Friday, February 02, 2007

Observations from the Law Firm Marketing Partners Forum

I attended the Marketing Partner Forum, hosted by the West Legalworks, in San Diego on January 24-25. All-in-all I was quite pleased with the content and the quality of attendees and will definitely make plans to attend next year. That said, here are my top-of-mind observations.
  • Law firm marketers are more and more sophisticated. Not to disparage those who came before (I would consider myself an "old-timer" as well), but as the professional of legal marketing is maturing the variety and eloquence of initiatives is amazing!
  • Corporate counsels want to minimize the number of outside attorneys they use (convergence). They are much more comfortable having service relationships with 10 firms vs. 40, or 100, or whatever the number is.
  • Law firms that deploy client teams are appreciated by clients.
  • Presentations that actually talk about their published topic are much better than sessions with fancy names and little relevant content. I was really looking forward to the session on blogging and podcasting, but with the exception of Larry Bodine's insights, the session digressed into technical demonstrations of Internet software. I do not wish to take away from the exceptional expertise that each panelist brought to the conference... just a comment on that panel, that day.
  • Law firms need to stop spending so much money on fancy collateral and more time on developing unique relationships. GCs at that conference, and at a subsequent seminar I attended stated clearly that brochure register barely a blip on their radar when making legal services choices.
  • Most marketers I spoke to have a healthy attitude about being competitive. For the most part no one had visions of ruling the world (as if that is possible). Instead they were focused on playing their best game to remain a viable force within their respective markets.
One final thing. I was nominated for the Hubbard One Marketing Director of the Year by my firm (I was quite humbled) but in end the award went to another marketer. OK, so he'd made enough quality noise through legal marketing initiatives that Harvard Business School did a case study. It is hard to beat that kind of excellence! Congratulations! I'm thinking about calling Wharton -- maybe they'd be interested in studying the life and times of a Marketing Catalyst....