My friend, the always brilliant Silvia Coulter, has spotted four big trends in marketing:
Firms are beginning to build out their strategic client account teams. The more structured, the higher the results. Some savvy leaders have hired strategic account team experts from industry and are seeing 25 to 75% growth from their strategic clients. The big hurdle still remains compensation. You get that for which you reward. Firms that make all key clients firm clients, versus giving ownership to any one individual for origination, are seeing the strongest results.
Firms are hiring business development specialists and managers at a fast clip. Raiding other firms for talent seems to be the norm since there is more demand than there is talent in this area. To keep your own talent from leaving, recognize and reward the talent you have and build strong retention strategies around these individuals.
Investment in associate business development remains strong. Associates can provide a direct link to additional business for the firm by keeping their ears open for opportunities. Teaching young lawyers to stay connected and build strong relationships that will feed them ten years down the road is not only necessary but helps build retention into firms’ associate base (often thought of as your profit base as well).
Marketing partners are coming back into vogue. Firms are questioning the ROI on their significant marketing investments whether it’s the growing number of marketing department members or the growing marketing and business development expenditures. The new emphasis on which these partner are focused? Building the bridges between marketing/business development and the partnership.
Silvia L. Coulter is the managing director of CoulterCranston, Inc., a firm focused on strategic account management and business development consulting. This text also appears in the Q1 2007 issue of the LSSO Review.