What to Do if Your Fellow Partners are Marketing Party Poopers?

Nobody likes a party pooper! You know what I’m talking about – the person with the permanent scowl who makes it abundantly clear they’d rather be home scrubbing the toilet than be socializing with the likes of you, who projects that the party will not be fun, who sucks the fun out of a room.  When it comes to the marketing function at professional services firms, there are always one or more party poopers in the partner group. Usually, they either ignore or grumble about their senior-level colleagues’ marketing efforts and are happy to recline in their La-Z-Boys; mind their work – which is likely a book of business built, in part, by their predecessors; or coast into retirement. So what are growth-minded partners who believe in modern marketing methods and want their firms to succeed to do? Based on my 20 years of experience, here are some available options and insights on each one:
Educate Them:  Maybe some of your Partners don’t understand marketing. They think it’s just advertising, promotional items, a one-time prospect visit (with a fancy promotional item) or a direct mail campaign. Typically, they’ll engage in the one or more activities that they believe are “marketing” and that’s it (see Why Isn’t My B2B Marketing Working?). Unless they are fairly recent Partners, there’s not a lot of benefit to hosting special marketing educational classes or hiring a coach. It’s nearly impossible to change their mindset about marketing because they don’t want it changed. 
Ignore Them Completely:  I know that this is a tempting possibility as marketing believers hate to have their enthusiasm dampened. Party poopers can fast-forward a hopping function to “last call” pretty quickly. But this option doesn’t work because they are your esteemed colleagues and – for better or worse – you are all in the family together. I recommend keeping the lines of communication open and making resources available to them as long as their one-off efforts don’t derail the best practices marketing campaigns that are a part of an overall firm or niche marketing efforts. Prove Them Wrong:  Attorneys, accountants and engineers respond to solid evidence, and in today’s world many aspects of marketing can and should be measured. Every marketing plan, and the campaigns and activities within it, should have goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that enable you and your marketing professional(s) to regularly evaluate progress and results. Inbound marketing is an approach that is highly effective in the professional services sector and conducive to measurement and analysis. So don’t let your firm’s partner party poopers hold you or your firm down! Be the life of the party, shine and grow knowing that no mid-market professional services firm can stand out from the crowd and succeed into the next generation without marketing. Present your evidence. Case dismissed!

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