Thoughts and news from the LMA-MN – Midwest Region – Minnesota Local Group

#LMAMKT: Making the Most Out of #LMA15

LMA’s Annual Conference is fast approaching. For Minnesota members (well, really, any LMA members!) who are attending, the conference is a great way to network with other legal marketers and expand your repertoire of knowledge that you can use within your firm.

Because the conference is so large, it’s good to start preparing early so that you’re not overwhelmed with the choices when you arrive in San Diego.

Here are some tips to get you started. Share your tips in the comments below!

  • Preschedule your sessions. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck in those sessions when you get to San Diego, but it helps to go through the conference “show guide” prior to the event so that you attend the sessions that make the most sense for you. Consider your professional development goals – what do you want to learn? What sessions will help you round-out your skills? Also consider what your firm needs – this could help you later when you want to attend again. What sessions will help you do your job at your firm? Even go so far as to ask your marketing team or attorneys what topics they think would best help the firm. Make an effort to show how valuable attending the conference can be.
  • Determine who you want to meet. I find it helpful to identify speakers, members, and service providers ahead of time, so that I make sure and meet them while I’m there. Use the conference show guide and highlight the speakers you want to meet. The LMA Conference app is also a good resource for this (you can even add members to your contact session!). Again, check with your firm to see who would be beneficial to talk to. Are there service providers you may be looking at in the future? Get on their radar now. Have some good questions to ask, too! And a side note: use your show guide or a network like LinkedIn to view those targets’ photos, so that way you can identify them in the crowd.
  • Volunteer. If you’ve got the time (ha!), volunteer! This could be volunteering on a committee (by now, committees probably have it covered, but it never hurts to ask), or perhaps letting a member (this year, it’s @NancyMyrland) know you’ll be live-tweeting from particular sessions! The reason I always recommend this is because you meet some (awesome) people, who will then introduce you to others. Plus, if you’re a new attendee, this is a great way to remove the “nervousness” of meeting new people in a large group setting (especially for those introverts!).
  • Take advantage of a mentor. New this year to the conference is a mentorship program. For the newer legal marketers, this is a great way to get some one-on-one time with a seasoned marketer. Also, for those who have been there/done that – meet a new member and share you knowledge! It’s a good way to “give back” and stay connected with LMA.
  • Go to everything! It’s really easy to just head back to your room after a full day of conference sessions! But think about what you might be missing out on. You might meet someone who you might not have gotten a chance to see during your sessions. There are plenty of opportunities to sit down and chat with these people at dinner. It’s hard to hold a conversation during the day, when you’re listening to a speaker, or rushing around between sessions. In my experience, the best conversations and wisdom comes from an outside conversation with an attendee.
  • Use your chapter members to network. One of my introverted friends mentioned this to me. While I typically advise that you spend less time with your chapter members who you can see at any time (with the exception of those chapters who live in different states!), and more time with attendees you see maybe once a year, I liked her advice about using your chapter members to meet new people. It takes the fear out of being alone, and they can help you meet some of your targeted people! I, for one, would be more than happy to introduce you – so look me up while you’re in San Diego!

What advice do you have for conference-goers?

February 2015 #LMAMN Minnesota (Nice) Update

LMA National News You Can Use – www.legalmarketing.org

  • Registration is open and the agenda is set for the 2015 Annual Conference. April 13-15th in San Diego, CA.
  • LMA has a new blog: Strategies+. Designed as a space to share strategic approaches from a legal marketing perspective, Strategies+ is your online resource to discover exclusive content focused on the state of the legal marketing profession that goes beyond what is shared in the Strategies. Check it out!

Next Month’s LMA-MN Meeting

Niche Marketing: Equip Your Lawyers for the Future of Law
Amy Knapp of Knapp Marketing, Presenting
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Registration at 11:30 am | Program from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.

Fun Facts

  • Your Honor Awards is the longest-running annual national award program recognizing excellence in legal marketing. Your Honor Awards are available at both the chapter and international level. It’s never too early to think about which of your marketing initiatives your team might submit. The LMA MN YHA program takes place in November of each year.

Member Spotlight

 forblog Brad Messerich
Business Development Specialist
Thomson Reuters
Eagan, MN
Joined LMA: 2013

What do you do in legal marketing?
My mission is to help legal marketers and attorneys win more business. As competition within the legal marketplace increases, monitoring corporate clients legal activity has become an essential component to achieving business growth. I partner with law firm leaders to incorporate Thomson Reuters competitive intelligence and current awareness solutions into the firms’ business development strategies.

How has membership in LMA helped your career?
When I first joined LMA, I was amazed by everyone’s willingness to share their knowledge, experiences, successes, and failures with the larger group. Especially considering the small, competitive, legal environment we’re living in! I continue to learn about challenges legal marketers are facing how our technologies might help. Your collective experiences enable me to better serve my clients across the Midwest.

What advice do you have for people new to legal marketing?
Legal marketing and business development is a team sport. I like the old adage, Try not to become a person of success, but try to become a person of value…  I view “success” as being focused on personal achievement, while a champion delivers “value” as a team player.

What would you describe as the theme music to your life?
This varies depending who in my family has control of Spotify or iTunes while we’re together. My son is on an Okee Dokee Brothers rampage this week. My daughter is still trying to “Let it Go”…  Earlier today I listened to The Whole Love album by Wilco and gravitated toward the song “Dawned on Me.”

LMA MN (Nice) Blog

The LMA-Minnesota Chapter communicates with its members frequently via its blog about meetings, benefits, presenter materials and other interesting tidbits. We are always looking for guest posts from members, presenters, and collaborators. Check out the LMA MN (Nice) Blog and sign up to receive blog updates. Check out the newest blog post, “Balancing Act: What Legal Marketing and Blockbuster Filmmaking Have in Common” by Ian Carroll.

Fun at the 2015 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference

  • Gretchen Milbrath is organizing an informal get together of MN chapter attendees at the annual conference. Registrants: stay tuned for more details.

Marketers on the Move

  • Katie Dockter was promoted to Business Development Specialist at Bowman and Brooke.
  • Michael Preston (formerly Michael Rand) returns to Minneapolis and rejoins Bowman and Brooke as Marketing Manager

Submit news, fun facts, marketers on the move, etc. for our next meeting’s LMA MN (Nice) Update.
Email: leslie.delfs@stinsonleonard.com.

Balancing Act: What Legal Marketing and Blockbuster Filmmaking Have In Common (Updated)

Joss tweet 01 19 15 expanded and shoppedServing multiple constituencies isn’t easy, but we are paid to make it look that way.

As the tweet pictured at right suggests, Hollywood writer-director and Twitter savant Joss Whedon is going through an intensely difficult time right about now. He’s trying to finish putting together a little arthouse picture called Avengers: Age of Ultron. The reported budget is $250 million.

Meanwhile, the marketing starting gun has officially gone off. Perhaps you missed the Age of Ultron preview that set viewing records on YouTube (I know I did my part), but maybe you saw the Super Bowl ad for the film. Featuring erstwhile Avengers teammates Iron Man and the Hulk in a pitched battle, the ad was perfect bait for the NFL fan. Its 30 seconds of action-packed footage cost the studio an astonishing $4.5 million to broadcast during the big game.

As the hype builds to the May 1 release date, the clock is ticking down for Whedon and the rest of his post-production team to live up to Whedon’s previous success with Marvel’s The Avengers, which raked in $1.5 billion at the worldwide box office three years ago.

That Whedon is a lifelong fan of the original Marvel comic book epics (and thus knew what fellow fans wanted to see in an Avengers movie) played a crucial part in that earlier success. Repeat business is what makes blockbusters (and successful law firms). But as we all know, even if you’re the franchise’s number one fan it doesn’t mean the process is easy. There are a lot of moving parts and it’s easy to get your fingers pinched as you make adjustments to the big machine.

Regarding which aspects of his own particular balancing act Whedon was relating to the 1930s trick photo featured in his tweet, we can only speculate. But there are many precarious aspects from which to choose.

In addition to the external pressures of being accountable for the film’s enormous budget, managing an army of crew people, making a release date window, and living up to previous achievements in popcorn sales, there are the storytelling challenges involved. The film’s characters stand on the shoulders of Whedon’s screenplay, in which a balance of interwoven narratives must be struck. If the characters don’t ring true, the story won’t work, and ultimately, the movie as a whole won’t work, either.

In the case of the Avengers films, Whedon has to juggle the narrative arcs of an ensemble of franchise characters like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America (known as the team’s “Big Three”), and the Hulk (the world-famous wildcard and black sheep) with those of several other heroes both established (Hawkeye, the Black Widow) and newly introduced (Age of Ultron will feature at least three: Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and the mysterious Vision). Not to mention the expository screen time required for setting up the world-threating Big Bad, in this case the title’s homicidal robot, Ultron.

Let’s more explicitly relate Whedon’s narrative challenges to our own. Law firms, like superhero teams, are made up of distinctively talented individuals with their own origin stories who have decided to join forces. We luckily don’t have any villains to worry about (not most of us, anyway!), but each of us do have to balance the individual narratives of our attorneys with the dynamic thrust we wish to relate regarding our firm as a collective entity.

My own firm just went through a rebranding effort. As a mid-sized IP boutique with a client-value focus, we did not have a big budget, but still, the consensus view held an update of the firm’s identity was needed. Previous marketing materials trended plain-to-generic IP law, as most of our attorneys specialize in patent work but we have strength in the trademark and IP litigation areas as well.

As we developed new marketing materials such as attorney bios, interviews revealed some common threads about an ethic of service we wanted to emphasize to potential clients. More and more, the support our attorneys provide to one another in the service of our clients’ goals became a theme. But without first honoring the narrative (career) arcs of the individual characters, if you will, we could not have established the animating identity of the team.

As marketers, we are tasked to tell the story of each attorney, each practice group, and their various adventures in law and business. Those narratives need to serve the business development interests of those players but also the larger narrative of what we want our firm to collectively represent to the world. At younger firms, the prestige of your own “Big Three” (or big five, etc. – i.e., name partners and other rainmakers) may be a powerful lure to potential clients, but how do you reflect their glory upon the firm’s service offerings more generally? At older firms, how can you reflect the glory of a storied history upon the attributes of your contemporary attorneys? The approach taken has to be seamless in its logic.

Joss Whedon has said as a writer he has “faith in the narrative” to see his entire effort through to a satisfying result, creatively and commercially. If you can likewise balance the various constituencies of your firm with a narrative worth believing in, you too can walk that ledge without falling.

Ian Carroll is Client Relations and Marketing Manager at Dicke, Billig & Czaja, PLLC. Find him on Twitter @iandeecarroll, and be sure to add #LMAMN to any communiques so he can find you!

Congratulations to @DebWeinstock, our #LMAMN President’s Scholarship Winner for #LMA15

Congratulations to Deborah Weinstock from Moss & Barnett, who is the winner of our 2015 #LMAMN President’s Scholarship. Debbie will receive a $1500 scholarship to put towards expenses to attend the 2015 LMA Annual Conference April 13-15 in San Diego. We look forward to hearing about her conference experience at our #LMAMN April program.

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