Firstly let me acknowledge Iain Murray for identifying and highlighting a very common problem of marketing within professional service organisations “Marketing needs a bit of vetting” (MW September 4).
As the head of marketing for one of the North’s leading commercial law firms, I have some experience of managing the delicate and complex web of relationships that exist within such organisations. Although not all plain sailing, I consider myself lucky – my firm has a very forward thinking board who are decisive and proactive, and see the importance of strategic planning, and more importantly the need to delegate that responsibility to an appropriately trained manager.
Unfortunately, not all firms are as enlightened, and their commitment to marketing ranges from DIY, “a partner with an interest in” to employing a part-time girl/boy Friday to do the important things such as organising the hospitality events, placing the odd advertisement and revamping the “old brochure”. The four “P”s are demoted to one – Presumption – that marketing is but bullshit and dry ice to be wrapped around their already “excellent” service. How wrong they are. Professional firms have come a long way in a relatively short time but they are still in great need of qualified help themselves. Marketing is not a subject that anyone can turn their hand to, neither is it smart to employ an individual on a part-time basis when in reality the job requires a small team full time.
There has never been a more pressing need for this sector to look at itself and consider its relationship with customers, and therefore any firm serious about retaining its identity and purpose into the next century should be seeking out experienced marketing managers for a real challenge.
Having cut my teeth with Thomas Cook (ten years) followed by AT&T (two years) I can honestly say the past 18 months with Jacksons have been the most demanding yet rewarding of my career to date. If you’re looking for a career move, you could do a lot worse than the professional service sector.
Head of Marketing