I spent yesterday in the City with 17 young marketing and business development executives at one of my popular “Proactive Marketing Executive” training courses. As well as delegates from lawyers, accountants and architects in large and medium sized firms in London there were a group from Bristol and one from Dublin.
Over the years of presenting this course I have noticed how the quality of marketing executives has increased. Presumably as professional firms became more sophisticated in their marketing and business development activities, so has their demands on these young marketing professionals and so the calibre of them has increased significantly.
But whilst the marketing credentials and business acumen of these young people has increased immeasurably from even just five years ago, the problems they face each day sadly remain the same. Top of the list of things that they wanted to tackle was dealing with “difficult” partners – achieving the necessary buy-in and co-operation that is necessary to allow them to do their jobs properly, having the confidence to present their really very excellent ideas to resistant, busy and sometimes downright rude partners or plucking up the courage to say “No” on occasions to a deluge of petty administrative and inappropriate tasks.
My heart went out to them. But I tried to explain the very tough circumstances under which their partners operate (pressure to bill time, constantly demanding clients, keeping up to date with large amounts of new regulations, learning how to use all the new technology, the constant treadmill to recruit and train the right calibre of future fee-earners, the mountain of financial and HR administration etc) and the fact that educating, winning over and helping the partners change is the heart of what makes the life of professional services marketer both so very frustrating and challenging but oh so much more interesting and satisfying than your average marketing career.