Law Firms Maintaining Long Term Marketing Directors: What It Means and Why It Matters

In the past few months, I’ve met many law firm marketing directors who have been with their firms 3, 5, 7 years and more. This underscores the significant evolution of law firm marketing over the past 20-plus years, which is when I entered the field.

Indeed, when I first launched my firm, marketing efforts were much less sophisticated than they are today. It’s safe to say, we’ve come a long, long way, which serves as a testament to the acceptance, integration and success law firm marketing has had on the legal industry.

Prior to the turn of the millennium, marketing directors for law firms were nowhere near as prevalent as they are now. Those that did hold these titles faced a myriad of challenges, as often the firms really didn’t know what to do with a marketing director. In equally as many other cases, partners’ expectations and those of the director were less than aligned.  This, coupled with the advent of the digital world, made for a revolving door scenario at many firms, as marketing directors came and went.

Fortunately, it seems that, for the most part, we may have gotten past that period of uncertainty. Marketing directors are now viewed as essential contributors to a law firm’s future success.  In addition, law firms now recognize that seeing results takes time.  This points to a continuing evolution not only of law firm marketing, but also of how law firms embrace and understand the role that marketing plays in establishing and maintaining a thriving practice.

What does this mean for law firms and lawyers?  Here are 4 main takeaways.

  1. The increasing longevity of law firm marketing directors points to the fact that firms are becoming much more sophisticated about marketing and about how to make it work for them.
  2. At one point, an in-house marketing professional or outside agency might have given a firm a competitive edge. Today, it’s the entry level price of keeping up. For those going it alone, it’s that much harder.
  3. Law firm marketing professionals today – in-house and agencies — are more sophisticated than ever with a keen understanding of what works when marketing their lawyers’ services. This means they can bring your firm more power than ever.
  4. In-house law firm marketing and business development professionals have much more experience working in tandem with outside marketing professionals and vice versa. This combination augments a firm’s resources and reach.

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