September 3, 2009|Kim's Blog, Marketing, Strategy|

Last night I braved the miserable weather and trundled along to the offices of Kingsley Napley lawyers to attend a Professional Marketing Forum meeting entitled “Assisting Management – the role of marketing in influencing the Board”.

Two senior non-marketers presented their thoughts.

The first presentation was by an incredibly young-looking Sacha Romanovitch – a qualified auditor who managed the growth of Grant Thornton’s London office to become a £60m turnover business in five years and is now a member of the firm’s National Leadership Board with the HR portfolio.

She started by extolling the virtues of being excited by your work and thus creating an impetus for change. She stressed that, like everyone in business, the primary function of marketers to support the Board members who are there to drive business performance. She suggested that you challenge everything you do with the question “How is this contributing to improved business performance?”

With a short reference to the Tim Wilson’s model of professional firm success drivers (quality people -> quality product -> quality clients -> reputation) she encouraged marketers to look beyond their traditional role in clients and reputation to look at people and product too.

She suggested that a key contribution was in marketers reviewing the selling expertise and efficiency within a firm and advising on the business structures, people recruited and reward systems to support cross-selling. She also saw value in marketers advising on whether proposed investment projects should receive a green, amber (more research needed) or red light. And with advice that is likely to cause consternation amongst partners, she said that marketers need to stop “doing” things just because partners want them to.

Next up was Jonathan Clelland of Hermitage Associates who was formerly a COO in financial and professional service firms. He argued that the managing partner had to be the principal marketer and needed to create space for marketing on the Board’s agenda. He said that ownership of clients and business development activity was a key area of focus for marketers and advised that it is most effective when marketers gather and present information for partners to form their own conclusions.

He spent some time explaining how marketers should look critically at what a firm is selling (and urged marketers to develop their technical product knowledge) and to focus on exploring the quality of service and client needs – and to therefore take control of the client research programme.