Blog/Podcast: Become a Better Legal Marketer with These 5 Techniques
Being a legal marketer means constantly proving your value and finding creative ways to expand your firm’s reputation. It’s not an easy job and there’s always room for improvement.
In her role as Marketing Director at Ireland, Stapleton, Pryor & Pascoe, Jessica Jaramillo works with attorneys to develop practical and achievable marketing plans. During her legal marketing career, she’s learned a few tricks of the trade to help the process run smoothly, gain the trust of her lawyers and find career satisfaction. Jessica shared five of her best strategies on the Law Firm Marketing Catalyst podcast.
- Demonstrate your value
Legal marketers, especially at small and mid-sized firms, wear many hats. When roles blur and you have your hand in everything, it can be a challenge to demonstrate the value you bring. According to Jessica, the best way for marketers to prove their worth is to become a trusted resource throughout the firm, not just in your job description. If you can roll your sleeves up and help out on any front, you’ll win over your coworkers easily.
Solo marketers at small firms often work with a varied team of attorneys, accountants and IT people to get projects done. These are your champions: the people who can speak to the quality of your work, your ideas and your integrity. It’s important to keep your promises to them, because that’s a signifier of your work ethic. If you do what you say you’ll do to get the project past the goal line, you’ll earn respect from your champions—and they’re the ones who will tell other people in the firm about your skills.
- Manage expectations by learning to say “no”
Marketers need to have good ideas and be able to execute them. Marketers also need to learn to say “no” when it’s appropriate. It’s impossible to hit it out of the park every time, and you need to prepare attorneys for the occasions when things need to be scrapped or don’t go as planned.
Creating clear expectations also makes it easier to get buy-in when you do have a million-dollar idea. Be comfortable saying, “This isn’t reasonable today, but if we can pivot over here, what we can accomplish tomorrow is going to be ten times better.” Remind your team that “no” doesn’t mean no forever; it just means taking a step back and looking at things from a different perspective.
- Promote yourself, too
Being a legal marketer sometimes means marketing yourself However, when attorneys are busy and focused on their own work, it can feel like you have to brag or beat your chest to get attention. Although it’s okay to be a braggadocio sometimes, there are other, subtler ways to promote yourself within the firm.
One way to tout your success is to tout the success of others. Acknowledging your coworkers’ hard work and celebrating their accomplishments is a powerful way to create a culture of teamwork. Plus, by pointing out the achievements of someone you worked with, you’re also acknowledging that you were part of the success, without taking all of the credit.
- Choose the right firm
Not all job opportunities are created equal. Before accepting a legal marketing position, it’s critical that you identify the firm’s culture, which can be even more important than day-to-day responsibilities. Particularly at a small or mid-sized firm, culture is the defining factor that will determine your ability to succeed.
When determining a firm’s culture, look at how the attorneys work and structure practice groups. Are attorneys working in a traditional practice group structure where they share a common focus, or do they have clients in different industries and geographical areas? The former means you’ll be working with a larger group of people toward a universal goal; the latter means you’ll be working with attorneys on a more individualized basis. Other important aspects of culture include social responsibility, community involvement and work hours—for example, is everyone out the door at 5:00 p.m., or do people work until 9:00 p.m. every night? These characteristics will either help you thrive or have you looking for another job.
- Implement a good tracking tool
It’s a common misconception that you can’t measure marketing. Although there are some things that can’t be measured directly, oftentimes there is some way to track progress and success, as long as you have the right tools.
For example, Jessica implemented a successful Client Relationship Management (CRM) program at her firm that has helped attorneys refine their marketing strategies and save time. Although the firm was tracking referral sources, the data wasn’t very useful, and Jessica wanted a better way of tracking how new and regenerated work was coming to the firm. She worked with the company that created the firm’s accounting software to develop a module that tracks engagement with referral sources, and then ties it back to hours billed and revenue earned and collected. Now, Jessica can segment the data to make it easier for attorneys to prioritize their time and business development efforts.