I have suggested many times that law firm marketers should be engaged in the markets they serve -- knowing your market firsthand is the best platform for creating new initiatives. The question I get from many is, "How do I (a marketer) do that?" Here is one idea.
Whenever I open a new market or want to investigate an existing one I hit the street to find out who the "buzz" leaders are. It's a simple process actually. I meet with business development professionals from other service providers and ask one question, "Who are the highest profile dealmakers, executives, referral resources, and service providers in the region?" In other words, who are the people with the most buzz (the people that everyone wants to know). The list usually winds up having about 15-20 names on it.
Armed with my list I figure out who we (our firm) already have a relationship with and the condition of that relationship. Then it becomes a targeting exercise. The goal is to get inside the "buzz circle" by developing relationships with the buzz leaders.
To accomplish this I work out a way to meet them through their philanthropic activities, activities they attend, people they know, etc. Once met I can work on farming them to the lawyer at my firm that will be a "best match".
This is just one tactic for getting engaged in your marketplace.