Meet Teresa Carpenter. As the former regional marketing manager for powerhouse firm Baker & Mckenzie, Teresa is now the Senior Brand Marketing Manager for Martindale-Hubbell Large Law. She comes from the windy city of Chicago, a place she calls “the best city in the world” and she should know; Teresa has lived in 10-other US cities. She’s had quite a journey, which landed her at one of the largest law firms in the US, but what strikes me most about Teresa is her experience living on the cutting edge.
Baker and Mackenzie was one of the first US law firms to develop a truly global presence, and it was this spirit of innovation that Teresa came to know and love while at the firm. Although she will be the first to admit that the firm’s US office was not the first one to embrace social media. “Our Amsterdam office brought us onto Linkedin and social networking in general,” she says, but what made the US office stand out was that it “ brought together so many different people from different languages and cultures, which has put us at the top for online marketing.”
Now, Teresa looks to leverage her experiences with diversity and innovation as she joins the Martindale-Hubbell team. She sees the winds of change brewing in the legal industry as new tools are changing the way we do business. Despite law firms being “resistant” to this change she says that “few lawyers are truly engaging in these networks now, but eventually they will see the benefits of these tools, which include meeting new people through networking, real-time information sharing and feedback through blogging, and potential work for lawyers in developing social media policies.” (Martindale-Hubbell Connected members please see our Social Media Policy group for more on this topic).
When asked how her experience at her previous job will help her in the new role she says:
My experience at Baker & McKenzie will translate seamlessly because Martindale.com like Baker & McKenzie markets customer intelligence, not ‘just a service.’ Both organizations listen intently to their customers/clients and are inspired by customer feedback. In addition, both challenge B2B paradigms. The process in selecting a lawyer or law firm is more sophisticated than simply evaluating cost to benefit ratios. Unique value propositions, referrals and rankings are highly considered by clients. By providing customers/clients with the deeper engagement (through relationship building and social networking) they crave we set ourselves up for huge change and limitless opportunities.
Teresa feels that we need to look beyond the managing partners when it comes to viral marketing and social media. “We need to reach out to the trenches,” she says, and look to get the lawyers engaged on a specific level for whatever it is they are doing. She believes that change happens quicker among practice groups in large law firms rather than going to the heads of the organization who have much bigger fish to fry. It is this core belief of working with the troops that she hopes to bring to her new role – inspiring and stimulating lawyers at the practice group level.
Teresa has plenty of ideas, many of them good, and it is her awareness of the market that will allow her to deliver the type of messaging and engagement that our customers will benefit from. When asked about her immediate goals, she says:
I want to create awareness of our products to legal marketers (see the Legal Marketers group on Connected). These professionals are given a lot of responsibility and respect within firms of all sizes. They are key decision makers. They manage budgets, conduct competitive research, write business plans and advise partners on client development. Managing Partners and Executive Committees rely on them for their insight and their commitment to following trends in the digital marketing industry. As a former regional marketing manager, I hope to educate my colleagues about the infrastructure, challenges and successes of large law firm marketing professionals.
She understands that the biggest challenge in law firm operations today is a generation gap in the face of a paradigm shift. “You’ve got the summer associate who has had the Twitter account since they opened in 2007 reporting to a partner in her late ‘50’s who just got her first Blackberry,” she says, “glue them together and find commonality and they can teach each other.” It’s about finding the “sweet spot,” expanding existing relationships, and walking away better at the end of the day. How does she see Martindale.com helping to close that gap?
Martindale.com can fill that gap by continuing to amp up the capabilities of Connected, in particular by feeding into the individual motivations of each age range. New associates are more accustomed to marketing themselves as they have come of age in the era of electronic socialization. Serving as their own PR agency comes naturally to many young associates. The experienced partner wants to market his firm. He identifies with his firm’s reputation and understands the importance of the clients’ perception. And although he was never formally trained in client development, he knows what works because he has built an impressive client base on instinct alone. After all, compared to traditional marketing for corporations legal marketing is still in its infancy. The gap will be eventually close, at least half-way, because both the individuals and the firms they represent will embrace promotion to some extent.
We are all excited about the impact Teresa is having already in just a few short weeks, and look forward to seeing her bring these ideas to fruition. You can meet with Teresa on Martindale-Hubbell Connected by going to her profile.