I enjoy reading Mark Ritson - he is engaging, funny and always on the button. I don't think he has ever written about marketing professional services firms, but this piece could well have been; change 'advertisers' for 'lawyers' and read again.
Every law firm I have worked for has seen individual lawyers step into the role of marketing experts. Whether it's creating web content, appointing (and ditching) creative agencies, or choosing a CRM system, a partner or group of partners will make or influence that decision. I have even seen senior partners take hours out of the day to choose the canapés for a Christmas drinks reception!
Of course, in a partnership it is right that partners and their colleagues engage and champion marketing and business development activity. And sometimes, the only way to get something done is to let the partners believe it was their own idea.
But, when firms are spending many hundreds of thousands of pounds on talented marketing people, perhaps it is time to let them do their job, leaving the lawyers to do theirs.
Men can market women’s products and vice versa. The key is not who you are but rather your ability to be market-oriented at all times. It turns out knowing you’re not the customer bestows massive marketing advantages. This is often a hard message to deliver, especially to senior C-suite executives who fancy themselves as “a bit of a marketing expert”. I’ve lost count of the number of times that these senior men – and they are always men – completely forget they are not in the gender, age range or salary bracket of the target segment but still wax lyrical about which campaign they prefer and what the marketing team should do next.