An Outsourced Marketing Department: Would it Work for Your Firm?

marketing department

All of our clients and prospective clients KNOW they should be “doing more marketing.” They know that marketing, supported by a consistent sales effort, is what will drive new business into their firm.  However, many times they are also operating under the misconception that they can handle their marketing efforts using non-marketing trained staff in their firm.  If you practice in a large firm, you will have the good fortune of having access to a literal army of marketing people to help you.

But what about the firm’s with 30 or fewer billing professionals? It’s likely that lack of time and a general lack of marketing knowledge will derail the best of intentions.  So how is a firm of this size supposed to grow? By hiring an outsourced marketing firm who can not only develop a creative and unique marketing strategy for the firm, but can take the reins and handle the implementation – – that is, the implementation that doesn’t require face-to-face meetings.  We reserve those tasks for the professionals themselves.

What is an “Outsourced Marketing Department?”

When we use the term “Outsourced Marketing Department,” we are talking about hiring a team of professionals to serve as your firm’s marketing department.  From your director of marketing to every function you would expect to find in your marketing department – literally a team that will take care of your marketing efforts from A – Z.  So what we’re really talking about is outsourced branding, outsourced social media, outsourced communications, outsourced database management, outsourced….. you get the idea! So why does outsourced marketing work for so many firms?

  • We ARE Your Marketing Department – An outsourced marketing department IS your marketing department without you having to incur the expenses including salaries, computers, software, office space, and many other items.  We marketing people are rather expensive to have around. So why buy, when you can rent?
  • Depth of Skill – Generally speaking, if you “hire a marketing person,” you will likely bring someone in who has skill in one or two areas but does not have the comprehensive experience of an outsourced marketing firm.   Many firms think, “Well, we’re new to marketing so let’s start small and just hire someone out of college.”  Think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.  We say, “Big mistake!”  Why? Because someone out of college is not going to have the breadth and depth of experience you need to develop strategy, and pursue implementation in many different areas, as described in PSM’s Four Pillars of Marketing™.
  • We Drive and Motivate – When you work with an outsourced marketing firm, our success is determine on the results we help your firm generate. Therefore, we are very interested in driving the marketing efforts forward full speed ahead.  Your outsourced marketing team will coordinate meetings, follow up with individuals, report to your management committee, and engage everyone in the firm to actively participate in the firm’s marketing efforts
  • We Manage your Budget – Not only do we help you create a marketing budget, we help you manage that budget and evaluate any solicitations you receive to advertise, support, sponsor, or in any other way, spend your money
  • Marketing Technology – We are up to speed on all of the important technology you need in your marketing department.  We help you make the right decisions on marketing technologies including databases, website platforms, domain name registrations, social media, Skype, blogging platforms, Search Engine Optimization, website analytics, and a host of other technologies you need to sustain your marketing efforts

Depending on how you answer the following questions, your firm is either a good candidate for working with an outsourced marketing firm, or you are not.   If you prefer, you can take a quick survey we developed to see if your firm is a good candidate for an outsourced marketing approach.  A few thoughts for your consideration:

  • Marketing Committee – Does your firm have a marketing committee?  This is sometimes a good thing and other times not.
  • Motivation – How motivated is your firm to attract new clients? If there is no firm-wide motivation, you will likely not see stellar results.
  • Sales Culture – Are your professionals actively engaged in personal networking and relationship building?
  • Past Experience with Marketing Firms – Did your firm have a bad experience by spending a lot of money and not generating results? Sadly this will affect your interest in working with the right firm who will actually generate results for you.
  • Cross Marketing – How confident are you that your firm is fully serving the needs of its existing clients?
  • Revenue – How happy are you with the firm’s overall revenue?  If your raking in the dough, it’s unlikely you will be motivated to, in your view, “change it if it isn’t broken.”
  • Commitment – How committed are your professionals to building their practices?
  • Grades Matter – If you were to assign a letter grade to your firm’s marketing prowess, what grade would you give?  Generally this says it all.  If you’re not getting an “A” in marketing, there is room for improvement!
  • Challenges – Do you have good perspective on where your firm struggles with marketing including what’s worked and what hasn’t worked in marketing?
  • Succession Planning – Do you have a clear successor if your senior professionals are close to retiring?

By understanding what an outsourced marketing department could do for your firm, and whether your firm would be a good fit for this unique approach, you will be better able to determine what your next steps should be.  To learn more, read about The Anatomy of an Outsourced Marketing Engagement. We would love to discuss your unique situation.  Contact us to learn more.

 In 1997, Terrie Wheeler leveraged her 12 year career as an in-house law firm marketing director, and founded Professional Marketing Services, LLC (PSM). The focus of PSM is to deliver outsourced marketing department and individual marketing coaching services to clients in the legal and financial services industries. Read Terrie’s Biography >

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