bbr marketing Blog
Managing Partners Speak about Marketing
By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
I attended a great Legal Marketing Association session today. A panel of managing partners shared their perspective on marketing and business development, and I wanted to share what I heard with you in case you can apply these ideas at your firms.
Don’t cut your marketing budget, refocus it. The easy temptation in a down economy is to cut marketing budgets, but study after study shows that this is a bad long-term strategy. However, it may pay to rethink how you are spending your marketing dollars. Some firms have reduced their spending on sponsorships and other “soft” tactics that rarely return real business and have redirected that money to more targeted activities like public relations campaigns. Each of the speakers had cut back on print advertising somewhat, yet have increased their spending on direct marketing efforts and even sales training for their partners and other staff. They are also looking to invest in efforts that can show a direct return on investment, so tracking is even more important than ever before.
Business development is everyone’s job. Not everyone is going to be a rainmaker. Most firms find that a third of people are naturals who love the process, another third have potential to be great, but need help getting there, and the final third are never going to get it. But ultimately, everyone has some responsibility for bringing in business, whether it be new or add-on work. That’s doubly important in a down economy. To this end, some are refocusing some of their marketing dollars on business development training for their partners and staff, and encouraging each of them to create a personal marketing plan. And some are taking this one step further and scheduling regular accountability meetings where they not only review the plan, but have to show how they are implementing it and what results they’ve seen. Another tactic many firms are using is leaving the old “book of business” model and implementing a more collaborative approach, and structuring compensation plans on that concept. No client is “my” client anymore, but all belong to the firm and are served by multiple members of the firm. This strategy encourages everyone to work together and rewards everyone based on that collaboration.
Social media is the future, but we aren’t sure how to use it. Each of the managing partners that spoke admitted that they desperately needed to start using social media as part of their marketing strategy, but they weren’t yet sure how to do it in their firms. While social media will never replace face-to-face meetings, it is a great way to create a community, increase awareness and enhance good will. However, none of the partners that spoke had fully implemented a social media policy and plan at their firm. This is a great area for growth, but one they are letting their younger staff lead. And while that is fine, I do think they need to get this started as soon as possible by first establishing an official policy in their firms so the rules are clear and message is consistent.
Thanks LMA for hosting this session. It is always a treat for marketers to hear what is on the minds of firm leadership.
Great summary. Thanks for sharing!
[…] Not everyone is going to be a rainmaker. However, there are some basic skills your staff can implement to ensure that opportunities do not get missed. Emphasizing listening and asking questions as critical components of client and prospect relationships will pay dividends in more new and add on business. […]