Yes. Marketing programming at firm retreats is critical.
LMA members see so much terrific marketing programming that it can be hard to remember that lawyers do not have the same regular access. The Marketing Department can help the firm, and itself, by pushing internal training programs. Further, firm retreats are a golden opportunity to shape the entire firm’s marketing attitude, and inspire it to greatness.
Done well, marketing training at a retreat can be the platform to aggressively advance the Marketing Committee’s goals and motivate the lawyers to participate. For example, if a branding, positioning, or niche marketing program is on your mind, the retreat’s program can lay the educational foundation for what’s to come.
If you are developing a cross-selling, advertising, public relations, or technology program, it can plant the seeds in advance so when you’re ready to roll it out, they will already have an underlying context for it.
So much of the marketing-related frustration inside of law firms is due to the partnership’s lack of education or understanding of what marketing is, or can do for them. A dynamic program can help a frustrated marketing department, by educating the lawyers about the exciting possibilities available to them. Breaking this logjam often results in elevated respect for marketing and marketers, so they can do their job better.
More tangibly, it can provide the fundamental marketing tools and techniques that can improve the lawyers’ individual performance. Some of my favorites in this category are networking, working a room, sales and listening skills, and niche marketing. It’s not taught in law school; lawyers must be taught this material. And although a large-group format might not be the best educational setting, lawyers are quite comfortable learning in big classrooms.
The bottom line is that it depends upon the state of your firm and your goals. As important as it is to keep everyone informed about what’s going on day-to-day, at least an hour of every retreat day should be dedicated to marketing education.
If the program is fun, interesting, and energizing, it can make your job much easier — a little high-level education spread over the entire firm can be quite invigorating.