Edinburgh: 0131 356 0911 - London: 020 8064 0917 contact@eleglobal.me

The summer holidays can be a mixed blessing. A frustrating time when you can’t get decisions made because people are on holiday… but you also, finally, have the time to complete those long-standing tasks on the ‘to-do’ list… because people are on holiday… But we think August is one of the best months to have a proper clean-up and work out what you want to achieve and how, with your marketing and business development.

Throughout August we’ll be publishing a series of articles designed to take you through some of the different areas we cover in our Marketing & Business Development Audit. We do regular audits for chambers and law firms, both in terms of marketing and strategy and also narrower areas (such as digital marketing).  In all cases we report on our findings and present a R(ed), A(mber), G(reen) risk report, setting out suggestions for activity in order of priority. 

Over August we’ll help you to take a step back and understand what’s working and what isn’t. In this article series we’re going to consider five key areas. These aren’t everything that we think needs to go into a helpful review, but they are things you can get started with over the summer break.

 

We will consider just five of the more than fifty areas we look at in our audits:

  • Clarity of purpose (Governance): Are marketing strategies and tactics clearly aligned to the organisation’s wider strategic plan? How do policies, procedures and processes support this?
  • Stakeholder research: Using tools to assess how stakeholders (both internal and external) view your firm/chambers and its reputation, as well as their likelihood to recommend you and their perceptions and views of service/expertise as well as marketing impression.
  • Competitor analysis: Identifying your key competitors and assessing their performance against your strategic objectives (ie. how do they demonstrate the things you deem important). How do you monitor this?
  • Money: Expenditure projections set against reality. How do we budget and forecast budgets? How is the annual budget spent (and how does this relate to plans)? What proportion is tactical versus personnel? What impact does budget and money have on tactical performance and delivery of KPIs?
  • Reporting: What do you do with all this information? How can you use it for a practical action plan? How can you communicate it (usefully) to partners and executive committee members?

 

So, let’s kick off with Clarity of Purpose.

We call this governance and it really sits at the heart of any successful marketing and business development activity. You might think that this is a job for the top brass but successful governance is as much a ‘bottom up’ as ‘top down’ exercise. In fact, it should sit as a cornerstone of every activity you engage in.

You see we’ve all worked in marketing departments, in law firms or chambers, where people have questioned the value of what we’re spending money on. They comment on how it isn’t easy to understand how the money spent on marketing contributes to instruction generation. They say that it isn’t easy to quantify the value that marketing brings.

Well, we beg to differ. In fact, we think the most important thing is that there is a clear and demonstrable link between what you’re doing, the way you do it and the ways it contributes to achieving organisational goals.

 

In practical terms this means being able to answer the following questions:

  • Do you have access to and understand your firm/chambers’ strategic plan? Indeed, is there one?
  • Have goals been set for the next 12, 24 and 60 months? 
  • Do you understand what they mean for you and the marketing activity?
  • Do you have marketing and business development objectives, linked to these organisational goals?
  • Does your marketing strategy demonstrate how each of your objectives contributes to these organisational goals?
  • Does your tactical marketing plan demonstrate how each activity contributes to achieving marketing goals and objectives?
  • In your marketing reporting, are you demonstrating this link through from marketing activity to achieving marketing goals/objectives to achieving organisational and strategic goals/objectives? 

That’s the first part of the analysis. And, we’re sure, it presents quite a few areas to consider improving. You might want to consider how you construct your marketing strategy and tactical plan, to demonstrate the link to organisational plans. Perhaps you’ll want to revise your reporting templates to demonstrate a clearer link. 

The next set of questions to ask focus on the day-to-day procedures, policies and processes. We call these the ‘what happens if we go under a bus’ areas. This section is all about practicalities. In this section we’re asking you to consider how you deliver marketing, make decisions and ensure consistency. 

 

In practical terms this means being able to answer the following questions:

  • Do you have agreed procedures for how you deliver marketing? You might want to consider written procedures for organising events, handling email marketing campaigns, using social media, client care, day-to-day PR, crisis PR etc
  • Do you assess your own performance and adherence to procedures such as these?
  • Do you review them on a regular basis?
  • What training do you deliver for new starters on following these procedures?
  • Do these procedures just apply to marketing professionals or all fee-earners/staff?
  • Do you have agreed policies relating to marketing? You might want to consider policies for selecting event speakers, attending networking/client entertainment, use of marketing budget etc
  • Do you assess your own performance and adherence to policies such as these?
  • Do you review them on a regular basis?
  • What training do you deliver for new starters on adhering to these policies?
  • Do these policies just apply to marketing professionals or all fee-earners/staff?
  • Are there any policies and procedures you don’t have that you think might be helpful? Consider areas of conflict or challenge over the past year.
  • What contingencies do you have in place for the times that they are not adhered to/used?

This might all seem like quite a lot to take in… indeed, this first area, alone, might provide you with all the areas for considering and work, over the summer, you can cope with. In the next article, however, we’ll be looking at stakeholder research and some simple ways to find out how well your marketing performs, what people value most and how you are perceived in the marketplace.