1.29.2006

Marketing Partner Forum -

I read with no small amount of interest about this year's Marketing Partner Forum (MPF), which was promoted as "the legal industry's leading conference on client development." It's a strikingly similar approach that we at LSSO have taken with respect to our annual RainDance Conferences, which we've positioned (and totally delivered) as being "the industry's only leadership conference exclusively focused on driving revenue and building client loyalty." In other words, RainDance is all about sales, service, quality initiatives - business and client development.

Well, that's OK, I thought, when I first got the MPF brochure. People need this stuff and the more sophisticated people will get what the various conferences deliver.

But then I saw the conference touted as "the industry's only business development conference reaching Marketing and Managing Partners in the United States, Canada and Europe." WHOA. Hold on just a second, now.

I'm not interested causing any hard feelings with our colleagues and friends in the industry, folks. However, and with all due respect, that claim just isn't accurate. Maybe I'm missing something, but how can anyone make this statement in 2006 when LSSO's produced RainDance since 2004?!

RainDance was conceived and developed (and delivers) as the first conference EVER to focus exclusively on business development for the legal industry.

There's no question that this year's MPF again featured top speakers and that the topics were timely. Given our familiarity with many of the presenters, whom I hold in the highest regard, that the programs were excellent.

When I take a look at some of the offerings, I get confused. Here are some examples: Law Firm Marketing 101 and Identifying Strategic Priority Areas for Law Firm Marketing Professionals (both pre-conference workshops). Firmwide PR & Media Relations Plans to Prepare You for Any Situation. Web Site Best Practices. And tThe Psychology of Marketing Communications —Can Marketing Directors and Managing Partners Ever Get on the Same Page?

In my humble opinion, you can't just mix in some biz dev stuff with traditional marcomm sessions just so you can pitch the event as a "business development conference." Why not call it what it is - a legal marketing and sales conference for leaders - and be proud of it? Don't do the wolf in sheep's clothing thing, it's just not necessary. Also, I think it does the industry a disservice in that it encourages the marketplace to continue calling sales "marketing" rather educate the industry on the differences so that we can all appreciate and value the separate disciplines. So that's really my issue.

FYI, one more little thing and then I'll stop this rant: Put in a google search of "Marketing Partner Forum" and see how long it takes you to find information about the event itself, like the conference agenda...

Now to try to balance things out - everyone should take a few minutes and read about the program there. Thanks to Larry Bodine, Rick Klau and Gerry Riskin blogs, you can read insightful reports about MPF on their blogs. We all still have a lot to learn...

-Catherine

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