On average, I have found that it takes about 18 months for a new legal marketing concept to be introduced before the law firm is ready to embrace or implement it.
And I know I have done my job well when a partner brings me his or her “new” idea, ready for implementation, knowing that I have been laying the seeds for months, if not years.
But patience, coupled with a good dose of humility, is not a common attribute for legal marketers.
Most of us are Type-A, go get ’em kinda people. We like the fast pace and craziness that comes with working along side Type-A, go get ’em kinda lawyers.
On average, a senior legal marketing professional lasts a little more than two years in a law firm. I believe a lot of this has to do with bad hiring and the goals not in alignment. However, I don’t think we can discount the “boredom” factor.
As a senior legal marketer, we enter a firm with assigned projects. It takes a couple years to complete those big projects at which point we’re ready for something new and exciting. However, the firm might not be ready for our latest and greatest vision. And this is when patience becomes a virtue, and a necessity, for legal marketers.
When I started my current position, Jillion Weisberg from HubbardOne took me to lunch. As we chatted about kids, politics, the latest products offered by her company, she had a thought provoking idea that has stuck with me, and which I’ll try and paraphrase below:
I’ve been watching you marketing people for a long time, and the problem is that you get to a new job and you have some great projects to implement. Once they are completed, you get bored and you start itching for the next great opportunity.
We talked a bit about the demographics of the current workforce and the opportunities that will become available as the baby boomers start to retire (this was a pre-recession conversation … I don’t think the Baby Boomers will ever retire now) and the benefits of staying put longer.
And, then she added this little bit of truth:
You’re not bored. You’re just good at your job. You know how things work in your firm, and you do them better, faster and smarter than you did before. Why don’t you just sit back and enjoy being successful?
That was a new concept for me. I like being on the go, go, go. However, I’m at a smaller firm and it’s one project at a time here, and sometimes the firm and the attorneys just need to pause and take a break from administrative projects and just practice law.
I’ve been on the job now for 3.5 years. We’ve implemented many new programs and new ideas.
If I had followed the usual path of the senior legal marketer, I would have moved on to greener pastures by now. But I was patient. I worked on smaller projects. I fine tuned others that were already in place. I went on vacation.
Hanging around during the “absorbtion” phase was a difficult adjustment for me, but I was determined to implement my newly adopted philosphy of patience.
I have become willing to SLOWLY introduce new marketing concepts, see them take root, and then sit back and allow the firm to adjust to the resulting “culture” shifts.
And now the excitement begins all over again. An idea that I have been slowly seeding for some time has taken root. I got the call from a partner who has a BRILLIANT idea!
Graphic courtesy of http://thetalesfromthefairydust.blogspot.com/