As Tolstoy once noted, “Happy marketers are all alike; every unhappy marketer is unhappy in his/her own way.” So, admittedly the famed Russian author may not have phrased it quite that way, but the sentiment seems apt. Those working at big firms with large marketing departments cannot help but wonder if flying solo might be easier and more productive, while conversely, solo marketers may ponder if having more support would be helpful. The differences between the two were the focus of the July 2017 LMA Philadelphia lunch discussion, “Are You Smarter than a Solo Marketer?”
Moderator Jamie Mulholland of Jamie Mulholland Marketing was joined by April Colby of Fox Rothschild LLP and Kelly O'Malley of Reger Rizzo & Darnall LLP, all of whom drew on their past and current experiences to dive into the world of the solo marketer. Discussion covered topics such as finding and using resources wisely, dealing with resistance, outside vendors and the major differences between working in a small firm and working at a big firm. Highlights from the packed-room program included:
- Establishing a plan (or plans) for marketing and business development that are practical and suitable for the entire firm. Talking to the individual attorneys is essential. Smaller firms tend to have less of a practice group-focused mentality and more of an individual attorney focus, so it becomes even more important to know the attorney, his/her business, targets and practice. Tailor plans for each person’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Becoming an expert in the lawyers’ areas of practice. Watch what the attorneys are doing, learn the key points of their practice areas (Google is your friend!), see what the competition is doing.
- The importance of developing relationships, both with attorneys and other staff members, who can become the people who provide extra support when needed. Keep in mind you’re your colleagues are often willing to help, and marketing is fun and a change of pace for many people. Being part of the team tackling a large project and making yourself available to help when others need it, will help form those relationships and trust.
- The biggest differences? Scale of what you’re doing and the decision-making processes. Many of the activities/tasks are the same, but, for instance, you may be planning an event for 30 people, not 150. As a solo marketer, one has more control over the decision-making process and may face fewer obstacles in finalizing and implementing choices.
- Similarities: Regardless of firm size, marketers are bound to run into resistance in some form or another. Allies in other areas and departments can help make the job easier. Knowing your attorneys and what they value is essential. Find and use whatever firm resources are available, as well as those resources from outside professional organizations. Marketers will always have to learn how to manage expectations and to be flexible.