For anyone following any legal marketing stream on Twitter (#LMA13, for instance), you’ll know that we not only have our scoffers, but we have our haters.

And, honestly, looking at the spam in my filters, who can blame them.

There are a lot of bad promotional people out there targeting lawyers with their wares. But they are not necessarily “legal marketers.”

One thing I have learned from my nearly 15 years as a legal marketer is that not all legal marketers are created equally.

We all don’t do the same thing. We don’t all have the same skill set and experience. And we all don’t work for the same client base.

I work in-house for corporate lawyers. I am diligent that the marketing and business development we do complies with the legal ethics of the states in which we practice.

I know many legal marketing consultants who have worked in-house, and have struck out on their own. Once again, working with corporate lawyers, and well within the boundaries of the legal ethics in which the lawyers operate.

There are other legal marketers who work with consumer lawyers, which is a completely different beast than corporate law. B to C v. B to B.

And, like any industry, there are ne’er–do–wells who are trying to capitalize on an unsophisticated market. They see lawyers as a quick and easy target (Psst. Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a plaque?). Much like there are ne’er-do-well attorneys trying to capitalize on an unsophisticated consumer.

Those fly-by-night marketers do not represent what we do. They are not what I do. Just like ambulance-chasing lawyers are not who we represent.

My job is to help the lawyers in many areas of their business. The 5 Ps of marketing, for short.

LMA Annual Conference

Legal marketers, in general, are about business. The business of law. For some of us, that means businesses of $50 million in revenue and up. For others, at the top of the market, we’re looking at multi-billion dollar a year global operations.

It takes a sophisticated marketer to earn the respect of corporate law. To be given the keys to not only drive the strategic plan, but to create it. A seat at the table. And, better yet, a VOICE at the table.

Heaven knows it takes a thick skin and a strong personality to go toe-to-toe with many of our partners.

And while we have a few haters and scoffers, considering the booming of our profession, we have many more supporters and champions.

So, yeah, I’m Heather Morse. Legal Marketer.

A couple years ago I started a Facebook group for Legal Marketers Extraordinaire (LME). The group is “secret,” per Facebook’s definition, but open to all legal marketers. However you need to be invited in (leave a message in the comments below if you need an invite).

We’re a mixed bunch: in-house legal marketers, outside consultants, and service providers.

We cover all 5 Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, place, people). So our conversations are as diverse in theme as they are diverse in sophistication.

For anyone who is part of an industry group, whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, an association listserv, etc., the value of the group is dependent upon the membership and the content.

One bad apple can spam the group into silence and make it irrelevant, which I have found to be true of most of the LinkedIn groups to which I belong. They have lost their value as more and more people just dump links in an effort to self-promote themselves.

Not so with the LME group on Facebook. We have great conversations. Touch on some high level topics. Some irrelevant, but still valuable, threads.

One of our esteemed members sent me an e-mail yesterday asking the following question:

Heather, what’s your policy / thinking / take re members posting links to their blogs on the site? Most bloggers are not, like you, in-house, but are consultants.

My response, which I posted publicly to the group:

For me, it comes down to value and content.

No one here should be posting a link to every single blog post they write (and no one is, thank goodness). Linking to your blog should be done in context to the conversations that we’re having, or topics and themes we’ve been discussing.

Example: We’ve had some interesting conversations around pricing recently. If a consultant/service provider has a great post, that they feel adds value, I would appreciate them posting and taking the conversation to a higher level.

We’re all adults here. We know the difference between adding value, and spamming the group. And, really, from the variety of conversations we have, everyone should be able to highlight their wares very nicely.

I think that advice resonates across the different platforms where we can promote ourselves and our business offerings: speaking at conferences; leading a webinar; writing a blog post or e-newsletter; participating in a LinkedIn or Facebook group; or, replying all on an association listserv.

We consumers of information do not want to be spammed. But if you are really smart, and have something to say, by all means, elevate the conversation, even if that mean posting your latest blog entry, adding the slides from your recent presentation, or linking to the YouTube video you just posted.

When doing so, you add value. And, in adding value, you promote yourself in the best light possible.

But if you are adding content again and again in the attempt to self-promote, we consumers of information are sophisticated enough to recognize it, note it, and eventually block and/or unsubscribe to it.

As a member of the Legal Marketing Association‘s (LMA) Board of Directors I get the inside scoop to what’s going on in our association. But sometimes I am under the “cone of silence” and can’t say a thing.

I am so excited to officially get to spill the beans on some exciting news: LMA has launched a Client Value Shared Interest Group (SIG) focused on Pricing, Project Management and Process Improvement. From our board president Aleisha Gravit‘s message to today:

The SIG is being formed under the leadership of Toby Brown, Director of Pricing and Strategic Analytics at Akin Gump, along with some of the industry’s top leaders in legal pricing, project management and process improvement, many of who will be joining the LMA community as new members. These leaders bring with them a group of nearly 150 pricing and process improvement experts from the legal and business community and we are excited about the amount of experience and perspective they will bring to our pricing discussions and other LMA topic areas.

This SIG’s focus furthers LMA’s position as a thought leader for the legal marketplace as it relates to the 5 P’s of marketing: Promotion, Placement, Pricing, Product and People. Members will share best practices and create an informed dialogue about pricing structures, project management and process improvement trends in the legal profession. LMA already provides content related to pricing considerations in the legal market; the new SIG not only extends but elevates our programs in this topic area.

I for one am so excited to welcome Toby and company to LMA. I plan to sit front and center, live-Tweeting his session at the LMA Annual Conference (April 10-12 | Las Vegas). I’ve even officially joined the SIG. Can’t wait for the first in-person meeting at LMA, and all the webinars to come in the near future.

This is an exciting new venture and direction for our professional association. Pricing, project management and process improvement are a PERFECT fit to where are are evolving as a group, and as an industry. We’ve come a long way since Bates v. State Bar of Arizona.