Magazine article Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing

Creating the Perfect Marketing Department-To Build or to Buy?

Magazine article Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing

Creating the Perfect Marketing Department-To Build or to Buy?

Article excerpt

She Said:

We've all heard it ... "Build it and they will come." That is certainly true of legal marketing departments. Once a firm decides to invest in a marketing professional to build, create and organize a marketing program the attorneys come. Some may have graphic design-related requests, "I really want my own Web site or blog." Others want to learn how to better capture client data and translate it into a growth opportunity. All of them want attention now!

I've been blessed to always work with smaller firms -100-125 attorneys. At this level there is a lot of attention to strategy and detail; otherwise non-marketing firm expenses tend to "leak" into the marketing budget, such as bar dues or firm recruiting items. There is a balancing act between building versus buying the best marketing team. With that said, I've had a lot of success in buying professional services support. By "buying," I mean that I outsource for specific talent that will give me the best result on a project that I otherwise could not handle in-house. I also take advantage of a student co-op program coordinated through a local university. This short-term hire is considered a "buy" item because they are typically a marketing or business student who works for experience and provides short-term value.

Although this approach certainly works, I can't help but speculate that control and employee commitment makes the other side easier. I know better than to think the grass is greener.

--Jennifer Smuts

215/564-8399, jsmuts@woodcock.com

He Said:

At a large firm, you need to both build and buy. My philosophy is to build for the most part and buy to handle specific, significant projects that require top-of-market talent. You cannot have your staff just serving as a conduit between lawyers and consultants for day-to-day stuff. …

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