Archive for the ‘ marketing me ’ Category

Now it’s time to say goodbye

On September 4, 2007, I got off the elevator on the 47th floor of this ivory tower and set about creating a marketing and business development program for Barger & Wolen LLP as their first marketing director. It has been quite a journey. We survived a recession; changes to our clients’ industry; the advent of social media; the passing of the torch from one generation to the next; and a merger with an AmLaw 200 firm.

It’s been seven years, five months, 16 days, and in a couple hours I will leave behind my keycard and a lot of memories as I head to Century City and take the helm of the marketing operations for another firm (details on Monday).

Today is about reflecting on my experiences and what working for this firm has meant to me, and a few of the life and business lessons that I am taking with me.

When I first started out in legal marketing, the average tenure of a legal marketer was about 2.5 years, and my resume affirms that this was true for me as well.

A couple years ago, while serving on the Legal Marketing Association’s board of directors, we ran the numbers: Approximately 3/4 of LMA membership turns over every four years. With a membership of more than 3000, that’s a lot of people. Some stay in the industry, not renewing their memberships, but many more leave.

I have come to learn that it takes a certain type of personality to stay and work in-house as a senior legal marketer year in and year out. Most senior legal marketers jump out to consult at some point. More just jump out to other industries along the way.

Having been at my firm for almost 7.5 years I have a new perspective on the advantages afforded both the law firm and the legal marketer that comes with longevity in the role.

Deeper and personal relationships = honest conversations

I was speaking with a partner last week and he remarked that I spoke to him like his wife does. Smiling I replied we worked together longer than most marriages last.

My longevity at my firm has allowed me to build true and personal relationships with many of the lawyers that extend beyond nine to five and Facebook. I have the ability to walk into a partner’s office and tell him or her the truth, or ask the difficult questions, sometimes in a not too subtle way.

Deeper and personal relationships allow us to speak candidly with one another. While we might not always agree, we are honest with one another.

Culture changes take time

In Leading Change, the author suggests that it takes three to 10 years to shift culture. Without longevity in a position the legal marketer will either never affect a culture change, or will never see the fruits of their labor. For me, seeing those changes has been the most rewarding aspect of my job and tenure at the firm.

I often tell the story of a senior partner who raised his voice at me during my first few weeks at the firm. He had no interest in this “marketing mumbo-jumbo” and didn’t understand why we had to do it. Fast forward seven years and our conversation turned to how I had to “come along” in the merger because of my importance and value to him, his practice, and the firm.

I could have missed it all.

A true team allows you to get things done

In law firms the lawyer default in regards to business development always circles back to “cross-selling.” Truth be told, cross-selling rarely works. Why? Because there is no team. You cannot throw a group of people in a room and expect them to give away something they have in hopes of getting something that really isn’t guaranteed from someone they do not really know, perhaps they do not like, and who they definitely do not trust.

It’s the same with the administrative departments. We compete against one another for resources (time, money, people). But for a well-run firm, you need these departments to work collaboratively to create a functioning business, and time affords you the opportunity to develop these teams, and there is nothing like a challenge to bring everyone together.

I don’t know any firm that over the course of 7.5 years did not have a challenge or 10 to over come. Revenues down. Recession. Boom times in the wrong area. Scandals. Partner departures. Layoffs. Market crashes. Office moves. A merger. All of these provide opportunity for the administrative leaders to band together and solidify themselves as a team working on common goals.

Opportunities abound

Last year my firm supported my participation in the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute. It was a lot of time out of the office: five trips to Chicago over the course of six months. Prior to that the firm supported my leadership role on LMA’s board of directors, with four in-person board meetings per year and lots of office hours devoted to my projects.

My eye has now turned towards George Washington University’s Masters in Law Firm Management program. It’s going to be impossible to convince a group of strangers that they should welcome and support sending me away for what constitutes a couple weeks of additional paid time off to do something that may or may not provide a direct benefit to the firm.

For me to do this I will need the support of my new firm. But I have to earn the that support, and that will take time. I won’t make it there for 2016, but I’ll get there.

It’s a truly bittersweet day today. I have packed up my boxes, cleaned out my paper and digital files, tranfered my documents from the older Barger & Wolen server to the new firm’s system, and transitioned my active projects amongst the team back east.

One thing I do know is that my shoes will be filled, and that’s a good and healthy thing. They might not be filled by someone who appreciates Stuart Weitzman as much as I do, or by someone who sees things the way that I see them, but that person will bring their own personality, traits, ideas, and energy to the team here.

And that is perhaps the last things I have learned through staying in my position as long as I have:

Sometimes it’s the right time to go

Marketing is a creative position. You have to grow as a legal marketer, or you will be of no benefit to your firm or your attorneys. But sometimes you have moved the ball as far as you can and it’s going to take someone else to pick it up and take the lead. Stay too long and you become a liability.

I leave here today having done the best job that I could every day for seven years, five months, and 16 days.

The best business advice I ever got, I got from Joan Rivers

Farewell Joan, from this "Joan Ranger"

Farewell Joan, from this “Joan Ranger”

I was so sad yesterday at the passing of Joan Rivers. I remember listening to her comedy albums (yeah, I’m that old) in high school and laughing at jokes that I could relate to — “slide down please” — because they were directed at me, a girl.

I’ve written before about the worst advice I ever got — “Do a good job, Heather, and they will notice you” — which resulted in me being overlooked for a promotion. Needless to say, this lead me to becoming very proactive marketing me in my career.

I read this essay by Ms. Rivers today, Joan Rivers: Why Johnny Carson “Never Ever Spoke to Me Again,” and I got it: Continue reading

I don’t follow egg-heads or empty blue boxes on Twitter

If you haven’t been on Twitter lately (Snort. Not even going there with you if you haven’t), you might not realize that they have made a few changes. Like many social networking sites, Twitter is becoming more and more graphically driven.

Not necessarily your individual tweets, but your profile and how people see you on the different applications.

I was on the main site today to add new followers, sort them into lists, etc. And this is what I saw:

twitter followers

People. Followers. Don’t be an egg-head, or an empty box.

Pick an avatar, and stick with it. When going through a stream on Twitter, or Tweetdeck, I will notice and connect with your avatar before your username. Change your avatar and you, as well as your message and value, might get lost in the stream of tweets.

Same goes with your cover photo. Make it something personal that says something about you. Right now, I have the infield heroes from my childhood:

Twitter Profile

Why does this matter?

I am going through the new followers I have. As I don’t use a manual accept every follower, I have to decide whether or not to follow you. As I consider who I follow to be valuable, I read your profile description. What does it say? Are you in legal? Marketing? Why are you following me?

If I know you, it’s easy. If I don’t, it’s a judgment call.

Then I have to decide if I am going to add you to a list or not. Perhaps you make my close Top LMA Peeps, or you make the Legal Marketing folder. If you’re a law firm, I may or may not add you to that list. A lot of times your description, avatar, and cover photo will be the determiner.

So pick a cover photo that speaks to who you are. It might be a picture of your city, or family, or dog.

However, unless you are Doctor Who, it better not be a blue box.

Ooooh, I might have to change my cover photo.

 

Want attribution? Make it easy.

Don’t camouflage your Twitter address if you want attribution

We had an interesting conversation at the LMA Annual Conference about attribution while live-Tweeting at a conference. Nancy Myrland very nicely captures the discussion in her post, Who Said That? How to Live Tweet a Conference.

To aid attendees at our session on Generational Marketing: Strategies and tactics for engagement with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials, Jonathan Fitzgarrald and I deliberately included our Twitter addresses not only on the opening slide, but in the footers. (Click here for the slides)

If we wanted the attribution, we didn’t want to make you work for it.  And it worked. The Twitter thread was incredible, lots of attribution to us both. Lots of feedback. And many new followers.

I just realized today, however, that for those reading this blog and wanting to share it on Twitter, it’s not as easy to find my Twitter address for attribution.

It hit me because I was reading a post from Lloyd Pearson while on my commute this morning, Chambers USA 2014-15: Get Organized via my reader. The post was easy for me to share from my iPhone, but his Twitter address didn’t auto fill. I was about to hit the tunnel, so I sent it off without attribution. Not really like me.

I have become so accustomed when using Bitly or Tweetdeck for the app to auto fill the name, but it doesn’t do so always, making it difficult to attribute on the fly unless you already know the person’s Twitter address, or are really determined.

To make things easier, I just updated my blog image that you see on the desktop to hyperlink to my Twitter profile, and added my address in the caption, and I urge you to do the same.

And when you do the update, check your mobile app version. My image doesn’t show up, so I have updated the subtitle of my blog to include it as well.

Not as pretty, but this is about engagement, conversation, and attribution.

 

Am I leading with my ego?

If we’re friends on Facebook you know that I had an encounter last night that ended in a very awkward moment for the other person. It probably wasn’t the most spiritual thing I could do to post about it, but what can I say? I saw a lesson there … for me.

When I lead with my ego I ALWAYS learn a lesson. The hard way.

I am ALWAYS right-sided. My ego is smashed.

I have found out that if I lead with my ego, I will find humility through the ensuing humiliation.

So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Everything.

In a profession where I am often referred to by the lawyers, lumped together with every other staffer, from the copy room to the C-Suite, as a “non-lawyer,” I have had to learn how to find my place.

It is such a fine balance. In other businesses, the marketing and sales team are seen as revenue drivers, strategic team members, leaders.

In many a law firm we are seen as nothing more than a cost center and a annoying, and pricy, necessity.

On average, in most companies, the marketing budget is 10% of revenue.

In a law firm, yeah, not so much. As in 2-5%. If you’re lucky.

I’ve been in legal marketing for 16 years and that percentage has stayed consistent.

I have had three situations, one as recent as last week, that have been a personal evolution and a reminder that when I think I am hot shit, I will be reminded by some force in the universe that I am not.

My humility (and ego) must rest in that I do this (writing this blog, volunteer service and speaking in LMA) for fun and for free.

And, in return, I have found that I learn more about myself, legal marketing, business, and leadership than I realize. Continue reading

Did I ever tell you my Ross Perot story??

Between my days as a lobbyist and joining legal marketing I was the Director of Programs & Events for Town Hall Los Angeles, a public interest forum.

During my tenure we hosted numerous politicians, pundits, authors, and a king. But my favorite story has to do with Ross Perot. Yes, THAT Ross Perot.

Once a speaker was confirmed my first duty was to confirm the name of the speech, get a copy of their bio, and a photo for our newsletter.

This is the photo we received from Mr. Perot’s office.

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtsey of Hillwood Perot in the early 1960s. courtsey of Hillwood

From D Magazine November 2013 photography courtesy of Hillwood
Perot in the early 1960s. Courtesy of Hillwood

Nice picture. The problem was it wasn’t the 1960s, we were well into the1990s.

This is what he looked like at the time.

John G. Mabanglo / AFP/Getty Images

When I called Mr. Perot’s office to inquire about a more recent photograph, his assistant told me, no, “Mr. Perot likes this photo.”

So what does this have to do with legal marketing? Well, I’ve been connecting with new people on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter both during the LMA Annual Conference, and now that I have returned.

There are some people out there who really like their (old, and it doesn’t look anything like you) portraits.

Seriously. Time for some portraits to be redone. Gittings was at the conference and are a great resource if you don’t currently have a regular photographer where you are.

What it comes down to is if I cannot recognize you by your photo from the person speaking in the session, or the person I just met, not good.

And I have a feeling if the legal marketers are not updating their photos, the attorneys in their firms aren’t either. Clients should not be surprised when the finally meet you that you look nothing like the photo on your web bio.

It’s painful getting your portrait taken. I don’t like aging either, but if you could see a picture of me from two or three decades ago … well, it really wouldn’t do today.

The rule of thumb my photographer uses is every three to five years. Women should go more frequently as we are more inclined to change our hair styles (and color). I personally do very two years.

Or give up on the photo all together and just go with an avatar:

Heather Morse's Twitter Avatar

Portrait of Mommy by Piper

Social media once again reveals the a**h***s

We all have our bad days. But when your bad day ends up in the social media viral loop, or on CNN’s website, your day just went from bad to f***ed-up.

Over in my Legal Marketers Extraordinaire group on Facebook* we’re discussing the LinkedIn rejection letter that has gone viral, as well as the founder of the latest pay-to-play on-line network for lawyers. She’s a peach. I’d link to a story about her, but, if you do your own Googling, you’ll understand why I won’t.

* message me via The Legal Watercooler page the email you use for Facebook for an invite

I suppose time will answer a new age-old question to rival the chicken and the egg:

Which came first, the a**h*** or social media?

Right now I have to go with a**h***s.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,513 other followers

%d bloggers like this: