The good news and the bad news about being the sole Marketing/BD professional at a small firm is the exact same- you are the one who must effect change. For those with the ambition, patience and fortitude, the return on that hard work could be significant for yourself and your firm.
Without some structure in place, the weight of the responsibility could eclipse the opportunity. So, our colleagues at Totum Partners in London summarized their steps here on how to “make it work” and we’ve added our additional theories below.
Set Expectations Early
Give yourself some time to make an impact. It’s tempting to promise immediate results, especially in the hopes of gaining early credibility, but most worthwhile initiatives are the result of something far less glamorous - thoughtful discussion, planning, and preparation. Set that tone early and often.
Stand Your Ground
In a sea of logical thinkers who have been trained to find fault and manage risk, innovation and progress can get brushed aside for work that is traditional or safe. But more of the same doesn’t create a distinction or a willingness to buy. So do your research, lead with evidence, trust your gut and don’t back down.
Embrace the Discomfort
Developing new ways of communicating with potential and existing clients can unearth a reluctance to change. Doing something differently – whether it’s updating your systems, practices or materials can be uncomfortable… but it’s still worthwhile. So, instead of aiming for firm wide consensus, focus on tangible results.
Establish a Budget
A budget should provide the outline for your marketing strategy. It makes the “yes’s” and the “no’s” easier if you can see how any given initiative does or doesn’t fit into your annual plan. Beyond that, a budget demonstrates an investment- both the firm’s and your own, because in a small firm, you’ll have to make a case for every dollar.
It would be easy to get so busy doing your job that no one knows what your job actually is. Don’t give that chatter a chance to materialize. Consider marketing yourself as a component of your job and make time for speaking, writing, being interviewed, and applying for legal marketing awards and recognitions. Make sure you are proactively reporting on your activity to firm leadership. If you can’t articulate your impact, no one else will do that for you.
In the end, a firm’s marketing success doesn’t need to be tied to their size. Even the smallest of firms can create a successful marketing platform as long as they let their people function at their best and highest use.