by Jennifer Johnson Scalzi and Kathryn Whitaker
Legal marketers are change agents. On the heels of closing several client projects and attending industry conferences over the last few weeks, our hunch is confirmed. Though the law firm ship turns slowly, marketing and business development professionals are at the wheel.
The decision-making process in law firms has changed over the last decade. Successful marketing departments are replacing gut instincts and suspicions with metrics and measurements – quickly gaining a strategic advantage as they measure and showcase efficiency and top and bottom line contribution.
Here are 3 ways data initiatives help marketers drive change:
Marketing leaders are using data to improve transparency around the firm’s investments. Ensuring investments are optimized to deliver results applies not only to direct expenses like marketing technology, events, or sponsorships but also to the services the department delivers. With many of our clients, determining the ROI of marketing starts with people. Talent is routinely one of the largest investments a firm makes in marketing and business development; what is each team member spending time on? Recently we have seen clients use time tracking and analysis to justify adding a team member, to defend instituting guidelines around lawyer requests of marketing research projects, and to showcase one practice group taking a disproportionate amount of the proposal team’s time.
Earning the trust of lawyers starts by delivering quality, consistent service and work product. Being responsive, smart, and efficient are table stakes. Once that foundation is obtained, strengthening your individual reputation as well as that of the department requires maximizing your influence. This can be done by leveraging data. When marketing leaders are designing metrics and KPIs, implementing dashboards and scorecards, and aligning the department’s work with firm goals and plans, they are proving value in a language lawyers respect. Armed with data to drive their recommendations and decisions, these professionals earn their seat and voice at the management committee table. Examples of how marketers have used data to maximize their influence include an analysis of time and opportunity lost due to CRM data quality, identifying key website KPIs beyond egocentric analytics such as number of bio views, and automation of email marketing campaigns for lead generation.
Report on Performance
Sustainable law firm growth requires marketing and business development. Marketing leaders are increasingly measuring the direct impact the department has on revenue growth. Beyond volume of proposals and win rates, mature and sophisticated performance reporting includes the specific contribution of marketing to profitability. We see this most evidently in the rise of marketing operations leaders – professionals who cut across existing department and firmwide boundaries to drive performance and build a strong organizational culture. The marketing operations discipline, long-used in the corporate world, applies technical and analytical abilities to the traditional marketing skillset, allowing for critical insights around results and value. Effectively measuring and showcasing the department’s work and its contribution to the firm’s success is imperative.
Data-driven projects and initiatives can drive change in law firms. It’s not easy and thus not for the faint of heart, but those who embrace their role as change agents will be the ones to continue advancing the profession.
Jennifer Johnson Scalzi is the founder and CEO of Calibrate Legal. She possesses two decades of professional services experience, including six years inside of a law firm as head of recruiting, and 14 years in legal marketing executive search and organizational consulting.
Kathryn Whitaker is Director of Recruitment & Strategy Consulting at Calibrate Legal. During the 15 years Kathryn spent in-house at law firms, she worked closely with firm management and practice group leaders to develop and implement marketing and business development plans, while overseeing efforts to facilitate cross-office and cross-practice collaboration for the benefit of firm clients.