Trending: Meshing Marketing and Business Development Roles

Trending: Meshing Marketing and Business Development Roles

It seems placing the business development function before the marketing function in the title is more than a coincidence for firms looking to marry the two functions.

Dilworth Paxson has continued what appears to be a trend among large law firms in hiring someone who can jointly oversee the marketing and business development functions of the firm.

Margaret M. Cronan was named the new chief business development and marketing officer of Dilworth Paxson, where she oversees the creation of a new business development strategy and will “solidify an aggressive, long-term marketing plan,” the firm announced Tuesday.

Hans T. Haglund joined Blank Rome in January as the firm’s chief business development and marketing officer, filling a role that had previously been handled under the chief marketing officer moniker.

Haglund said at the time that his title, and the new position, speaks to where Blank Rome wants to focus its efforts to grow the business.

“The firm has been focused on raising the brand and doing marketing efforts,” Haglund had said. “But now, with business development, [Blank Rome] wanted to refocus their efforts on looking at new opportunities in new markets and expanding their current client base and practice portfolio makeup.”

Ballard Spahr’s chief marketing officer position has been open since October 2013, when Eileen Kenney left the firm. Ballard Spahr has posted an ad for a chief marketing and business development officer, which would expand the position from the CMO title Kenney held.

In May 2013, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads hired Elizabeth Mell from Fox Rothschild to serve as the firm’s chief marketing and business development officer.

Pepper Hamilton hired Daniel P. Pulka as its new CMO earlier this year. While the business development function isn’t in the title, the firm said at the time that Pulka would be responsible for Pepper Hamilton’s business development efforts.

Cronan is replacing Karen Kruza, who left her role as CMO last year. Cronan said she and firm leadership talked about what the new title should be and what order the roles should appear. Cronan said law firm marketing is typically viewed more as an outward-facing function of hosting events and designing websites.

“But I think we decided the title the way we did because the business development is the ultimate goal,” Cronan said. “And that’s more than brand and mission and a great website. It’s building relationships that are going to be lasting relationships and developing more dynamic relationships.”

Micah Buchdahl of HTMLawyers focuses his company on advising law firms on business development initiatives. He said it is clear there are more firms than there were five years ago that are including the business development function in a chief marketer’s title.

“But for the most part, there are very few people that are truly business development folks versus just another idea of what law firms think they are supposed to get out of the marketing department,” Buchdahl said.

Buchdahl said there are not that many pure business development professionals in the legal industry. Many people with that function in their title are more akin to marketers, Buchdahl said, noting marketing facilitates business development. Most chief marketing and business development officers have a background in marketing or communications, he said.

“If you are really doing true business development, you are doing a lot of analytics, a lot of financials,” Buchdahl said. “It’s almost as much a money role as a marketing role.”

But Buchdahl noted most firms try to mesh the two roles out of their perception of what the marketing function of a firm should provide.

“Most law firms see their marketing department as being people that can help them develop business,” Buchdahl said. “In reality, most marketers are providing the tools and the resources to attorneys to allow them to retain and increase their own book.”

Source: The Legal Intelligencer

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