Eduardo Vidal | Sunny South Florida | January 2020

How are y’all?  I trust well,  and I hope that y’all are taking full advantage of all the opportunities created by our growing economy,  powered by lower taxes,  reasonable regulations and law-abiding judges.  Given these opportunities,  many lawyers ponder  how to market themselves for maximum results?  A basic approach is to rely on quid-pro-quo – – “reciprocal marketing.”

Reciprocal marketing is a situation where two businesses or professional firms promote each other in order to gain a mutual benefit,  thereby expanding the results for both of them.  The objective is to reach a greater target audience without incurring extra time,  cost or effort.  Examples are common in the tourism industry,  where if you buy a ticket to a tourist destination,  you will often be offered discounted tickets to the local attractions.  With professional firms,  the situation may work in the same way,  so that if you obtain your services from one firm,  you may be referred for services at another.

Firms most often engage in reciprocal marketing when their services are similar but complementary.  This means that the philosophy,  quality,  brand image,  reputation and volume of business generated by each firm should be matching,  but complementary of each other.  This strategy can work for small firms as well as for larger and more established firms,  so long as their services are complementary.

One common method to implement reciprocal marketing is with electronic links,  such as when a firm lists recommended professionals in other fields as part of its web site.  Law firms often do this with translations,  corporate services,  legal process outsourcing-LPO,  corporate investigations and other professional services.  The links can also flow in the opposite direction,  so that both sides may benefit.


Sometimes the reciprocity falls out of balance,  with one firm contributing much more than the other,  and in those cases the exchange may be equalized via payments or other services,  such as referral agreements,  although professional associations prohibit sharing fees with other professions.

Reciprocal marketing can also be an essential part of a mentoring relationship between two professionals,  regardless of whether they work in the same firm.  When professionals have complementary strengths or skills,  they can informally partner with other professionals that complement them,  and thereby can deliver a full-service product at lower cost to more clients.

Custom tailoring the message is essential,  of course,  in order to maximize the effects of reciprocal marketing,  or any marketing effort.  The strengths and skills of the parties involved must be matched to create a more powerful combination of matched services.  These services are often advertised in social media and other digital marketing,  such as the press release marketing services offered by,  and its related service aimed at the legal industry,  Legal Newswire at  In the case of online businesses,  there may also be a need for cross-licensing agreements in order to share intellectual property,  and such assets are increasing in importance throughout the legal profession.

There is overwhelming evidence that empathy rather than greed is the driving force in capitalism.  Empathy is the ability to recognize and understand other people’s desires and motives.  Fulfilling those desires at a competitive cost is the basis for market exchange.  In the same way,  reciprocal marketing is at the core of any successful business or professional firm.

Reciprocal marketing remains a useful way to reach a greater target audience,  without added cost.  If the arrangement is not equally beneficial,  the parties may equalize the benefits with transfer payments or other services,  so that both parties remain committed to the relationship.

Happy new year!

Ed Vidal

About Ed

Mr. Vidal is a corporate lawyer with over 30 years of experience in New York and Chicago firms