The Tale of Two Marketing Committees

Committees. Depending on your experience with one, you may think they’re great, or maybe a total waste of time. In a nutshell, some get results, some don’t. Here’s the tale of two types of committees. Both are real examples spanning years.

Marketing Committee #1: Twelve years ago, we met with a sizeable law firm’s marketing committee to assess their situation and make recommendations to position and grow their firm. There were 12 committee members present. During that meeting, one of the members told us, “We’ve been meeting once a month for 10 years and we’ve never done anything.” And he meant it literally. We followed up by doing our research, presenting our findings and making clear recommendations for a path to move forward. We returned to their office twice more to “sell” our recommendations and start our typical partnership. It went nowhere, as the committee was never able to reach a full “yes” vote of 12 (yes, ALL had to agree before anything was done from a marketing standpoint).

Where are they now? The firm has fewer attorneys than it did 12 years ago, and I think I’ve seen the firm name mentioned in business publications twice during that time. There’s virtually no sign of a presence: No stories, no articles, no new hire announcements, no community involvement PR, etc. It’s pretty safe to say they’re not actively marketing their firm or their legal talent.

Marketing Committee #2: Several years ago, we met with a law firm that had been “holding steady” for years, a small, but solid group of attorneys with a solid book of business. They had always wanted “to do marketing,” but hadn’t known what to do. Their committee of two was open to being educated as to what marketing and public relations can and cannot do, they had a budget and they were ready to go. We aligned their firm business goals and expectations with a myriad of marketing/PR action steps, and within a year had made huge progress: A professional firm logo/brand, a full series of sales tools, including brochures and e-brochures, a new website that served as a business development tool, a new office in another state, speaking engagements that generated significant new business, business-to-business outreach with prospective clients, cross-selling newsletters, and on and on. They had always had the legal talent, now they have a brand presence to enlarge their number of clients, matters and profitability. They invested, and continued to invest, and are now reaping the rewards.

If you are part of a marketing committee, ask yourself a few questions. Does it have a clear mission? Does it have the power to implement? Does it seek advice and guidance from marketing and public relations professionals? Does it have a budget? Does your group actually do anything?