Recently, Greentarget and Zeughauser Group released their annual results for the 2019 State of Digital & Content Marketing Survey. I had the chance to chat with Greentarget President and Founding Partner, John Corey, about the results, which had some actionable findings for lawyers and law firms, as well as a few surprises.

First, the report – Corey notes that they work to take it somewhere new each year, and their six months of hard work are obvious. In addition to the report’s results this year, you also get access to some excellent thought leadership pieces that expand on the ideas revealed by the data. The data itself examines three categories of respondents – general counsel, the C-suite, and law firm CMOs, which gives a full and interesting picture of what your firm clients are looking for at various levels, and whether your firm may be correctly addressing these needs. 
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Robin IoriThe ILN is extremely fortunate to have not only a lot of talented lawyers, but a number of other talented professionals as well. Included in that group are the hardworking marketing professionals at our member firms across the world. This year, I wanted to highlight some of their expertise in a series of guest posts here on Zen. Our first one comes from Director of Marketing with the ILN’s Illinois member, Arnstein & Lehr, Robin Iori. In today’s post, Robin is addressing the topic of business development training for associates, and this is a timely one for many law firms in the market. One of the hottest trends that came out of the submissions from this year’s crop of Your Honor Awards was an increased focus on young lawyers, and that bears out with what I’ve seen and heard in my daily engagement with firms as well. So as Robin says, when it comes to business development training for your associates, it’s never too soon to start.

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Introducing the concept of business development to eager, young associates in a law firm can produce a variety of responses.  One response is the “deer-in-the-headlights” eyes that ask with trepidation, “I have to do this already?”  Then, there’s the furrowed brow look that may be saying, “Did I miss an email about this?” Or, there’s the response that involves nodding the head in agreement during the meeting and sheer panic once the meeting ends.

It’s not as if the topic of business development is new to the legal community today. Law schools still are not giving the subject as much attention as they could, but at least young lawyers know that ultimately they will come face to face with the concept if they join a law firm.
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iStock_000016006182SmallEarly on in my legal career, I learned something about law firms that has stuck with me.

Law firms don’t want to be first. But they want to be first to be second.

Bearing that in mind, the importance of keeping an eye on what your competitors are up to cannot be undervalued. Whenever I speak to a lawyer or legal marketing professional, I get the sense that we’re all doing this on an informal, if not formal, basis fairly regularly. We know who our competitors are and what they’re good at, in much the same way that we know the ins and outs of our own organizations or firms.

This afternoon, I read a great post on “6 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Your Business,” which I highly recommend – there are some concrete suggestions in here for ways you can look critically at what your competitors are up to in the context of your own firm’s activities, and use those to improve your own goals and focus. It got me thinking about some additional ways that firms can be looking at their competitors for answers, and below are four key questions you want to ask yourself about your competitors to drive your own firm. 
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cqatth9oyuw-liz-bridgesThe end of this week marks the beginning of December, and we all know what that means…

Holiday party invitations are coming. 

For introverts like me, holiday parties are probably not high on your list of exciting December “to dos” – it’s not that we don’t love them; it’s just that they’re rather exhausting. Extroverts may see them as a chance to enjoy a bit of relaxation with friends and meet new people. But no matter how you view holiday parties, they are definitely a key opportunity to network.

Whether you’re a networking pro or feel like there’s room for improvement, every networking experience is a chance to hone your skills. Recently, we held our Regional Conference of the Americas, and invited David Ackert, President of The Ackert Advisory, to facilitate a type of speed-dating session that we refer to as our “referral rendezvous.” We matched our lawyers in groups of 3-4 people, and they had 25 minutes to talk and connect with each other – some of them have known each other for many years, while others were meeting each other for the first time.

David’s networking tools offered a road map to maximize the time invested in each conversation. These tips are valuable not just for speed dating purposes, but across all networking opportunities, so I am sharing them with you today as we head into a whirlwind season of relationship-building possibilities. 
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photo-1436397543931-01c4a5162bdbRather than our typical “Two for Tuesdays” post today, I want to share a great piece I came across while browsing Klout (remember when I mentioned how much I’m loving Klout’s “explore” feature?).

Megan Conley wrote a post for HubSpot’s blog on “11 Impressive B2C Campaigns That B2B Marketers Can Learn From.” If you’re a regular Zen reader, you’ll already know why I like this, but Conley does a beautiful job of summing it up:

[O]ur best ideas come when we take a step outside the scope of our work and seek inspiration from unlikely sources.”

Yes.

We’ve said before that it can be tempting to stay within the confines of the legal industry, because we’re just so darn specialized. But as Conley points out:

For B2B marketers, this means that the creative spark you’re looking for might not be found directly within your industry. In fact, there’s actually a lot B2B marketers can learn by observing the approach of B2C companies.”

And lest we forget, just because we’re working at and for and with law firms, we’re still, at the heart of things, B2B marketers –  yes, lawyers, even you are B2B marketers because even though a large part of your day-to-day is consumed with the actual practice of law, there is a not-insignificant portion of it that is involved with informing people about why they should commit to trusting you to be their advocate, be they existing or potential clients. 
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12080125_10153722408697792_7221889797601040086_oLast week, I had the great pleasure of presenting with Laura Toledo of Nilan Johnson Lewis and Adrian Lurssen of JD Supra during the Legal Marketing Association’s Technology Conference. Our panel focused on “Crafting your online story: Demystifying the process behind content marketing.”

It was a great interactive session, with questions from the audience and a back and forth dialogue with my two smart co-panelists. Although we covered a LOT of ground in the session, there was one piece of our presentation that we dropped out for time constraints – it’s still an important one, so I’d like to address it here.

The answer to the question “Who are your best sources?” may seem like an obvious one, but some of the ways in which you’ll go about finding the answers, while simple, are not always so black and white. Your best sources of content are going to be your clients, your readers, and the media. Let’s break these down. 
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While traveling to Chicago today (an adventure in and of itself, due to delayed and cancelled flights and two trips through security – a story for another time), I had the opportunity to read a fascinating in-flight magazine article in American Airlines’ American Way magazine.

The article, titled “The Brand Challenge,” by Kristin Baird Rattini, discusses how private labels in grocery stores are gaining some real traction against national brands. Since I was already contemplating a post that focused on how brands outside of the legal industry can teach us lessons, I was particularly attuned to how the article is relevant to lawyers and legal marketers.

Let’s look at a few of the quotes that struck me, first, starting with the idea behind the article:

It’s called the Publix Brand Challenge, and it’s as close to a callout as you’ll find in the grocery industry. Several times a year, the Publix Super Markets chain in the Southeast pits three to five of its store-brand products against their national-brand equivalents…If customers buy one of the featured national-brand products, they’ll get the Publix store-branded version for free. ‘Buy theirs, get ours free,’ the ad trumpets. ‘We think you’ll prefer Publix.’”


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Last week, the LMA NJ chapter once again piggybacked on to what the NY chapter was doing, and hosted a lunch where we Skyped into a panel presentation focusing on whether law firms should help promote individual attorneys (or just focus on the firm brand as a whole). The panelists included Robert Algeri, the co-founder of Great Jakes, which is listed in his bio as "a marketing communications firm that develops next-generation websites for mid-size and large law firms." 

We also had Andrea Crews, the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Levenfeld Pearlstein, a mid-size midwestern firm, and Jasmine Trillos-Decarie, the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Foley Hoag


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The last session of the day on Tuesday was "The Path to World Class – Exploring the Attributes that Distinguish Top-Tier Legal Marketing & Business Development Teams." After a long day at the conference, this session was going to have to be very interesting to hold our attention – and it was!

The panel was moderated by Joe Calve of Morrison Foerster and featured Geoffrey Goldberg of Lowenstein Sandler, Anne Malloy Tucker of Goodwin Procter, and Barbara Sessions of Winston & Strawn.

The panel was designed to be a nuts and bolts tutorial that we could put into action when we got back to the office.  The panelists suggested that rock climbing by your fingernails is an apt analogy to what marketers do, so we’d need all the help we could get.


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If you love shoes like I do, you’re familiar with Zappos.com, the online shoe and clothing shop. Since it was founded in 1999, it has grown to be the largest online shoe store.  How did they do it? Largely, in thanks to their CEO, Tony Hsieh.  According to their website: 

In 1999, at the age of 24, Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) sold LinkExchange, the company he co-founded, to Microsoft for $265 million.

He then joined us [Zappos] as an advisor and investor, and eventually became CEO, where he helped us grow from almost no sales to over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually, while simultaneously making Fortune magazines annual Best Companies to Work For list. In November 2009, Zappos.com, Inc. was acquired by Amazon.com in a deal valued at $1.2 billion on the day of closing.

 Not too shabby, huh?


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