Although not everyone accepts that the “R” word is actually occurring (of course “they” have six or seven figure incomes with little chance of encountering a foreclosure on their McMansion, nor being troubled by such mundane tasks as putting petroleum into their limousines – but I digress), but for those firms who do feel a bit of a pinch in the old institutional wallet these days, it may just be time to crank up the business development efforts a little.

An article by Les Altenberg of A.L.T. Legal Professionals Marketing Group on the subject, that appears in this week’s, talks about adjusting the four “P’s” (Product, Place, Promotion, Price) of marketing as one way to develop business in these troubled times. Specifically:

Product – Consider providing a mix of services most in need in such times, such as bankruptcy, loan restructuring, renegotiation of contracts, acquisitions of distressed businesses and, of course, litigation;

Place – whether services are delivered in the law office, clients office, over the telephone or Internet, the important part is to stay close to existing clients (and that in my mind includes visiting key clients in their workplace);

Promotion – a firm should focus its business development dollars on promoting the mix of services needed now, especially those things most likely to raise the firm’s profile relating to those services – speaking, writing, seeking feedback, entertaining and client visits (basically drawing from my Top Ten Marketing Tips list); and

Price – here, as a medium-sized or small firm, I would emphasize your normally lower rates compared to BigLaw, and offer alternative fee arrangements (such as fixed fees). As Les warns, be careful about reducing your fees in these times, as it will be extremely difficult to raise them when things turn around.

Whether you agree or not that the economy is in an actual recession, revisiting your marketing four P’s is worth doing.