I’ll be kicking off my recaps starting a bit later this afternoon, but first, I want to bring you a Two for Tuesdays, courtesy of a couple of great things I heard at LMA14. If you really listen to those in the LMA who are smart, thoughtful, hardworking and constantly challenging and improving themselves, you end up learning a lot and being a better marketer yourself.
One of the best sessions of the conference was the wrap up on Friday afternoon, moderated by conference co-chairs John Byrne & Jose Cunningham, along with LMA president, Tim Corcoran. The moderators invited us to share the takeaways we’d gotten from the conference, and there were two that really stuck out for me – lessons that we can use to make ourselves better at our jobs.
Tip One: "When there’s a gap between exactly what we do, and what we hear from speakers, it’s our job to bridge it."
This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, and has been for several years – you may remember my comments about it here and here.
One of my favorite observations about lawyers is that they "want to be first to be second." We all know that one of the characteristics that makes our attorneys good at what they do is being risk-averse; and this is something that can often make our jobs more than a little bit difficult.
So we are often inclined to only look within the industry for advice and inspiration – and that can be a mistake. In past years, I’ve heard people say things like:
- The GC panel doesn’t apply to me because I don’t deal with clients.
- Why do they have a speaker from Zappos here? We don’t sell shoes.
- And even this year: How does Cinnabon teach me anything about the legal industry?
It’s not the job of the speakers to connect the dots for us (even if some of them do). It’s our job as intelligent and proactive legal marketers to look at the broad lessons that we’re learning and identify how that can be used in our own day to day lives. And there are MANY lessons to be learned.
We’ll all be better marketers if we see what other people are doing and think critically about how we can apply that at our own firms and companies.
If you’re still having trouble connecting the dots, Tim Corcoran has offered to connect them for you.
Tip Two: "Don’t Spray and Pray. Intentionally prioritize activities with the highest return."
I hadn’t heard this saying before, and it made me chuckle – but it’s a good message. You can’t just take every single tactic or idea you hear, throw it at the proverbial wall and pray that something works.
The key is to be strategic.
We as marketers are in the best position to know our own companies and firms – we know the culture, we know the attorneys, we know what will work and what won’t. So along with the previous idea of taking what we hear in other industries and figuring out how to apply it in legal, we have to take what we know in and out of legal, and figure out how it applies within our firms.
For example, say you come back from LMA14 with three great tips from each of the sessions – that’s a lot of tips. You write them all down and they range from events and CRM to social media and branding. You’re excited and you want to try them all.
I can just picture your partners’ faces when you excitedly tell them all of this (because I’ve seen it with my own attorneys). Panic, pure panic. And nothing gets done.
So instead, look critically at what you’ve learned – what’s the first priority? What is a pain point that one of these ideas will alleviate? What something you can start small with, and build on? What’s something that you have the perfect champion for all lined up already? Put notes in your calendar to periodically review what you learned at LMA throughout the year so that you can keep the momentum going, but really look at what is the best fit for your own firm and situation.
When you start in those areas that will have the best success for you and your firm, it will get progressively easier for your attorneys to trust you when it comes to some of the ideas that are a little more questionable (but still valuable!) in their minds.
So on this Two for Tuesdays, be open-minded to where inspiration can come from (hint: it’s anywhere) and be strategic about how you use that inspiration within your own firm and with your attorneys.