I recently ran one of the regular “Introduction to marketing and business development for secretaries and assistants” sessions for PM Forum (see http://www.pmforum.co.uk/training/) The delegates were split equally between those who worked within marketing and BD teams and those who supported a legal or accounting fee-earner.

At the end of the session I asked them what they found of most interest. There were four questions from secretaries on marketing and business development:

What is thought leadership?

We talked about the basics of thought leadership – undertaking some research into the needs of a target audience and using the results as content to drive an integrated communications campaign that might include internal communications, media relations, publications and reports, conferences and seminars and social media to position the firm, raise awareness, generate interest and prompt interaction with clients.

Further explanation is here:  http://kimtasso.com/faq/what-is-thought-leadership-and-why-is-it-so-important/

An example from the accountancy sector: http://kimtasso.com/digital-pr-case-study-bdo-accountants-service2020-megatrends-for-the-decade-ahead-and-local-government-social-media-campaign/

An example from the legal sector: http://kimtasso.com/legal-marketing-case-study-rix-kay-thought-leadership-in-the-later-life-and-care-sectors/

An example from the property sector: http://kimtasso.com/property-marketing-case-study-cbre-mipim-bears-bulls-video-social-media/

How can I support my fee-earner before and after a networking event?

Some reported that they found it difficult to know what to do to support a fee-earner to make the most of the contacts they had made at an event following some networking. We spent some time talking about CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems and how important it is to ensure that accurate information was entered as well as a variety of other information – such as sector, event, job function, where met, other links and interests – to enable effective segmentation, targeting, mailing and contact at a later date.

We also talked about adopting a campaign approach to activities. So, rather than just having a one-off event, the fee-earner worked through a process of considering his or her aims, assessing his or her current clients and contacts and sources of work, developing a compelling message and using a variety of different techniques to promote that message in the market place over a sustained period of time. This linked back to the discussion about the popularity of thought leadership (see above) which provides a focus and theme for such campaigns.

These posts take a step-by-step approach to developing a campaign:



We also talked briefly about integrating events and networking into a structured referrer management programme: http://kimtasso.com/use-the-6rs-to-generate-more-referrals/ and http://kimtasso.com/improving-referrer-management-professions-research-referrer-relationships/

How can I help my fee-earner or team use social media effectively?

The starting point here has to be to develop your own knowledge and experience of social media and to familiarise yourself with the firm’s policies and activities in the social media arena. Most legal and accounting professionals will at least use LinkedIn and many are also using Twitter.

Beyond helping your fee-earner to develop a good profile and add connections when they are made (for example after a networking event), we also talked about watching out for news from other parts of the firm to promote through your fee-earner’s social media channels.

We also identified a possible role in monitoring the social media accounts of the fee-earner’s key clients and contacts to help them remain alert to developments and to prompt them when to interact on-line and off-line.

We also built on the ideas of thought leadership and campaigns to consider how an important piece of content – such as a major research report or a substantial presentation – could be used and reused with a content marketing pyramid. For example:

Annual              Write a book, e-book, report or White Paper

Quarterly          Share presentation materials from major conference or seminars

Monthly            Produce a video or newsletter with highlights from seminars

Weekly              Write a blog linking to a topical news item

Daily                 Write status updates and tweets relating to the blogs

A useful book in this area was mentioned: http://kimtasso.com/book-review-valuable-content-marketing-by-sonja-jefferson-and-sharon-tanton/ which is particularly helpful to those in the professions.

How can I help my team rise in the search engine results?

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – is a complex topic but we reflected on the two main elements that can help improve rankings.

The first is good quality and up to date content designed to be useful to the reader. Secretaries and assistants can help identify areas of the web site that are out of date or need to be in a separate section.

We talked about how most web sites have Content Management Systems (CMS) that make it easy to highlight the key words and tags that are relevant to the search engines and, working with the digital marketing experts in the firm, even considered using tools such as Google Adwords to understand the key words that were popular.

We also talked about how regular blogs helped to maintain up to date material – and that they should include internal links to other parts of the web site. Secretaries and assistants have a valuable role to play in identifying possible topics for blogs and in prompting fee-earners to write them.

The second thing that secretaries and assistants can do is to help increase the number and quality of inbound links to the web site content. And social media has a major role to play here so reminding fee-earners to share links on LinkedIn and Twitter would be a useful role.


I’m delighted to say that at the end of the session almost half of the delegates indicated that they would investigate professional marketing qualifications with CIM: http://www.cim.co.uk/learning/qualifications/explore-all/certificate-in-professional-marketing/