3 Ways to Capitalize on the Partnership Between Marketing & Biz Development
February 13, 2020
In 2017, I attended the Legal Marketing Association (LMA)’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas – the first professional conference I ever attended on my own. It was the most exposure I’d ever had to leaders in the marketing industry, most of whom worked for or with the largest law firms and corporations in the world. At that point in my career, I had several years of experience working in market research, advising large brands and organizations on how to answer the big questions: what to offer, who to target and how to reach them. By then, figuring out how to position a brand or new offering was well within my comfort zone, but starting from scratch building a business and generating clients, not so much.
One of the first nuggets of wisdom I learned from the LMA conference, which I have used ever since in building my business and advising others on how to do the same, was understanding the difference between marketing and business development and how to make them work well together.
When people throw around the word “marketing”, what they really mean is, do people know who you are? As I tell clients all of the time, no one will hire you if they don’t know that you exist. The second step in this revenue generating process is establishing trust and credibility so that people hire you – that’s where the “business development” comes in. While there are many avenues to raise awareness and build relationships, I want to share three key steps that can be taken on an individual basis that marry these two concepts (which especially come in handy when you attend a conference alone like I did!).
One of the first pieces of advice I learned about marketing from my mother, Fran Griesing, is to always carry business cards. You never know who you might meet or chat with who could be a potential business connection for you. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself when having a conversation with a stranger; the majority of the time they are happy you did and will likely give you their business card in exchange. As my friends and colleagues will attest, I have handed out business cards in the most unexpected circumstances – on the New York City subway, on line waiting to go through TSA, on planes (clearly travel is a theme here!), among many other places. Moral of the story is, carry business cards wherever you go and plenty of them, even overseas!
For most working people, Linkedin serves as a digital resume and rolodex. If you aren’t using it for these purposes, it’s time that you start. Creating and maintaining a robust Linkedin profile that includes your work and volunteer experience, education and professional accomplishments, will give your profile an “All-Star” rating. What this means is that your profile is optimized and Linkedin will boost your name in searches both on and off the platform – quite literally “raising your profile”. Furthermore, connecting with the new people you meet, making relevant updates to your profile as they arise and engaging with others on the platform are all effective ways to keep you top of mind and help you develop and maintain relationships with people you have already met.
As we are all well aware, Google reigns supreme. It’s the first source most of us go to for pretty much everything – from what dry cleaner to use to the best ramen to eat to who to hire for new headshots (yes, these are all things I’ve googled recently). If your website is not current and optimized for your offerings, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity for lead generation. In addition, if someone meets you, you hand them your business card (!) and they google you only to end up on a site that is outdated or confusing or barren (or all of the above), then you’ve just lost yourself a potential client or customer. Investing in your website from the get-go will yield exponential results down the line as it is often your first or second touchstone with a new lead.
The world of marketing and business development can be a daunting one, especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, you’d be surprised at the impact that taking these first steps can have on your business. Now that I reflect on my experience at the LMA conference three years later, I’m shocked by what has come out of it. One person I met became a mentor and advocate for me, one became a subcontractor for my business, several became collaborators on speaking and writing engagements, and all of them became friends (many of whom make introductions for me and refer me business). With that, I’d like to give a shout out to LMA for being such a supportive and collaborative organization for marketers of all levels. Second, I’d like to thank my colleagues Fran Griesing and Jessica Mazzeo for guiding me and giving me the opportunity to build something new over these past four years. Third, kudos to all of you reading for committing to making these changes for yourself and your business in 2020 and beyond.