photo-1422480415834-d7d30118ea06Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Legal Marketing Association’s Your Honor Awards. These awards are the “longest-running annual international award program recognizing excellence in legal marketing,” and it’s the second time I’ve been able to serve as a judge. I enjoy it not only because of the camaraderie among my fellow judges, but because I get to see some of the smartest work in the industry, and get a sense of how firms and other professional services organizations in the legal industry are meeting the challenges that we face every day.

When we judge the selection of entries, we’re each given a few categories that we’re responsible for scoring, based on a list of criteria, and then we get together for a weekend in early January to review the entries with our fellow category judges, and then as a group. We then award first, second, third, and honorable mention as appropriate – and we have the option to award no prizes at all if we don’t think the entries are worthy, so when an entrant wins a prize, they really deserve it. 

One of the categories that I judged this year was Media Relations, and our first prize winner was Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP, for their Marketplace Lending survey. We LOVED this piece, and there were two main reasons that it stood out from the crowd, apart from its obvious professionalism – so it makes a good Two for Tuesdays showcase! If you’re considering developing a survey and publishing the results, here are two takeaways from Richards Kibbe & Orbe (RKO) to consider as you’re getting started:

Takeaway One: Partner Up

We can all conduct our own research, and even get the assistance of qualified market research partners who understand how to ask the questions and analyze the results, but finding the right partner was key for RKO here. They partnered with the Wharton Fintech Club on this first ever Marketplace Lending Survey, a study of institutional investors and their interests. Partnering with Wharton gave them gravitas for both the survey itself, and the results, adding credibility to the firm’s practice in addition to the reputation that they’ve already built.

It’s similar to a word of mouth reputation, right? We can all say good things about ourselves, but when someone else says them about us, they become somehow more credible. RKO pulled that off with their survey as well – they already had the experience in their practice to conduct the survey and publish the results on their own, but partnering with Wharton’s Fintech Club added more credibility to the survey and its results.

So as you’re considering your own survey as a form of content marketing, media relations, or client development, consider looking for an organization that fits with your goals that you can partner with. It’s an opportunity to expand your network, lend credibility to the process, and extend the reach of your results.

Takeaway Two: Keep it Short

The ultimate results from RKO were four pages long. FOUR PAGES. When I saw that in the submission, I couldn’t believe it. They offered the key findings, a summary, highlights of the analysis, and a look at what’s next. And that was it. Talk about a targeted piece of work.

We’re all busy people, and that [especially] includes your clients and potential clients, and whomever else you’re targeting with your survey results. They don’t want to read pages of results, and they CERTAINLY don’t want to read raw data. They want to know what you found out, what it means for them, and what you think the future holds. And they want to know that quickly. So tell them, as briefly as possible – it’s a value-add, and they’ll remember not only that you provided them with something that they can use, but also were mindful of their time.

What other suggestions do you have for putting together a strong, professional survey to be used as a marketing piece?

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. In this capacity, Ms. Griffiths is responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day operations of the International Lawyers Network (ILN). She develops strategies and implementation plans to achieve the ILN’s goals, and handles recruitment, member retention, and a high level of service to members. She is engaged in the legal industry to stay on top of trends, both in law firms and law firm networks.

In her role as Executive Director, she develops and facilitates relationships among ILN member firm lawyers at 90+ law firms in 67 countries, and seeks opportunities for member firms to build business and relationships, while ensuring member participation in Network events and initiatives. These initiatives include facilitating referrals, the management and execution of the marketing and business development strategy for the Network, which encompasses all communications, push-down efforts, and marketing partnerships, providing support and guidance to the chairs and group leaders for the ILN’s thirteen practice and industry specialty groups, the ILN’s women’s initiative, the ILN’s mentorship program, the management and execution of all ILN conferences, and more.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

During her previous tenure as Director of Global Relationship Management, the ILN has been shortlisted as a Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer for 2016 and 2017, and included as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network since 2011. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry, and was recently included in Clio’s list for “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was recently chosen for as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February of 2009.