Quick Memo Discussion Document

Market/Competitive Intelligence SIG

Quick Memo Discussion Document

March 19, 2013

By Thomas D. Smanik, Chief Marketing Officer
      Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP


In the area of competitive intelligence (CI), I wrestle with the haunting thought that “a little more digging” will reveal a critical piece of information with a huge “wow” factor. However, I rarely, if ever, have the time available for my CI team to investigate additional sources and mine for more data. In fact, as Law Firm Partners increase their business development efforts while juggling the demands of client management and firm administration, I need to provide more effective and efficient CI tools. Within the CI toolbox, the “Quick Memo” (not the LG app) is proving valuable.

The Quick Memo is loosely defined as a brief memo (1-page max) highlighting the key findings or facts that provide the most valuable information to assist our Lead Partner and business development team. If the memo is about a company for whom our firm has never served as outside counsel, the information may focus on the most promising approach to secure the initial meeting with the decision-maker(s). If the memo is about an existing client, the information may cover a newly announced strategic shift or other company news that opens the door for expanded service or cross-selling offerings from our firm. While my typical CI memo covers the above mentioned items, the Quick Memo takes less time and includes fewer details.

My Quick Memos devote 2-3 sentences setting the stage for the CI goal(s). For a new target, I open the memo with a description of the opportunity: Did it emerge following the addition of a Lateral Partner or from the reconnection of a senior executive from a past client? Maybe it surfaced following a discussion from one of our blog postings or a Client Advisory? The focus is on the CI goal, not the detail of the history or timeline of the opportunity. While these other aspects may be interesting and important in another context, the value of the Quick Memo is providing meaningful information that supports accomplishing the CI goal.

The Quick Memo then identifies one or two key findings that link our firm with a business development opportunity at the target client.  I include a quick overview regarding the proof of these links; that’s the level of detail needed. Additional thought comes later as to the specific actions and next steps. At this point, identifying the finding is most important.

Is this the type of CI tool that your firm is using or planning to use? What type of information is targeted in your use of Quick Memos? Are there certain CI sources that you turn to when creating a Quick Memo? Does it seem like something of value to you and your leadership team?

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Quick Memo Concept

March 29, 2013 02:10 PM by Ann Lee Gibson, Ph.D.

Tom, I think your Quick Memo concept (of CI tailored to the client's specific needs) is really great.  It's beautifully simple, but requires the CI pro to know:  1) What does the decision maker already know?  2) What are the decision maker's options?  3) What does the decision maker need to know? 

Thanks Tom

April 24, 2013 03:43 PM by Wayne Allen Fuqua

Great practical article for all of us working through the potential of CI and balancing the other priorities.

Thanks Tom, you always bring real insight into these type of discussions.  Great to hear from you again.

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