LMA Annual Conference Recap: A Recipe for SMORS (Smart Marketing on Limited Resources)

As a solo marketer in a small (or, as we call it in Baltimore, medium-sized) firm, I am always looking to find solace in the company of others who are similarly situated in firms and departments of my size.  While legal marketing may be a broad career path, as evidenced by well over 1000 attendees at this year’s LMA Annual Conference in Las Vegas from across the United States and several other countries, I especially appreciate the programming that is specifically targeted towards solo and small marketing department attendees.  The viewpoints of those who wear “many hats” are invaluable to my own professional development, and have helped time and time again to gain new insight into problem-solving, time management and best practices.

The SMORs pre-conference day at the Annual Conference does just that: adding a full day of back-to-back programming that is targeted at smaller firms and departments.  The day began with opening remarks from co-chairs Emily J. Krause and Thomas C. Helm to set the tone of levity for the day, and was followed up by an incredibly interesting presentation entitled, “The Not-So Secret Formula: How a New Marketing Leader and a Managing Partner Can Work Together to Get Things Done.”  Clinton P. Gary, Director of Marketing at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and his Managing Partner, Glenn Hendrix, gave an insightful look at the trust and open communication style necessary for a marketing professional and managing partner to best run a firm together.  The presentation was invaluable for including the managing partner’s live opinion and input into each topic covered, and really illustrated how easy it can be for marketing to work with the management of the firm to reach a common goal when approached in a strategic manner.

“The Tipping Point: In-House Versus Outsourcing” was presented by Susan Greene, Gail Lamarche and Richard A. Harris, Esquire and was moderated by Jeff Roberts of Moire Marketing.  They each gave a glimpse into their decision-making process for determining when to send a project offsite that may take valuable time that would be better spent on other ventures, or could be better executed by someone who specializes in that field. Next, Elizabeth Ferris told the group how to “Take Charge of Your Law Practice Brand.”  She stressed the importance of individual branding and gaining buy-in from your attorneys to achieve the feeling that the whole [brand] is greater than the sum of its parts. 

With similar themes, Russell Lawson of Knapp Marketing kicked off the post-lunch sessions with an eye-opening look into “Consider the Alternatives: Implementing Video and Other Cool Stuff on a Shoestring Budget,” and Lucy Rosen presented “Champagne Marketing on a Beer Budget: How Today’s Legal Marketers Can Implement Low-Cost Marketing Strategies to Get High-Impact Results.”  She focused on 3 overriding goals: 1) how to keep the clients you have, 2) how to expand the clients you have to provide more legal services, and 3) how to reach new clients that the firm wants to serve.  The day wrapped up with W. Allen Fuqua speaking about “The Smart Work Matrix: Work Smarter, Better and With Less Pain and Stress.”  He stressed valuing each project differently, and dealing with each project as such; if a project is valued less by the firm, less time should be devoted to it, and vice versa.  Talk with your team about targeting constantly, and understand the role of time, effort and referrals to build relationships.

I would highly recommend any small department or solo marketer attend the SMORs session at next year’s Annual Conference, which is slated to be held in Orlando, Florida.  The lessons you will take away from these targeted educational opportunities will prove worthwhile time and time again.

By: Jenna K. O'Connor, Director of Marketing, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP, for the March/April Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter.

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