Hold onto your Expensive Marketing Directors

Check out the February 2007 issue of Marketing the Law Firm, edited by Betiayn Tursi, for an article on "Musical Chairs" among marketing professionals at law firms.

The salient points:

  • Marketers are often poached by competing law firms. People change jobs for money.
  • Marketers average a brief stay at law firms. The average tenure is 2.7 years.
  • There is a tension between marketers and lawyers. Many lawyers don't understand marketing.
  • On average, a marketing director earns $162,000, with large firms often paying more than $200,000. The chief marketing officer, a position that 34 Am Law 100 firms now have, averages more than $300,000.
  • As non fee-earners, marketers are "overhead."  But the cost of losing a marketer will torpedo a branding campaign, business development training or upgrading a Web site.

LTN's example that says it all: Communications director Peter Columbus left O'Melveny & Myers for a position at Kaye Scholer. To replace him at O'Melveny, John Buchanan left his job at Heller Ehrman. To fill that slot at Heller, Patrick Bustamante left his post at DLA Piper.

Sure, marketers are expensive. That's because they're valuable. Don't lose yours by underpaying them or making them miserable.

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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Zach Katkin - February 11, 2007 8:17 PM

Do you think marketing directors are needed in general? Is it wiser for a smaller firm (or any firm) to outsource marketing to a marketing company or to take care of it in house?

Thom Singer - February 13, 2007 5:23 AM

Zach asks "do you think marketing directors are needed in general?".

Only if you want your firm to grow. Lawyers practice law. A marketing person promotes and protects the image of the firm all day long. That is a full time job, not something you fit into your schedule between billable hours.

Would a lawyer recommend his corporate client fire all sales and marketing people and then ask senior managment to take on these tasks (when they have time, if they feel like it, and regardless of talent in this area)??? That would be a stupid way to run a business, and you would not suggest it to a client. However, that is how law firms run their business.

Outsourced marketing can only be reactive. You need to be proactive if you want to grow your practice. But a firm needs to treat the marketing professionals as professionals or they are doomed to mediocre marketing.

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