The question.

PositionASK THE AUTHORITIES - Marketing professionals on service value - Column

"A senior partner commented to one of my staff members that our department adds no value and just does busy work. How can we demonstrate our value without sounding self-serving?"


Carmen Grossman

As recruiters, we know that marketing professionals often feel undervalued. That perception grew during the recent downturn. although marketing provides an important strategic function, marketers have been so busy marketing for their firms, they haven't always had time to market themselves. As a result, there may be partners inside the firm who don't understand how marketing activities contribute to the firm's bottom line.

Marketing professionals must become comfortable with metrics and quantify activities that lead to business. For example, maintain a value chart of activities.

In addition:

* Treat partners like they are your clients.

* With the managing partner's overall vision of the firm's growth, take more of an active role in developing strategy, not just execution.

* Identify partners with whom there is little to no interaction with marketing and create a plan to bring that partner aboard.

Without direct interaction on projects, these partners will be less likely to support the function when the chips are down. Savvy partners who understand the value of marketing and acknowledge the results will have no problem beating down your door and singing your praises.

Carmen Grossman, partner, and Gale Grant (not pictured), director, are a part of the Law Firm Management Group at Major, Lindsey & Africa.


Peter Columbus

Demonstrating value is best done by delivering results against defined goals. At Mayer Brown, we look to deliver on a plan that directly supports the firm's strategic priorities:

* assisting the lawyers in becoming better students of the firm and better students of the firm's clients;

* helping them identify "white space" (i.e., gaps or opportunities for market/client penetration); and

* working with them to develop stretch goals.

Much of this is done through traditional channels, including pitch preparation; client teams and client feedback; market intelligence and other research initiatives; and BD training, to name a few. But where we can and should provide true value is in identifying the "white space"--sharing with partner B the interesting matter you are working on with partner A for cross-selling purposes, using your cumulative knowledge to draft a winning RFP response that the lawyer...

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