Realm Hotspot Talks To... Dez Derry

Posted on 26/4/2017 by Katherine Memery

It’s never been more important for law firms to invest in Digital Marketing to future-proof their business and compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace. In April’s edition of Realm Hotspot talks to… we spoke to Dez Derry, CEO of mmadigital, an online marketing agency that works specifically within the legal sector, to hear his thoughts on how firms can stand out from their competitors.

What inspired you to set up mmadigital? 

Having worked for Yell.com for 7 years and after studying for a Diploma in Digital Marketing, I thought it was about time to put my skills to good use.

What was it that drew you to the legal sector, in particular?

Much of my work at Yell.com involved working with law firms, so I wanted to build on this experience. I felt that law firms were the businesses that needed my help the most, to grow online.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Positive feedback from clients when we have delivered above their expectations is very rewarding.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? 

Spend time understanding the basics of business including all the boring stuff like VAT, PAYE, company structures and financial modelling.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people thinking of starting their own company? 

I would recommend budding entrepreneurs build an initial 12-month financial model, which includes a personal salary. Any new company requires investment from day 1 and you will be hit with unexpected costs as part of learning.  Ensure you’re able to feed yourself for the first 12 months, even if it means replacing Waitrose with Aldi.

What do you see as the main challenges facing law firms today?  

In the consumer space, firms are being hit with government reforms, fixed pricing models and new entrants with deep pockets. 

Over on the commercial side, firms have to look at artificial intelligence to future-proof their businesses and ensure they are able to compete with the larger players.  Finally, law firms are reliant on quality staff; recruiting and retaining talent is particularly difficult in the legal sector right now.

How can firms distinguish themselves from their competitors online? 

For consumer law firms, regular lead flow is essential, so a digital strategy built around lead generation should be core to their business. What’s more, because 50% of all legal searches now are from a mobile device, mobile should play a big part in a digital strategy. 

Commercial law firms need to offer quality online content, but only 10% of top 200 law firms use online video to engage with and retain website visitors right now. Without powerful video content, firms are definitely missing a trick.

What do you like to do to unwind? 

I like to learn and train Muay Thai which is an ancient combat sport in Thailand. I also enjoy hiking and running.

Finally, where is your favourite holiday destination?

I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to quite a few destinations but, being a big fan of the outdoors, Canada, in particular, the Rocky Mountains, would be my favourite.

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