Young marketers are hungry to make a difference--and plenty of firms are feeding their ambition.

Author:Calve, Joe
Position:FLIGHT OF THE CHIEF MARKETING COORDINATOR - Cover story
 
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When I first got involved with Strategies, an article came in over the transom. It was by a coordinator for the IP and real estate practices at Pillsbury named Andrew Stief. The title of the piece caught my eye. It was: "Deep Impact: Rise of the Chief Marketing Coordinator." Here's a taste of what Andy had to say:

"What is a chief marketing coordinator? A CMC is a CMO trapped in a newbie's body. We may just be starting our careers as legal marketers, but our energy and our ideas are much bigger than our station ... Over the weeks, months and years ahead, we are going to face a lot of brick walls, some of which will loom outside the realm of our expected responsibilities. We must make the extra effort to topple them and grow beyond the scope of our job description."

When I first read Andy's piece, I thought, "Wow, what a cheeky little SOB." But I found myself telling the story to various audiences inside and outside LMA. It never failed to resonate.

Soon, I got a chance to meet Andy. As it turned out, Pillsbury's office in Northern Virginia is less than a stone's throw from MoFo's. That was kismet enough for me. About 18 months ago, we hired Andy. Now, he's a manager--and a damn fine one. Indeed, his work recently was honored by the Capital Chapter of LMA at its Your Honor Awards ceremony, where Andy took home the "Big Idea" prize for his role in the development of a non-profit called Alpha Tech. Way to go, Andy!

Coordinators, assistants and other junior marketers are the backbone of our profession. Indeed, without our CMCs, some of us CMOs might actually have to do some real work. So with this issue, and with a nod to Andy, who helped frame the questions, and my own right (and left) hand, Caitlin Baker, who helped pull this together, we took the opportunity to chat up a small posse of CMCs and see what's on their minds these days. We hope you enjoy it.

MEET THE COORDINATORS

Ali Clark, a business development coordinator with Baker Donelson, is based in Nashville.

Maggie Coughlan, a marketing coordinator at Dechert LLP, is based in New York City.

Lauren Jacobs, client practice development coordinator with Sutherland Asbill, is based in Washington, D.C.

Matthew Loomis, business development coordinator at Anderson Kill, is based in New York City.

Beth Nieman, business development coordinator at Smith Gambrel and Russell, is based in Atlanta.

Michelle Rocha, senior business development coordinator with Kobre & Kim, is based in New York City.

Justin Turetsky, a coordinator with Paul Weiss, is based in New York City.

How do you deliver above and beyond results at your firm?

Matthew: Lawyers are notoriously slow to adapt, and they shy away from technology that they don't understand. I've been able to educate them and introduce them to this new technology, particularly social media, which can add a lot of value to the firm. All of our attorneys have optimized profiles and they contact me fairly regularly with questions. I try to make them feel comfortable and not be so risk averse.

Lauren: I try to anticipate the attorneys' needs, and a lot of that just comes with experience. I always try to figure out, if they ask me to do something, what's the next thing that they might ask me to do so I can just do it all at once.

Justin: The best way to deliver above and beyond is to take ownership of an entire project and not just wait around for assignments to come your way, because then you'll just get more administrative work. Look for projects that have interesting elements and take on as much as you can to alleviate the workload of your supervisor or manager or the CMO.

Ali: I prep much more than necessary for calls and meetings. I also make an effort to anticipate my boss or attorneys' needs and questions before they have to ask. That makes everyone's lives easier.

Beth: Asking the right questions is important. If you can get a grasp of what you need to do at the beginning, everybody's time is used better. Also, following up always shows that you're thinking creatively and checking in to make sure the extra steps have been taken.

Are there specific projects or initiatives you've worked on that you would consider outside the normal realm of responsibilities for someone at your level?

Lauren: I've been fortunate to be able to manage some of our practice group sub-teams from early on. To manage your own team at a more junior level is not something that necessarily happens in every firm.

Justin: I've been working with our graphics team on expanding the multimedia we use to market ourselves. As someone who is younger than a lot of the management, we have exposure to what's out there and what the trends are, and some managers are open to hearing what younger people have to say about how people communicate today.

Ali: I work on our key client program, which is a wonderful opportunity because it Includes our top clients and most senior attorneys. I'm accountable for keeping many of the moving parts on track, which is a lot of responsibility, but it's responsibility I'm happy and lucky to have.

Maggie: I'm working on a large global initiative that my manager started from scratch--a proactive project that she involved me in from the beginning. It involves cross-selling across our international offices and across practice groups, strategically thinking about our top clients and identifying key opportunities for our lawyers. It's helped me to think differently about my everyday tasks as a coordinator.

Beth: I've been working with my manager on strategies to raise the profile of our IP practice and get them out there more in the media. One of the main things I'm helping with is planning webinars for the next year, which is exciting.

Michelle: Our firm is considered a boutique firm, and I've been fortunate to have face time with the founders. I've gained exposure to their vision and plans for where the firm is going...

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