The Dark Funnel and Legal Agile Marketing: What is it & Why should firms care?

Bob, a multi-business owner, is in the market looking for an estate planning firm that’ll take care of his finances. He might have a few attorneys top of mind based on advertisements, billboards, networking events, etc. However, most seeking legal services consider this type of business a high-ticket purchase. Because of this nature, consumers like Bob will not only draw from their awareness; he’ll most likely confide in his close circles, such as family, friends, and colleagues. It doesn’t end here. Besides that, he’s most likely also actively checking review sites like Avvo and more.

Eventually, Bob will have a list of potential estate planning firms, and he’ll start narrowing down that list. Once he has his top choices, he might keep digging to find out more. At last, the ideal dream would be him booking a call with your firm. Nonetheless, it’s clear to see the process is not linear anymore.

In today’s marketing, this convoluted process challenges today’s firms who are trying to identify a clear path of purchase. The one-way customer journey as we once knew it isn’t a linear, direct process anymore. To give you an idea, the traditional funnel looks like this:  

All customers going through the sales funnel should convert this way in a perfect world. However, we need to reiterate that today many customers are like Bob and their purchase process is unique and non-linear. They may go back and forth between different stages. So, what does this mean for law firms? Is this a bad thing? Far from it! 

We’ll explain this new underlying phenomenon and new opportunities you can venture toward. Let’s begin. 


Everything You Need to Know About the Dark Side of the Funnel

It indeed sounds like a concept straight out of the dark side of the force of Star Wars, but this concept was coined back in 2016.  We’ll use a small science lesson to help explain the name and the concept of the dark funnel. 

Dark matter is invisible and emits no light, yet it makes up over 80% of all matter in the universe. Amazing, isn’t it? There’s a similar theory in marketing, and it’s called the dark funnel.

The dark funnel refers to the often hidden yet critical insights many miss when trying to understand the customer journey. It’s the untapped source of hidden and powerful knowledge you can leverage in your marketing. Think of the dark funnel as tapping into uncharted territory, the same way NASA and other aeronautics explore the great mystery of space.

Perhaps the most significant advantage of tapping into the dark funnel is hitting the mark with clients like Bob. It may seem like you’re blind to understanding the consumer’s behavior when most users today are constantly jumping back and forth in the messy middle, but there’s good news. Customers leave a kind of ‘breadcrumb trail’ across the internet, and you can make the most of it too.

To follow the breadcrumb trail, it’s best to combine data and a thorough understanding of your consumer’s behavior. These are also some of the promises behind the dark funnel, and here are 3 of the main ones

  1. It helps you understand why people come to your website, read your blogs, watch your videos, listen to your podcasts, etc.  
  2. It helps you define why you should do something and what to do. 
  3. It helps you understand how things change over time and thus, helps you adapt and evolve.

Now that we’ve talked about a critical piece you shouldn’t miss out on, let’s talk about how you can pull the data “into the light.”


Moving Faster Without Compromising Quality With Agile Marketing

In 2012 a group of forward thinkers met to create a guide pertaining to the future of modern marketing. This event was known as Spring Zero, a two-day gathering where many provided their take on digital marketing’s future. This led to the question, “Which method is ‘the best?” With that question in mind, Agile Marketing was born.

Agile Marketing is an approach based on the principles of agile methodology. These are the 5 principles in agile marketing

  • Adapt to change: Your firm’s business is dynamic by nature; therefore, it’s best to modify your plan of action from time to time. 
  • Experiment and test: To find out what’s working and what isn’t it’s critical to have organized controlled experiments.
  • Quick iterations: A/B test with small changes in your marketing and re-run the modified strategies. 
  • Frequent interactions and feedback: For anyone in business, law firms included, feedback is necessary to grow. 
  • Constant learning and improvement: If you want to grow your firm, you’ll need to tweak your legal marketing. 

The objective behind agile marketing is to manage all projects related to legal marketing. In other words, moving faster without compromising the quality of the deliverables.

How firms can implement Agile Marketing: 

  1. Sprints A sprint refers to the timeframe you’re giving your team to complete the current projects. This isn’t set in stone, but sprints typically last between 2-6 weeks. More significant projects might not fit into this timeframe. Therefore you can break the projects into pieces. 
  2. Stand-up meetings – AKA a daily scrum is a short daily meeting where your team gets together to check-in. Each member goes over what they did, goals for the team, roadblocks, etc. 
  3. A board to track your firm’s progress – It’s your choice whether you prefer sticky notes or a digital Kanban board. As long as you have a central way of tracking your sprint efforts. 
  4. Teamwork – This is the most critical element. Everyone in your team should be prepared to collaborate and assist.


Measuring your Firm’s Agile Marketing Strategy

“How do I know agile marketing is effective for my firm?” This is perhaps the most crucial question of them all. Here’s the metric in agile marketing: brand recall. 

Brand recall correlates to your revenue. However, measuring direct-cause-and-effect is tricky because there isn’t a single-touch attribution. Today’s marketing focuses on being all around the conversion path to reach your audience at different stages. When your ads appear on a user’s screen, that’s an impression. This is important because before you get any user to click and convert, you need to know if you’re commanding their attention. 

You want to give users that ‘aha’ moment when they see you, and this is where brand recall comes in. It helps you answer questions like: 

  • Did users see the ad?
  • Did users engage with it? 
  • Did it make an impact on the viewer? 

Learn more about how conversion attribution works and find out how you should best attribute YOUR firm’s conversions by downloading the resource below.

Download Resource


Underlying forces like the dark funnel and agile marketing can help you control your firm’s messaging. With that, your firm can meet clients like Bob where they are today. What’s more, it can help you better allocate your investment in the channels where consumers are seeing your firm. 

Whether you’re already using a collaborative method or not, that’s okay. You can still tie it all together by implementing agile marketing techniques. More so, you can have a team of legal marketing experts researching and implementing new growth strategies for you