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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Legal Marketers Offer Thoughts on Keeping Business Development Strategies in Sync

 

By Michael Bond, Blattel Communications

 

The Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter recently presented “In Sync: Aligning Your Firm’s Business Development Strategies.” The program was moderated by Nathan Pao, Director of Business Development at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and featured speakers: Brian Colucci, Chief Business Development & Marketing Officer at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP; Kathleen Flynn, Chief Marketing Officer at Sedgwick LLP and Maggie Watkins, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer at Best, Best & Krieger LLP.

LMA Speakers

The panel engaged in a candid discussion of business development strategies and provided the audience with a rare look inside some of the Bay Area’s most-respected firms.

Pao started the event off with some opening remarks, including drawing a parallel between a firm’s business development plan and execution and how chief marketers distill down strategy and achieve results from members of their marketing departments.

Pao asked each participant to discuss their firm’s specific marketing structure. Watkins noted that her firm has liaisons for every office – meaning a marketer is assigned to each office, even if one is not physically based at each. Flynn described a similar structure noting that Sedgwick has office representation and specialists in every industry division providing marketing support. Colucci described how his firm, across practice groups and other administrative services, treats marketing as a shared resource, which he noted can be quite challenging.

The conversation touched on many pertinent business development topics, including strategy. Flynn, who was a marketing consultant prior to joining Sedgwick, described her experience of joining the firm that was intent on growing and did so while simultaneously addressing identity and brand. With the help of outside consultants, a comprehensive brand strategy was crafted and reinforced by her department and the firm’s chairman. The message constantly emphasized with respect to this strategy is, “Is this decision supporting the firm?”

Adding to Flynn’s comments, Watkins stressed that understanding the firm culture is critical to shared success. Colucci added that it is important to “articulate firm strategy” and brand identity from top-to-bottom.

The participants all emphasized the need to craft and employ strategic plans both as operational roadmaps and for use as “rules of the road” in reigning in side projects and keeping an organization in sync.

Attendees walked away with a better understanding of four very different firms and their senior-level business development leadership. As Watkins summed up, each marketer – while knowing when and how to say “no” – operates with the can-do mantra of, “We’ll help (our attorneys) find a way to get it done.”

 


Michael Bond is the vice-chair of the Legal Marketing Association – Bay Area Chapter Program Committee and an account executive at Blattel Communications. He can be reached at michael@blattel.com.

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