Susan Kostal's Legal Marketing Bits & Bites Newsletter
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Susan Kostal

Legal Marketing Bits & Bites

January 2016: Starting Fresh

Start Fresh: Review Your Marketing Strategy 
No matter when your fiscal year starts, January is the perfect time to review your marketing plan and update your strategy. You can accomplish this by conducting a marketing audit of your efforts.
In an ideal world, you would take your team on a half-day offsite. But, if you are the sole marketer or simply don't have the bandwidth and resources, you can still conduct a thoughtful audit that will allow you to start fresh, and harness a renewed energy and sense of mission. This is also the perfect prep for upcoming budget requests. 
Where to Start: Look Beyond ROI
Start with three buckets: what worked, what didn't and what resources you need to course-correct. Everyone harps on ROI, but let's be honest--there's more than one way to measure success.
Look for happy customers, such as a practice group leader who was pleased with the results you generated for her. Send out an internal survey to solicit feedback from the people who know the firm best. Start a "Good Things About Our Marketing Team" folder and stash away all messages of praise. Use these qualitative assessments as the basis for your review. These save time and provide specific feedback and shows your internal clients you care about the job you are doing and the results you are achieving. 
Ditch the Haters: Adjust Expectations
What didn't work? That's probably pretty easy. Some campaigns flop, internally or externally, and in our feedback-driven world you will surely be told about it. Even if a campaign was successful, the "misery index" could mean it's not worth your time and effort.
Talk to your team to gauge the pain and then with the partner in charge of marketing. Know where to cut your losses. Some efforts fail through no fault of your own. Use it as a learning experience and move on to a new strategy. As famed marketer Scott Stratten says, "Don't try to win over the haters; you're not the jackass whisperer." 
Course Correction: Improve Your Strategy 
Be creative. This doesn't necessarily mean new campaigns, but new ways of doing them. Maybe award submissions are taxing your team. Perhaps hiring an intern as dedicated administrative support during award season or, if you have the budget, an outside vendor would free up staff to focus on higher ROI activities. It may even be worth taking budget from a separate line item to accomplish what the firm believes is important, allowing your team to concentrate on what you see as more productive and higher value work. 
Pick one wish-list activity and commit to it. Maybe your web and collateral copy doesn't speak as well as it should to potential clients. Build in time and internal or external resources to create buyer personas and tailor your narrative to them. This requires thoughtful, high-level analysis but it's not particularly complicated. Management will be impressed you've adopted client-driven messaging.
The Bottom Line
Marketing is an iterative process. Sure, you only have one pot of money in a given year to accomplish what you need. But that doesn't mean your annual plan is static. Calendar benchmarks for projects and quarterly review. If you make changes, clearly communicate your rationale up and down the chain. This greatly increases your buy-in rate and decreases your pool of haters. 

Good Luck Planning for the New Year!

Have You Heard?

The Bar Association of San Francisco reported that diversity staffing benefits business development because diverse attorneys provide access to a greater client pool. Minority bar associations also were cited as important sources for networking and business development. Read the full report here. 

Altman Weil's 2015 Chief Legal Officer Survey finds law department leaders taking an increasingly strategic approach to directing legal service delivery internally and in deploying outside counsel to support their in-house team, with the aim of reining in costs. Read the full report here.  

From Dentons to Dewey and how Locke Lord Edwards went after a paper following negative press of partner departures, here are the top 10 BigLaw stories of 2015, from Bloomberg

Can’t find the time or a seat at 2016’s mega trials? Follow these cases on Twitter, including the “World Series of IP,” Oracle v. Google. Lineup courtesy of The Recorder.

And if you happen to be on the losing end of one of those cases, see my post on how to be a closeted control freak as you handle problematic media attention.

Check out my blog for more tips and tricks for your marketing and media queries. 

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