Insights and Resources

Insights for Marketers: APSMA Panel Discussion

Not sure what APSMA stands for?

I’m sure most of you are well aware, but for those who aren’t it’s the Asia-Pacific Professional Services Marketing Association and if you’re working in a professional services firm they are an excellent resource.

I attend a recent APSMA Victorian event entitled “What you wish you had known – A Panel Discussion” and thought I’d share some of the insights for marketers. The event was attended mainly by new and aspiring marketers working for various PS firms in Melbourne and the panel was made up by:

Lisa Hayes, Marketing and BD Manager at Arnold Bloch Leibler and former APSMA committee co-chair, view Lisa ‘s LinkedIn profile.
Peita Elkhorne, Director at Xcelerate Consulting Pty Ltd. View Peita’s LinkedIn profile
Chris Blakeley, Client Relationship Manager at Herbert Smith Freehills. View Chris’ LinkedIn profile
Dale Bryce, Director Customer Strategy & Market Development at Entura and former APSMA President. View Dale’s LinkedIn profile

Clearly a very experienced panel and here are some of their thoughts on:

Biggest Challenge:
Moving from an accounting firm to a legal firm in that accountants would typically assist marketers more readily than lawyers. They needed to be convinced and motivated to get things done. The work across Professional Service sectors is similar however cultures can be very different i.e., legal firms are far more risk adverse than say engineering firms.

Another challenge was building the trust of a Partner in a firm; it takes time but worth it as its hard to get anything done without a Partner supporting your ideas. You also need to be aware and cautious of the politics within the firm, one panelist suggesting “Be Switzerland – Neutral.”

What it takes to succeed: 
One of the panelists was a big fan of having a mentor as they can provide an external perspective on challenges that you may be having and bounce ideas off. Another mentioned resilience and a tough skin were also necessary traits to succeed as a marketer in this sector. They suggested that having the requisite skills is just the beginning you need to have an engaging personality and be able to work within the firm’s culture.

Reciprocity will work well for you mentioned another panelist; draw on the reciprocity ‘bank account’ only after you’ve built a large balance. So assist others and only ask for something back when appropriate.

Another said “We are good at what we do because we don’t think like lawyers” As lawyers are risk adverse, and marketers are risk takers, keep that in mind when next presenting a new campaign idea. Many lawyers are introverts and appreciate the energy that business development and marketing experts bring to a firm.

Some thoughtful tips:
It’s most rewarding when you can make a mind shift in a partner, and that can take time and effort, so it’s not always about tactics, strategy plays a huge part in getting the outcomes required.

Stop and spend some time walking in the shoes of the Partner you’re working with; think like a lawyer as scary as that sounds. And never give a blank document to a partner and ask for it to be filled in, it’s always better to have them edit your content.

Wherever possible engage with clients at the coalface, not just events, this will allow you to provide direct feedback on marketing initiatives. Clients should be at the start of every marketing journey, conversation, and activity.

Get to know the sector from outside your firm, read the Australian Financial Review or similar every day. And remember your Partners don’t have the time to read everything in the press.

Remember you’re advising advisors! Your goal is to become the trusted advisor to the trusted advisor!

Not surprisingly this all resonates with our experiences working with PS firms every day. I’d love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.

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