I just watched the short (< 2 minutes) video from the National Director of Brand, Creative & Content Marketing for Deloitte Digital talking about the future of the CMO (that’s the Chief Marketing Officer if you’re wondering). He summed up the current role of the CMO as:

“Mad Men collaborating with the Math Men.”

Perfectly sums up what I do for a living right there.

I am excited to be a CMO/Director of Marketing/First Chair Marketer in a law firm in 2016. The industry continues to change and evolve. I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and in the beginning, we were about newsletters, collateral, events, and this funky thing called a website.

Today we’re collaborating with IT, finance, library and other departments on marketing data hubs, pricing and performance, CI have found their ways under our umbrella and into the board room.

We’re forward thinkers, business thinkers, change-agent thinkers.

We’re leaders. We’re collaborators. We’re colleagues.

When I look to the future of legal marketing, I don’t look to Latham, but to our colleagues in other professional services organizations. CMO.Deloitte is in my “First Read” folder for a good reason.

To me, one of the greatest attributes I can have is to be a collector of information. I go out, seek new and exciting information, return to my firm, reinterpret for my industry, and implement as best I can.

It’s not always pretty, and it is never quick, but I can also say, it is never boring.

My goal for 2016 is to get myself nominated to attend the CMO.Deloitte 2nd annual Next Generation CMO Academy.

In the most recent episode of Mad Men we meet up again with our protagonist Don Draper, going through the motions of showing up to work. On time. Saying the proper hellos, then walking into his office and shutting the door.

Don has lost the trust of his partners. He has no work. He is bored. He sits in his office  and waits. For something. Something to happen. Waiting for the phone to ring.

When the call comes, from Peggy Olson, his former underling — not a mentee — he is insulted. He is being asked to do a job several rungs down the ladder.

But Don has yet to rehab his reputation. He is still on the outs with his partners who are unwilling to fire him. So he just sits in his office collecting a very large check.

Don, being Don, scoffs and gets rip roaring drunk. He causes chaos.

The work he wants, he cannot get. He has not earned back the right. He can see the future, it’s computers, but he cannot touch it.

Freddy Rumsen, his sober friend and ghost copy-writer, who has yet to repair all the damage he caused in his drunken days, tells Don to “just do your job.” Continue Reading Mad Men, Lawyers and the Drudgery of Business Development

mad-men-season-7-poster-featuredA new season of Mad Men is in full swing, and once again, I continue to find themes that translate from a 1960s fictional advertising agency to a new millennium legal industry (for more posts, click here). Our protagonist Don Draper was a bad boy last season. Getting drunk at the wrong time. Sleeping with the wrong wife (the neighbor’s). Telling his truth at the wrong time. He sacrificed his employees trust, and his partners faith, for his own selfish and self-centered reasons. Oh, sure, at the time Don surely thought he was right and justified to tell the truth. But he didn’t pause. He didn’t temper it against, “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” Don was wrong because his truth, at that moment, wasn’t necessary. It was selfish and self-centered. Oh, Don. How I relate to you. You see, dear readers, I have a secret of my own. I too can be consumed by my ego, as well as my self-centered and selfish impulses. I can say things out of turn that hurt others, including myself, all under the guise of “truth.” But when I pause, reflect, find that moment of self-awareness … when I find my true truth, I have to not only apologize for my actions, but I have to mend my ways. And how Don did that last night was masterful.

  • He opened up and humbled himself to his daughter and wife.
  • He accepted the consequences of his actions.
  • He humbled himself in the office where he was once the named partner.
  • He accepted his penance with a simple, “Okay.”
  • He did not argue.
  • He did not justify.
  • He did not beg.
  • He left his ego at the door.

As a leader, Don now has to rebuild the trust of his partners, his team, his friends, and his family. Each will take a different path. But if he stays the course, Don will hopefully rebuild trust where it can be. He can, without ego, let go where he cannot. And he can move forward, a changed man, either way.

question markFor quite a while now I keep telling attorneys in my firm that we need a Pete. For those of you who do not watch Mad Men, Pete Campbell is the head of accounts and a partner at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. His job is to go out, find the business, wine and dine (and throw in a whore house or two) the clients. He is not an ad man. He’s a BD (business development) guy. Client services professional. And his role to the firm is key in their success:

  1. He finds the client.
  2. He is a bridge between the client and the creative team.
  3. He keeps the client happy and coming back for more.

Once Pete interests a client in the firm, he then introduces them to Don Draper, one of the agency’s partners and senior creative directors. Don then starts to get the potential client interested in the pizazz of what an advertising campaign run by him would look like. Once they get the green light to prepare a formal pitch, Don then brings his team together. Peggy, the head copy writer, and on her way to becoming a partner, along with the media buyers, art directors, and junior copywriters. They then work together to pull the pitch together and present to the client.

We need a Pete
Advertising Agency – New Business Flow Chart

Nothing about this flow chart is unique. Accounting and other professional services businesses are run this way. They all have a Pete.

Law firms? For the most part, we don’t have a Pete. And our flow charts for new business doesn’t look like their process at all. Continue Reading Mad Men and Law Firms: We Need a Pete

I know, Mad Men is almost over and I have yet to write a blog post about how there are lessons we in the legal industry can learn from the folks at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. I’ve started to blog, really I have, but the posts seemed forced to me. Sure, I could write about the transition of a rainmaker into an elder statesman of the firm, and the resentments that go along with it. Or how the partners keep replacing their wives with younger, and yet-to-be destroyed emotionally, wives. Only to turn them into a younger, and just as bitter, version of the first wife. Or how they are drove the lone female out of the firm because she feels under-appreciated. But the posts were so, well, depressing, and I hate depressing. But last week’s episode was the Mad Men I love so passionately. Yes, there was the side stories concerning Lane and Sally (no spoilers from me), but it was Don finding his passion about the clients he wants that got to me:

I don’t like what we’re doing,” Don tells Roger over drinks. “I’m tired of this piddly shit. “I don’t want Jaguar. I want Chevy. “I don’t want Mohawk. I want American. “I don’t want Dunlap. I want Firestone.

The conversation between Don and Roger, according to Jon Hamm, is about Don “trying to say that we’re (Sterling Cooper Draper and the other guy) better than this. We can do better than this.”

You realize when you’re surrounded by young people that you’re getting older and what’s your legacy going to be? Are you just going to play out the string, or are you going to continue to achive, and continue to strive, and try to move forward.

Don comes out on the side of going big. He’s obsessed with more. Hopefully you’ve seen the full episode, or have it cued up on your DVR. If not, here’s a snippet. Key parts, per this blog, are 3:17 – 4:35. [brightcove vid=1669854802001&exp3=83327935001&surl=,AAAAAAuyCbQ~,-gfAmfm8njJ8S-9E4q2UfzG931rvkxuP&lbu=] When Don gets the big meeting with Dow Chemical for Monday morning, what does he do? Well, he doesn’t go out to celebrate. He goes home and studies. He studies the prospect. He studies their business. Their industry. And, most importantly, the competition to Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. Don doesn’t walk into the meeting hoping to wing it. He’s prepared. But not overly prepared. He’s passionate. But not in a weird and creepy way. And he leaves them wanting more. I wanted more. And isn’t that true for all of us. Or should I say, “Shouldn’t this be true for all of us?” Why be satisfied with being satisfied? Why call it in when we can be passionate about our work, our clients, and what we do? In today’s economy, there’s no coasting into retirement. It won’t work for Don Draper, and it won’t work for anyone working in legal today. Go BIG!

It happens. The rumor. The gossip. The office buzz. The phones start ringing. The emails start pinging. All hell breaks loose. SOMETHING is happening in your office. But no one is too sure yet what it is. But the BUZZ will take off and the less information people have, the worse the damage they can cause. Just ask the boys at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. The fallout from Lucky Strike’s parent company consolidating all of their lines of business with BBDO continued this week. Word is out on the street and the boys at SCD and the other guy are the last to know. Fast forward 45 years and nothing much has changed when it comes to office gossip, except now, with the Internet, well, rumors fly faster and keeping a lock on information is next to impossible. The entertainment world has TMZ and Perez Hilton … while we, in the legal industry, have Above the Law. I have said it here that you MUST stay in front of your message. You MUST maintain transparency. A recent law firm merger discussion highlights the necessity. An announced rumor last week involved a possible merger between legal powerhouses AmLaw 100 firms Orrick (#25) and Akin Gump (#31). To their credit, a confirmation of the discussions was made. However, the panic had already set in for some of my friends at the firms, and I can only imagine what was going on inside the hallowed hallways. What would a merger mean?? We all know many practice groups and partners do not survive mergers due to client conflicts. What about the redundancies (how many marketing directors does a firm need?)? What about Orrick’s model of on-shoring back office services to their Wheeling, WV campus?? What does that mean to the Akin Gump staff???? Well, I got an email early this morning from an insider that the merger talks are off, to a huge sigh of relief. I even sent it out via my Twitter. I then read about it in the blogs an hour later. I don’t think Orrick and Akin Gump could have moved faster on the news than they did. They are staying out in front of the story. The blogs have been kind. They are, however, forgetting about Twitter. One piece of advice: Twitter is going to get the message, and, perhaps, misinformation, out faster than any blog or press release. I just checked and Orrick’s last Twitter message is from October 1 and it is in regards to a design magazine; Akin Gump did post today, unfortunately, there is nothing about the merger discussions. Nonetheless, the conversations are taking place on Twitter (see search results for Orrick and Akin Gump), but they are being lead by people outside the firm, who might not have the firm’s best interests in mind. And that can lead to PR trouble and a weakening of your message. So let us all learn from this today. Whatever is going on inside your firms is only an e-mail tip away from headlining a blog post. We are only a Tweet away from all hell breaking loose. There is no longer such a thing as embargoing information. No more keeping “need to know” information locked down within a conference room or an executive committee. If it’s going on inside your firm, and is salacious in any sense of the word, it will hit the blogosphere, Twitter and, eventually, the main stream press. So here’s what I suggest:

  • You MUST get in front of the story and STAY in front of the story.
  • You have to simultaneously post that press release, e-mail staff, Tweet out the link, and send it to the press and influential bloggers.
  • And then you must monitor the conversations, respond and redirect when necessary.

Phew. That’s a lot of work. But, getting drunk in your hotel room, hoping it all goes away, won’t help. Just ask Roger Sterling.

It was a bad night for the Mad Men at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and the other guy. The firm’s number one client, Lucky Strike, accounts for 80% or so of the firm’s business. This is a precarious place for a firm, or a lawyer, to be. One client controlling this much of your business places your business in jeopardy every day. Roger Sterling found that out at dinner last night. Lucky Strike’s board of directors decided to consolidate all of their business, and of all their lines of business, into one firm … and it wasn’t going to be the boys of Sterling Cooper. Roger is later seen hitting the Rolodex (remember those, kids???) trying to drum up some business. It’s a little too little too late. After chit-chatting with the wife for a few moments, he finds out his client has DIED. UGH. This KILLS me every day. Not the client dying, but waiting until it’s too late. Marketing and business development isn’t about today. It’s about tomorrow. It’s about the pipeline. It’s about the future. You never know when that special, super-duper client the firm has had for 35 years, that has been handed down from senior partner to junior partner, decides that another firm is better suited for their work. To quote the Lucky Strike client, “I don’t owe you anything.” And that’s the truth. A client relationship is about today. Client development is about tomorrow. If you ignore either, you risk failure.

As I mentioned in Mad Men, Lawyers and … How Big is Your Sandbox, Episode 5 was so rich with content, I was going to have to write two separate posts. Part deux focuses on Don Draper’s interactions with Ted Shaw … the competition. I’m going to focus on the importance of competitive intelligence/research and the RFP process. Ted is a partner at a competitive firm and he’s picking up the clients that Sterling Cooper Draper and the other guy either dropped (Clearasil) or lost (Jai-alai). They’re that firm that just gets under your skin because you KNOW you’re better than they are. They’re not even in your league.  You know your work product is superior. Come on, you’re innovative, competitively priced, and you know how to entertain a client. And you know who your competition is. Your competition is in front of you. They take up 10 floors of premium space in a Class-A building in a major metropolitan city. They’re not this firm. Or are they? My question to you is: Do you know who your competition is? I’m not talking about who you want your competition to be. Most firms will name an AmLaw 100, or the top firm in town as their competition. Your competition, in reality, are the firms and lawyers doing the work that you want, for the clients that are in your sweet spot. They’re the firms and lawyers who won the beauty contest for which you spent hours preparing. So here’s where competitive intelligence and research comes in (in its simplest practice). Research the work that you want, but you don’t yet have. Who is doing it? Both Westlaw and LexisNexis have products that enable you to easily find this out (at a reasonable price if you are a current subscriber). When I search a specific type of litigation, in a certain industry, in a defined geographic vicinity or court system, I can CLEARLY see who is getting the work, and who is not. I can click on the company and know who they’re handing the premium work, and who is picking up the scraps. I know the attorneys and players involved, and I know what work they’re taking on, and what work we don’t want. And just like Don most likely sees Grey Advertising as his competition … most lawyers will name that firm in the ivory tower, when, in reality, it’s the Ted Shaw’s of the world. Let the research SHOW you the truth, and lead you to the business. Early in the episode Ted tells the New York Times reporter:

Every time Don Draper looks in his rear-view mirror he sees me.”

Who's in YOUR rear-view mirror??
Don’s “on the record” response is “never heard of him.” While Ted has declared himself to be the competition, and therefore Don’s equal, Don just thinks he’s a fly to be swatted away. Ignored. In many cases this is true, but sometimes the objects in that rear-view mirror are too big to be ignored. Word of advice:

Just because you think someone is your competition does not make it so.

When Don hears that Ted & Co. are going after the Honda Motorcycle account he’s determined to sabotage Ted’s firm. How does he do this?? By getting Ted to not follow the RFPs instructions. Which brings me to this: When responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP, RFI, RFQ, etc):

  1. Follow the rules (instructions). ALWAYS.
  2. Answer the questions asked, in the order asked.
  3. Don’t answer questions that they don’t ask.
    • If you have to add something outside the rules, put it in the cover letter.
  4. Don’t give them a product they didn’t ask for (i.e., if they ask for a story board, don’t give them a finished commercial).
  5. Understand the culture of the client you are pitching.
    • Read the firm’s website, press releases, Google search the company and everyone attending the meeting (if you make the beauty contest), read the 10K, etc.
  6. Learn who the competition is. How do you do this? ASK the client who else has been invited to participate.
  7. Determine up front if this a REAL pitch, or is it an EXERCISE and the fix is in?
    • RED FLAG: If the current firm is invited to participate in the pitch process, do more research. Why?? Is it a requirement of the corporation bylaws or because it’s a public agency? If so, the fix is in and you need to determine do you submit anyway because you have to (politically), or do you simply pass on the opportunity.

For Don and the team, they knew they weren’t going to get the business, thanks to Roger, but they were determined that Ted & Co. not get it either. By forcing Ted & Co. to break the RFP rules, they ensured their competition’s loss. In the end … it turns out Honda was never going to leave Grey. Ted spent so much money preparing a finished commercial that he most likely killed his firm. And Don, well, Don got to create a moment that will make for a great story over drinks. Oh, and one final piece of advice. It’s actually my #1 RFP rule: FORWARD IT TO THE MARKETING DEPARTMENT ASAP. Don’t leave it sitting on your desk until the week it is due. Photo via AMC’s Mad Men

One of the BEST episodes of Mad Men last night. We’ll just leave the Sally Draper stuff for around the water cooler, and talk about the INCREDIBLE interactions between Roger Sterling and, well, everyone else. Because of the great stuff last night I’m going to break it up into two posts, so stay tuned for Episode 5, Part 2: Mad Men, Lawyers and … Who’s That in Your Rear View Mirror? In last night’s episode, Roger was either a xenophobe suffering from post-traumatic stress from his WWII days spent in the South Pacific, or he’s a calculating, greedy SOB. Peter Campbell thinks it’s the latter. Throughout the episode, Roger is deliberately sabotaging the firm’s efforts to bring Honda Motorcycles in as a new client. A potential $3 million account (in 1965 dollars), Honda will break the lopsided importance of the firm’s #1 client, Lucky Strike. Several times this season we have heard financial partner Lane Pryce voice his concern that

Don and Bert look aghast at Roger
Lucky Strike is more than 90% of the firm’s billables. This is NOT acceptable, and Peter’s job is to alter the balance. When Roger walks into the client meeting, insulting the firm’s guests, the boys of Sterling Cooper Draper and the other guy confront Roger. He cannot decide who the firm retains as a client. The war is over. But Peter hits the target head-on:

You are wrapping yourself in the flag to keep me from bringing in an account because you know that every chip I make we become less dependent on Lucky Strike, and therefore less dependent on you.

(video beginning at 1:48):

The big question is, is Roger a racist? Or is he simply territorial? Protecting his turf? His power-base within the firm? How often does this happen within your firm? Not the racism, but a partner who “hordes” clients? A partner refusing to allow cross-selling to “his” client? How many firms out there are “out of balance” with a single client accounting for 50% of an office, or 90% of a partners billables? When we give too much power to a single partner, the balance of the business can become unstable. The partner will constantly threaten to leave the firm either directly, or not too subtly, if his demands are not met. When the client’s billables are out of balance, than there is constant fear of the client leaving for another firm. Or, attorneys working on the files become too busy (or too lazy) to bring in new clients. Either way, the toys in the sandbox need to be shared. In fact, the sandbox itself needs to be shared. By identifying the importance of balance, the firm, and the partners, will be better situated to:

  1. Grow (the majority of new business comes from existing clients);
  2. Weather economic fluctuations that impact lines of business (bankruptcy and employment are up in the recession; corporate and litigation are down. This will, of course, change once the recover is fully in swing);
  3. Provide a buffer when a partner or client leaves the firm; and,
  4. Instill a culture of new business development, and succession planning.

Oh, and are you loving Don’s new secretary as I am?? Photos courtesy of AMC’s Mad Men

Oh, there was some meaty stuff in last night’s Mad Men episode with our protagonist Don Draper and the psychologist … but I’d rather go in a different direction today … something that was a little bit more subtle. The scenes between Pete Campbell and Harry Crane. Pete is a pretentious ass and will step on and over everyone he needs to to make his way to the top. He’s the sales guy at the firm. The BD guy. He finds the potential clients, schmoozes them up, supplies the hookers, and brings in Don and the creative team to close the deal.

Are you a Pete??
Pete’s job is all about connections, relationships and making rain. Sound familiar (well, except for the hookers … I hope)? Early in the episode, Harry invites Pete to join him for lunch with Ken Cosgrove, a colleague from their firm’s prior incarnation. Pete always viewed Ken as a competitor, and was jealous of his success. Pete’s insecurities lead him to criticize Ken, rather than embrace him. Harry rightly recognizes that they are all up and coming and need to maintain relationships with those, like Ken, from the prior firm.
Or, are you a Harry??
When it comes to maintaining relationships with former colleagues, are you a Pete, or are you a Harry? Pete sees Ken as a competitor. A threat. A waste of time. Harry sees Ken as a friend. A colleague. A collaborator. When you, or your peers, move on from a firm, does your working relationship end and you now view them with scorn, contempt, or cynicism?? When they are deleted from the firm’s website and roster, do you also delete them from your Outlook Contacts?? Or do you recognize that moving on is part of one’s career path, and that paths often intersect further down the road?? Do you choose to use this time to connect via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other opportunities that you might have? NOW is the time to transition the relationship from colleagues, to, well, colleagues, albeit of a different type. Pete, in his own self-concerned timing, recognizes towards the end of the episode that there is value in maintaining a working relationship with Ken. When a conflict comes up between Pete’s client Clearasil and the firm’s (bigger billing, and more important) client Ponds, well, Pete is told to “cut Clearasil loose.” What to do?? What to do?? Well, he plays hardball with his father-in-law to bring in the parent company as a client (oh, Pete, THIS should make for good fodder once that baby arrives), and then shifts the Clearasil account over to Ken. A (now) trusted former colleague. Photos courtesy of AMC’s Mad Men