Every year, the team from One North looks forward to the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference, and 2017 didn’t disappoint. During the conference breaks, we posed questions for our fellow marketers and gave them the opportunity to share what’s on their minds this year.
So, instead of summarizing the notably awesome sessions that occurred throughout the conference, we’re going to dive into what attendees were talking about, asking for and interested in based on the responses we collected at our interactive booth.
#1 – Internal Alignment
One of the most common responses, and perhaps the most common hurdles PSO marketers face in general, centered around the desire to better communicate with and earn buy-in from internal stakeholders.
Whether marketers are trying to get a project off the ground, get creative approval or even challenge their attorneys to build out their individual professional brands, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page.
Three quick tips to earn internal buy-in:
- Use data to back up your decisions.
When marketers are armed with significant, relevant statistics to back up their strategies, it becomes much more difficult for others to push back. In a profession where we’re always after ROI, proving your strategies work – whether through studies, third-party research or accessible analytics – can and should push decisions forward more quickly.
- Create a narrative and long-term vision.
When proposing a new project to stakeholders – redesigning your website, for instance – it is essential to explain more than just the “end product.” Use a narrative that embeds your firm’s brand story, as well as its long-term goals, to describe how the “end product” will help achieve those goals. Short-term wins can be the ignition you need to get stakeholders excited, but constructing a vision for the project, including not only what it will be, but also what it could be five years down the road, is what will make your idea stick.
- Limit the number of “cooks in the kitchen.”
It’s true that you won’t always have control over who sees and approves your plans. It’s important to consider who really needs to see a concept, approve an idea or edit copy when working through your plan. If someone isn’t essential in giving their feedback, save yourself some time, and focus on those around you who can help move projects forward.
#2 – Marketing Automation
One of the hottest trends that came out of 2016 (and isn’t going away any time soon) is the concept of marketing automation. It sounds pretty great, right? Set up technology to collect and nurture your leads, and increase overall sales, while you barely lift a finger. Unfortunately, marketing automation isn’t as simple as it sounds.
In fact, there’s a lot that goes into creating a smart marketing automation system, including whether it’s even right for your firm. To help you get started, below is a quick checklist of what you need when considering your marketing automation strategy.
- Build your technology ecosystem.
For marketing automation to work, you’ll need several pieces of technology – your CRM, CMS, analytics and social platforms – to talk to each other. This is how you collect data, assign point values and discover what makes users tick.
- Be prepared with a strategy.
To find success in marketing automation, it’s essential to define a targeted strategy, complete with personas, a content marketing plan and defined goals. Without this, you’ll be turning on tech without a plan, and your new lead machine won’t be optimized to perform at its full potential.
- Find the right partner.
Marketing automation is no walk in the park. Having the right team by your side is necessary to move forward. Because of the technical nature of marketing automation, you’ll need some tech savvy folks and strategic thinkers. Whether you find those people already on your team, within your organization or at an agency, make sure roles and expectations are defined to ensure things run smoothly.
#3 – Thinking Forward
Keeping up with marketing trends is easy. Applying them … not so much. But thinking forward doesn’t necessarily mean attempting every marketing trend out there. It’s important to understand what’s hot; but to apply any trendy marketing tactic, you must consider both the long and short-term gains of doing so.
Here are some high-level tips to keeping up with and applying new marketing trends.
- Study what similar industries are doing.
When deciding which trends to apply and which to ignore, it can be helpful for law firms to look at what similar industries (like consulting, finance or AEC) are doing in their spaces. Most professional services have similarities in their buying cycles and target audiences, so if innovation in one industry works, it could apply successfully to your own.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Oftentimes, innovation is inherently risky. It’s true that trends can push boundaries, but usually they’ve emerged because they work. Be willing to take risks in order to reap the rewards.
- Give yourself room to pivot.
Yes, take risks; but do it intelligently. When it comes to applying a trend, expect the worst but plan for the best. Thinking forward is not only about trying “what’s hot;” it’s about thinking in the long-term. Consider this when trying something new.
This year’s LMA conference covered countless important topics, from building long-term digital strategies to cross-channel selling. Considering how we can apply the lessons we learn at conferences like LMA is important, but sometimes thinking about the knowledge we aim to have can be just as insightful.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to join in the discussion, and please keep us looped into your world by sharing what’s top of mind for you and your team @OneNorth on Twitter.