The first quarter of 2019 is nearly over and that means one thing: awards and directories submissions are underway. Of course this is a bit disingenuous, as somewhere there is always a submission deadline going!
Although I haven’t seen any surveys (ha ha) on this, I’m fairly certain that directory submissions and their cousins, awards, are one of the biggest sources of anguish, griping, bellyaching and all-around grumping in legal marketing departments. Anecdotally, it’s safe to say that many marketers would rather avoid directory submissions altogether and use that time, as more than one colleague (and at least one CMO) has said, “for more meaningful purposes.”
If you’re thinking that way, you couldn’t be more wrong. Let’s talk about why that is.
First, any firm with aspirations to lead its market, practice specialty, or targeted industry can’t afford to waste a golden opportunity to get valuable information. You could spend hundreds of thousands – even millions, as I know one firm did – with a management consultant to find out how your firm is performing, how your clients feel about you, or where you stand in the market according to your peers.
Guess what else has all of that information, for the the price of a few hours of your partners’ and marketers’ time? That’s right – most of that information lives in the results put out by Chambers, Legal 500, IFLR1000, ALM awards, FT Innovative Lawyers series, and other substantive legal rankings and awards. It costs you nothing to take part in the process (seriously, if you’re paying to be ranked or for an award, you’re doing it wrong).
Yes, you have to spend resources putting submissions together but that’s no different than any other business development or marketing assignment. No one would ever suggest that you haphazardly cobble together an RFP or that you casually find some reporter to profile your partner.
Directories marketing takes the same degree of management, with one bonus: every aspect comprising a directory submission should already live within your marketing strategy. If submissions are taking you too long, it’s not them, it’s you.
Want to know why you need to participate in Chambers and Legal 500, or why filling out the NY Law Journal’s 40 Under 40 or the FT Innovative Lawyers submissions are worth it? Here are 10 reasons:
1. Independent, objective third-party verification
2. Controlling the message about your practice group
3. Client outreach opportunities
4. Client feedback
5. Market feedback
6. Peer assessment
8. Internal practice group performance review
9. Strategic focusing
10. Uniting your business development and marketing efforts
Over the rest of this series, I’ll go into greater detail on each point. Just remember: if you’re reinventing the wheel for every submission, quite frankly you’re doing it wrong.