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Marketing is one of those things that people think they can do on their own. A couple slogans, a sign, and boom -- you're done. But marketing turns out to be harder than it looks. That's why some law firms have dedicated marketing managers -- experienced people who make it their full-time job to advertise the law firm.
It's a good idea to have a marketing manager (and here are some good reasons), but the question for today is, what do you look for in a marketing manager? Here are a few considerations to get you started:
And not just "marketing" experience in general, but experience with law firms, specifically. In addition to knowing the legal restrictions on law firm marketing (like not being able to contact potential clients directly), the experienced law firm marketing manager knows how law firms are different from, say, a plumbing business when it comes to knowing what a potential client is looking for.
2. Narrow Tailoring.
Your marketing manager should be like a bespoke suit or a limitation on a civil right: narrowly tailored. This means that the marketing manager isn't going to come in and recommend a stock, fill-in-the-blanks plan, but will take the time to learn about your law firm and determine what it specifically needs in terms of marketing.
3. Someone Who Will Tell You 'No.'
Marketing is a delicate dance between respecting the client's wishes (in this case, you're the client) and telling the client that Comic Sans isn't cool. Not only should you hire a marketing manager that's willing to tell you your ideas are terrible, but you have to be able to respect that decision. You're an expert in the law, not in advertising; that's why you hired a marketing manager, remember? The parable on hiring "yes men" is "The Emperor's New Clothes." Don't let that be you.
4. Look for Results, Not Jibber-Jabber.
Evidence-based practice is all the rage in medicine -- and it should be all the rage everywhere. Remember where we talked about "narrow tailoring" before? Your marketing manager should recommend those tailored marketing strategies not just because it's what everybody's always done, but because it works. And in the case of things like local mobile marketing, no one's done those things before, so all we have to go on is empirical evidence of efficacy. If it doesn't work, don't do it!
5. Great Networking Skills.
A law firm marketing manager isn't just someone who sits in an office going over proofs of advertisements and editing the attorney bios on the website. Because the law is a service industry, a marketing manager needs to be able to hustle for new clients and make connections with old clients. Someone who's full of ideas, but can't talk to strangers, isn't a very good fit.
If this sounds like a lot of work, guess what? You don't even need a marketing manager; FindLaw's marketing folks can handle everything.