Marketing Organization Assessment and Design
Enhancing the Value of the Law Firm Marketing Organization
Zeughauser Group's Marketing Organization Assessment and Design team works closely with clients to ensure that the objectives and priorities of their marketing departments are aligned with their firms' strategic business goals, and that marketing departments are structured to maximize their contribution to firm growth and profitability.
With competition among law firms intensifying, law firms have been devoting additional resources to marketing and business development for the better part of the last decade. As law firms have come to recognize the vital contribution that a dynamic marketing function can make to firm growth, legal marketers are playing progressively important roles in key areas, including strategic planning, domestic and overseas expansion, competitor research and analysis, developing measurable business-development programs, and orchestrating client teams and client service programs.
However, with increased resources comes greater scrutiny. Thus, managing partners, CMOs, and other firm leaders now are focused on optimizing their department structures, on enhancing the skills of all departmental personnel, and on ensuring that all of the Department's communications, marketing, and business-development activities are based on a foundation of best practices.
The members of our Marketing Organization Assessment and Design team have unparalleled experience as marketing and business executives in leading law firms and corporations. We have built, led, and managed successful marketing teams and understand how to organize the marketing function for success.
We also are able to draw upon recurring research that illustrates how successful law firm marketing organizations are structured, managed, and rewarded. Our surveys of Am Law 200 firms yield valuable information about marketing practices and capture marketing department benchmarking information related to size, structure, responsibilities, and salaries.
During our bi-annual Chief Marketing Officer Roundtables, comprised of marketing experts from dozens of the world's leading law firms, we discuss best practices, useful resources, and management tools. And the lasting relationships that we have built in the course of our consulting work are a continuing source of important insights into industry needs and solutions.
Because no two firms' strategies and cultures are identical, we draw on our knowledge of best practices to design marketing organizations that are specific and responsive to each client's needs. As a result, we address a broad array of issues in our engagements, both strategic and tactical. Some firms, for example, have built strong marketing communications functions and want to develop an equally strong business-development capacity; others are concerned about the toll that continual marketing staff turnover is having on their marketing programs; all want to design a marketing organization that can respond quickly to changing market conditions. Whatever the circumstances, we focus on aligning the marketing function with firm priorities and on strengthening its operations and contributions.
Because we recognize the importance to law firms of attracting and maintaining talented marketers, communicators, and business-development professionals, we examine every aspect of the marketing department's operations, from recruiting to professional development to the evaluation of team members. Among the many benefits of a successful marketing department are staff satisfaction and tenure. If marketing teams have clearly defined priorities, responsibilities, and expectations—as well as the tools they need to succeed—team members grow more rapidly in skill and confidence and, in turn, earn the confidence of and work more effectively with firm leaders. In addition, firms that have made marketing a priority find it easier to attract and retain top marketing talent. Whether our engagements are initiated by CMOs, by Chairs or Managing Partners, or by a law firm's Executive Committee, typically the end result of the process is that firm marketers are motivated to improve their department's performance and value to the firm.
Successful marketing departments have goals and responsibilities that are strongly aligned with a firm's vision for its future; so to design an organization that supports firm priorities, we begin our work by studying the firm's vision and goals. Zeughauser Group's assessment of a firm's marketing organization typically includes the following steps:
Interviewing firm leaders, marketers, and internal clients. We start by interviewing firm leaders, a sampling of other lawyers (generally, practice and office leaders, active business developers, young partners, and senior associates), and marketing staff. Our mission is to learn about the firm's goals, its clients, its competition, and representative business-development practices. This process helps us understand the firm's needs and expectations of marketing and business-development strategy, and of tactical support. We also seek to learn which aspects of the marketing organization work well, which could be improved, and how well marketing is integrated with the rest of the firm. Our objective is to ensure that our assessments address all relevant issues, including any of special sensitivity to the firm.
Creating a working group. We ask the firm to designate a working group with which we will interact throughout the project. This group may be one or two people or include additional members from key practice groups and functional areas.
Reviewing relevant firm planning and performance data. We review the firm's strategic plan, client list, financials, existing print and electronic marketing materials, and any other information relevant to the project.
Conducting competitor analysis. We conduct an analysis of principal competitors in the firm's key geographic and practice markets. We review their marketing practices, as well as how they are positioned and perceived in the marketplace.
Assessing the current team. We assess the firm's marketing program and team, including:
- the skills and competencies of individual team members; and
- If necessary, we propose a new organization chart and draft position descriptions for marketing team members that clarify their department roles and specific responsibilities.
Recommend enhancements aligned with best practices. When our research and analysis is completed, we issue a report that provides practical and achievable recommendations that the CMO and other firm leaders can embrace and pursue, and we present our findings to a group determined by firm leadership. The report provides:
- Throughout the process, we provide interim reports to the working group and to firm leadership, as desired.
- the effectiveness of the major functional areas (e.g., marketing communications and other branding initiatives, media relations, business- development planning and execution, and pitch and proposal response).
- benchmarks of the firm's marketing program in relation to the competition and to best practices in the industry;
- an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the marketing team;
- recommendations for improving the structure of the marketing department and program, including new positions or the realignment of existing positions; and
- recommendations for improving individual aspects of the program in line with marketing and business-development best practices.
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