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Podcast Episode 172: Money is Not the Only Resource: Balancing Marketing and Business Development

by Guy Alvarez • October 13th, 2022 • Podcast

In this episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 Podcast, Guy is joined by Julia Bennett, the CMO of Brown Rudnick. Julia’s mandate is to amplify the brand of the firm, market the practices and industry groups, and enable the lawyers to deepen relationships with current clients and create relationships with prospective clients. She holds a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, an M.A. from The George Washington University, and an A.B. from Duke University.

1. How can a legal marketer help an attorney decide where to focus her time?

When I say money is not the only resource, that’s a phrase that came to me many years ago as a BD manager, where we had lots of budgets for every activity. I had great high-energy attorneys who were ripping and running from one event to the other, who wanted to jump on top of every marketing trend. But then they would be exhausted, and some folks would be too exhausted to pursue building relationships with their potential clients. So I started saying, look, money is not the only resource. Time is a resource. And what we need to think about is how we can put you in the right spaces to meet the kind of people you can nurture relationships with. I would always tell colleagues to be candid with attorneys. I wouldn’t say do it in a big room full of people, but build one on one rapport and say, “Let’s figure out where your best audience is.” That best audience could be within an industry or a sub-sector. The best audience could be regional. Talking to attorneys about the kind of work they like the best, the kind of clients they like the best, and looking for patterns, while also coupling that with research reading the news. It’s important to stay on top of what’s happening in the industries that we support and to work with your library or your internal team to keep on top of research and competitive intelligence. You can always come to the attorneys that you work with, with solutions and ideas about where they can focus their time in their marketing efforts especially,

2. What do you do to help attorneys understand the importance of business development and marketing?

I like this concept of opportunity mapping. This is taking five or ten minutes to sit down with an attorney and figure out where they are and what work is the easiest for them to win. So it takes the least amount of time and the least amount of lift, emotionally or otherwise. That’s going to bring in the biggest dollars, and then one hundred and fifty. There is work that’s easy to win but doesn’t bring in as much time, and some will say, “I just don’t have time to market to that.” Especially if I’m dealing with a more senior attorney, I would say, “Okay, well, that’s the kind of work you push to someone who’s more junior. So you don’t have time to write the articles and do all those things, but there’s probably a junior person who is eager to develop business but needs a little bit of help doing that. And that person can partner with you on writing, on speaking, on identifying things on social media to repost.” We can encourage attorneys to list some of those things to allow their marketing departments to drive it. If we understand the right audience, then the marketing department finds the places for you to identify the things that are going to be the least lift for you in terms of time. I find that for some people you have to be quite persistent on that, but that if you can present them with ideas that are small and easy to do. If you show them some success really quickly, people start to feel comfortable that they can push the time towards it. There are always people you cannot win, but I feel like the people you can never win is actually a pretty small percentage. One hundred and fifty.

3. How do you get attorneys to start to connect with potential clients?

The first thing I would say is, to remember that your client isn’t just the company, business, or nonprofit you’re working for. Your client is also a human being, whether that’s the business professional or the lawyer on the line. They have hopes and dreams and aspirations and things they want for their professional career, right? Instead of thinking of connecting with those clients as a big scary thing, think about how you connect with that person as you would a friend, one hundred and fifty. Help them to achieve their goal. So I always suggest when you meet someone, make sure you make your notes about what you talk to them about. Try to get a feel for what it is they want from their life and then reach out with an opportunity. “I saw this article about career advancement, and I remember you said you wanted a promotion, and you might find it interesting.” Or, “this organization is having an event, would you like to go with me?” It’s about something you talked about that you wanted for yourself personally, and just really try to personalize those things. I think that’s a lot less scary than walking up to someone and saying, “I want your business.” It’s much more authentic both to the potential client and to the attorney. So I always direct people to start with small things, a coffee, a quick conversation, or even just an email exchange. Even sharing posts on social media or articles that you are writing. Develop a relationship that’s a lot more personal and authentic to the person before trying to move that relationship into business


The best tip that you can give any lawyer is to start by asking, “What are your aspirations?” And what do you want to see for your own personal and professional goals? How can I be helpful to you in hitting those, and if you start to build that relationship with a prospective client as a trusted advisor, the rest will naturally come. They should just start with a very authentic conversation that’s going to resonate personally on both sides.

You can find Julia Bennett on LinkedIn, as well as Brown Rudnick’s LinkedIn and Website.

Check out our newest ebook The Law Firm Guide to Podcasting here.


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