bids and proposals. A process always engaged in for government legal services (all levels) and corporate environments. Involves dealing with usually very long and convoluted tender specification documents.


Return on Investment. It means what you get back for each marketing activity and what was “invested” in it. This can be measured in everything from dollars returned (did we make more money from clients/sell more services than what it cost us to do this marketing thing), but should also include the other returns – reputation, exposure to clients etc.

Segmentation/market segments

Just means breaking down the “market” into bite-sized or workable chunks. Marketing techniques can be irrelevant and have no impact if they are too general and aimed at “everyone”, so breaking up a market by age, sector, attitude or any other attribute that matters in the way people choose your service means the best chance of high impact (cut-through) marketing.

Thought leadership

Sounds Orwellian, but generally means a piece of research, or a discussion paper, that provokes thought and showcases your firm’s intelligence, broader perspective or forward thinking. With massive reservoirs of intelligence, law firms have unlimited potential in this area that is rarely drawn on. Needs to be written and presented in a way that appeals to clients and media.


Unique selling point/proposition. The kind of term that makes people roll their eyes about marketing. It just means something that sets you apart. In this day and age, it’s unlikely the service or product is actually unique in the true sense of the word – but the way it’s described might be.


Cue another eye roll. To “value add” just means to give a little bit extra. This is particularly valuable if a client wasn’t demanding it (but most clients do). Just give a little extra – in the focus, thinking or communication you do for and with your clients. In practical terms, most clients will view an extra phone call (to them or on their behalf) as a “value add” they can appreciate.

Got any marketing terms that confound you? Email them to the address below and I’ll include them in future columns.

ALICIA PATTERSON is the Director of House Communications. She was previously the LIV Head of Marketing and can be contacted on ph 8611 8188 or


Leave message

 Security code
LIV Social