The Attorney/Marketer Relationship Is Better Than Ever – Here’s Why

Lawyers and marketing professionals don’t always see eye to eye. Thankfully, this seems to be changing. According to a recent study from the Legal Marketing Association and Bloomberg Law, both marketers and attorneys agree that their relationship has improved over the last two years, characterizing it as “respectful, collaborative, supportive and collegial.”

Why the improvement? Survey respondents said they’ve cultivated credibility and trust, and attorneys are more accepting of and interested in the insights marketers can provide them.

It’s clear that marketers have gained a renewed respect from the lawyers they work with. So, what does that mean for the future of legal marketing and business development? Here are five key takeaways from the survey:

  1. Marketers are specializing. Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief Business Development Officers are being joined by a new colleague: Director of Pricing. Even marketers at firms without a pricing specialist in the C-suite reported spending more time on pricing, as well as competitive intelligence, and practice and process improvement. Traditional marketing activities, such as attorney coaching and public relations haven’t gone by the wayside, but these new specialty areas may represent a shift in the marketing department.
  2. CMOs have more say. Two-thirds of respondents said their firm’s senior marketer participates in the strategic planning process. Almost 20 percent of respondents reported that marketers drive strategic planning at the practice group level. Marketers are increasingly getting a seat at the table, and lawyers are recognizing the value that marketing and business development insight can provide.
  3. Marketers are crossing over into business development. Firms also depend on marketers for business development: 60 percent of marketers surveyed say they engage in business development activities on some level. Senior marketers are also increasingly involved in business development throughout the client lifecycle, starting with client pitch meetings (which 52 percent of respondents said they participate in) and ending with client feedback interviews (which 36 percent are involved in).
  4. Attorneys are letting marketers do what they do best. Compared to two years ago, attorneys are more likely to ask marketing professionals for help with business development, marketing and competitive intelligence tasks. Lawyers said they’re doing less client relationship management and strategic planning, and they’re spending less time responding to RFPs, managing client teams, and applying for rankings and awards. Instead, they’re letting the pros in the marketing department handle these tasks.
  5. Attorneys could still use more help. Although lawyers are leaning on marketers for help, there are still some areas where they’d like more assistance. Respondents cited public relations, competitor intelligence, industry research and branding as the top areas where marketers could provide additional support. Lawyers also reported an increasing need for writing/blogging and event planning, signaling that marketers should be prepared to offer help with these areas.

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