March 2012 Program Recap — Senior Marketers Roundtable

The March Senior Marketers Roundtable, moderated by Megan McKeon, senior marketing manager at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, featured legal marketers from a range of firms who spoke on core competencies and revealed tips in areas including marketing strategies, social media and career development.

Unique Marketing Strategies

The panelists shared their most successful strategies for generating new business beyond the typical seminars, proposals and sponsorships.

Andrea Gordon, director of marketing and client service at Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP, suggested focusing on a practice typically dominated by males (such as reinsurance) and hosting an event highlighting the women in that practice. Mark Levin, director of client services and marketing at Neal Gerber Eisenberg LLP, noted that in any event where people with similar interests come together, networking will happen organically. He cited popular purse parties and NCAA viewing parties as successful examples.

Joy Long, marketing director at accounting firm Ostrow Reisin Berk & Abrams, has worked in legal marketing for more than 25 years and has had success offering live webcast CLEs with Q&A segments. These are offered over a two-day period at no charge to clients. Clients appreciate the CLE credit and the cost benefit of avoiding travel.

Communicating Department Successes

Sometimes the marketing department gets caught up in its own efforts, and marketing “wins” go unnoticed. There are various ways to highlight wins, and depending on the size of the firm, these can include:

  • Sending a weekly e-mail to the firm summarizing recent efforts and highlighting upcoming activities
  • Presenting updates on proposals and pitches at monthly partner lunches
  • Creating a monthly consolidated business development review sent to partners
  • Using the Intranet to announce deals, transactions, news and attorney moves
  • Sending an HTML announcement to clients to highlight work in other groups (could lead to cross-selling opportunities)

Enhancing Practice Areas

Whether growing a new practice or building an existing one, attorneys involved must discuss their desired direction, what has and hasn't worked previously and the target client.

Jocelyn Brumbaugh, senior manager of global communications at Baker & McKenzie LLP, said public relations is the best way for a new practice to get in front of target clients. It is important to determine the target audience and what publications they are reading. This is not always the front page of the New York Times and could be a small newsletter for a niche industry group.

Employing Social Media

Social media has become an inevitable medium for many firms, but it is important to realize that just because someone else is doing it does not mean you should, too. "Tactics without strategy is activity without moving forward," said Levin. Before jumping into tactics, employ a social media policy and create a plan for how to use social media. Here is an overview of the ways to use each tool:

  • LinkedIn: Encourage attorneys to create accounts to connect with and follow people in their professional networks
  • Twitter: Use as a firm tool to tweet deals, press releases and updates and retweet attorney tweets
  • Facebook: Similar to Twitter, use for posting firm materials and events
  • Wikipedia: To avoid violating terms of use, refrain from updating firm pages

Using Videos for Internal and External Use

Videos are very effective and give a personal touch to attorney biographies and practice group overviews. It was recommended to hire professionals for their ability to edit and ensure consistency. To save on professional fees, McKeon suggested setting up a professional camera in an unused office so everything remains consistent and maintains a professional look and feel. Internal communication departments are using videos to introduce new attorneys, firm initiatives and service cross-selling.

Developing the Marketing Team

Attorneys are increasingly looking to the marketing department for their knowledge and expertise. In order to best serve the attorneys, Alexis Johnson, business development manager at Latham & Watkins LLP, described a "Skills to Succeed" program where marketing team members are required to take one class every quarter to learn about practice areas across the firm. Team members are also tasked with interviewing attorneys to learn more about their practice, attending attorney courses and other career development opportunities.

Additionally, LMA offers a helpful QuickStart Online Course that covers all 10 core competencies of legal marketing, including what it's like to work at a law firm and legal marketing professional development.

What's Next

When McKeon asked the panel to look into their crystal balls and tell us what the future holds, there was one word that echoed throughout the group: “relationships.” It's a competitive market and client service is critical. Gordon suggested getting out from behind e-mail and calling someone or, even better, meeting face-to-face.

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