Understand Foreign Clients’ Needs
By Holding A Focus Group

Use Interpreters in Focus Groups to Find
an Underserved Legal Niche Market

Hire Language Interpreting Company to Communicate with Focus Groups’ Audience

While studying your prospective foreign clients’ culture and language is a necessary and important step in successfully attracting (and keeping) foreign-born clients, it is important to recognize the tremendous value that can be obtained from speaking to, and learning from, your target market directly. One of the ways in which to do this is by holding a focus group and using professional language interpreting company to communicate with the foreign audience. Holding a focus group may provide valuable insight and is best done before important and costly business decisions are made, such as opening a new office, hiring bilingual staff, or creating a new marketing campaign. As with any type of client, it always helps to understand things from the client’s prospective. Successful businesses of all kinds take time to do this.

So what is a focus group and how can it best direct a firm’s business decisions? To begin, a focus group is a panel comprised of approximately 8-15 individuals demographically similar to the firm’s target niche market. In a controlled setting, a law firm can learn significantly more information from its target market directly than through the use of questionnaires and surveys, which may or may not get answered honestly and completely. Some of the types of questions that firms can ask the target group include, but are not limited to:
• How do/would you go about obtaining a lawyer? Is it by Yellow Pages, referrals, word of mouth, etc.?

• Have you utilized the services of a lawyer in the past? If so, describe the experience. What did you like? What did you dislike?

• What barriers exist for you in finding and developing a relationship with a lawyer?

• How does language impact your ability to find and select a lawyer?

• What types of legal services do you need currently or anticipate needing in the future?

• What types of legal services do you think your ethnic or cultural group needs most frequently?

• In what ways is your ethnic or cultural group underserved by the legal community?

• How can law firms better meet your needs?

• What qualities are important to you in a lawyer?

• What misconceptions do you think lawyers/the legal system has about your ethnic or cultural group?

• How does the legal system in the United States differ from the legal system in place in your country of origin? In what ways is it better/worse?

• How important is it to you that law firms have professional translators available to assist you in meetings with your lawyer?

• How important is it to you that law firms take time to have legal and other important documents professionally translated?

• What activities or events are important to you and your community?

In addition to answering the questions above, a focus group can also provide feedback on any of the firm’s possible marketing materials or tag lines. Specifically, the focus group can help ensure that the firm’s marketing message will be understood by its foreign clients in the manner in which it was intended. The focus group can also review the marketing materials to ensure that its content is not inadvertently offensive to culturally diverse clientele.

In addition, the focus group can assist the law firm with subtle- but important-selections such which color to use in the firm’s marketing materials and on its website. In Japan, for example, black and white banners are used during funerals and red price tags are used on cheap and discounted products, so firms may want to avoid those colors when marketing to Japanese clientele.
Finally, the focus group can provide the firm with feedback on the firm’s website in terms of content and user-friendliness. Allowing the focus group members to access the firm’s website during the meeting can allow the law firm to evaluate the manner in which the prospective foreign clients will view, navigate, and respond to the firm’s foreign language website.
In sum, holding a focus group can be an extremely beneficial tool for firms to hone in their marketing tactics and strategies. Meeting with members of their target market in person can provide invaluable information and insight into the niche market’s needs, values, and receptiveness to the firm’s marketing messages.

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