“Our better angels.” Been thinking this morning about why and how Joe Biden‘s speech last night resonated as much as it did.
Personally, he reminded me a lot of my late, beloved grandfather Roy Duncan for whom I was named and of my mother Susie Sexton who has been such a guiding light and motivating force in my life to be good, to do good, to be ever in the moment, and to abhor bullies. Much like they, Joe has also lived through a lot of pain and a lot of disappointment and more than a few closed doors.
You see it in his eyes, which are etched with heartache yet still glint with awe and a bit of good-natured mischief. You hear it in his voice, which is earnest, forceful, and unadorned. You sense it in his words and the way he collects his thoughts, which are direct, thoughtful, broad, and inclusive. You see it in the labor he is bringing to the speech itself, energized to say what he feels deep in his bones and perhaps a bit uncertain of how a mercurial audience may be receiving his intent.
I admit I cried happy tears – more than a few – listening to him last night. And I woke up with hope and excitement for the future for the first time in what feels like a long while. To me, at least, it was a speech for the ages. Apolitical, genuine, fiery, yet gracious. A little boy from Scranton was clearly honored to have made it through the gauntlet, to have his voice validated, and to reach the pinnacle of a long and difficult life. We all can take inspiration from that.
Meet Roy Sexton — Roy and his husband, John Mola are two of the most multi-talented, community-minded, and kindest professionals I have ever met!
Roy is the Director of Marketing at Clark Hill Law, a 650-attorney #lawfirm with 25 offices across the US, Mexico, and Europe. He also serves as a board member for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Ann Arbor, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, and Legal Marketing Association – LMA International.
Roy is a non-stop giver who regularly uses his social media platforms and reach to raise awareness and money for the various charities and causes he supports.
He holds a degree in Theatre from Wabash College, a Master’s Degree in Theatre from The Ohio State University, and an MBA from University of Michigan-Flint. Roy continues to entertain audiences with his acting and singing, and applies those skills as an emcee for various charity events across the Midwest.
In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Roy Sexton discuss: Defining business development and marketing, the relationship is between the two, and how best to integrate them. Listening to the coaches you bring in until it is built and hardwired into your DNA. Getting the full value out of your content and of social media. Being engaged in the social media community.
Key Takeaways: Marketing shows you where the door is, business development helps you walk through it. The business development technique you hold near and dear is not a silver bullet. It’s what you do with it. It’s how you develop relationships and how you build a book of business. With commitment, there is growth. Business development is a learned thing – you just have to stick to the regiment. The days of being able to avoid social media are over.
“We call it a rule of three. If you’re speaking somewhere or you’ve written something, you’ve three bites at the apple on social media to promote that, at minimum. There’s the time leading up to the webinar you’re about to promote and promote that more than once.” — Roy Sexton
We had so much fun getting to know Roy Sexton! Legal marketer, thought leader, community leader, writer, actor and singer Roy Sexton talks to us about personal branding, standing out on social media, and thriving through authenticity.
Roy also shares why he prioritizes having creative outlets outside of work. We completely agree!
He credits his success to so many legal marketers we admire such as Nancy Leyes Myrland, Heather Morse-Geller, Renee Branson, Gail Porter Lamarche, Gina Furia Rubel, Lindsay Griffiths, Laura Toledo, and Brenda Plowman. Plus, shout outs to Susie Sexton and Beth Kennedy.
Also, Roy and Jennifer Petrone Dezso need to be friends since they both love Sweeney Todd!
Best dressed?! Only in quarantine! Thank you, ALM Media, LLCs Amy Newman, who emailed and made my day:
I’m delighted to tell you we decided you are our winner of our Best Selfie/Best Dressed competition from Friday’s event [Legal Week #LegalInnovationAwards virtual ceremony]! Not only did you send in a great photo, your activity and involvement throughout the announcement was greatly appreciated!
My pleasure! First (and likely last) time I’ll ever make such a list! 🥰 🤵
Live from … YouTube? Rob Kates of Kates Media writes: “Today on Legal Marketing Coffee Talk, we enjoyed a heartwarming chat with Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing at Clark Hill, who talks about #StayHome and offers some words of wisdom for marketing a law firm in these challenging times. Join us daily for Legal Marketing Coffee Talk with Stefanie Marrone, 2pm EST daily on Facebook.” ❤️ Thank you, both.
POSTSCRIPT… In less than 24 hours, I’ve become quite the quarantine streaming talk show raconteur. 😂 I feel like Richard Dawson or Bert Convey. #genxjoke – thank you, wonderful Brenda Zawacki Meller of Meller Marketing, for this (just received) invite! 🥧
VIDEO: Do you love Sinatra, Bennett, Darin, King Cole? Journey into a night club where every musical era is represented – swing, jazz, big band, lounge, Rat Pack and more. Enjoy this video of “Live from the Starlight Lounge,” our event this February that raised $23,000 for American Cancer Society.
I am offering this list of tips that I myself may be failing to follow. I’m putting them in writing in the hopes that they will become a script for me to hang onto my sanity in these troubling times … as we all suddenly find ourselves in the strange predicament of feeling trapped in our own homes, working remotely, uncertain of how long this will last and what effect it will have on the future:
– switch off social media – connection is important. A steady diet of anxiety, judgment, and fear? Not so much.
– tune out that competitive spirit and any voices (real or imagined) saying you aren’t doing enough. Right now staying healthy and taking care of one another? That is PLENTY.
– avoid people who are using this crisis as a platform to further their own ambitions. ‘Nuff said.
– turn off and disconnect. Keep reasonable hours. Yes, you may be saving on commuting time by working in your basement, but that doesn’t mean putting in 12 hour days. Turn work off, read a book, watch a movie, walk the dog, recharge.
– don’t get in arguments with know-it-alls. None of us know how this story ends. Be calm, be gracious, walk away from trolls.
– from a work perspective, be sensitive to the burdens everyone is carrying. We need to stay the course on projects that will need our attention when this crisis has passed, while communicating information that our colleagues and clients actually need in this moment. We don’t need to be the source of ALL information on this crisis. There are a lot of other people who are doing that better than we are. Share information that is relevant and appropriate.
– most of all. Be kind. To yourself. To others. To this world.
Very proud of the below recognition… happened beforeall hell broke loose …
Clark Hill has grown from a regional US firm, to an international firm with 25 offices. Marketing and Business Development was no longer fit for purpose.
They embarked on an ambitious initiative to completely re-imagine their marketing function and make the most of their global potential, through a very clear and comprehensive design of the department and how it has impact as a cohesive central function for the firm.
The judges were particularly impressed by the scale of their research and project commitment, how they achieved buy-in at every level and how they have creatively used data and technology in the delivery and measurement of marketing success, and achieved remarkable results.
Winner’s quote: “We are thrilled and honoured to be recognized by Managing Partners Forum for the strategic and operational transformation of the Marketing and Business Development Department. This initiative was achieved by incredible multi-stakeholder collaboration, the design of an innovative technical infrastructure; and the implementation of a flexible, defined process. A key focus was the capture, organisation and analysis of data which brings a new layer to our firm’s competitive edge.” – Susan Ahern, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Clark Hill
So proud of my mom Susie Sexton, whose writing will be featured – for the fourth year in a row! – in the Henry Ford Centennial Library / Dearborn Public Library “Big Read” collection. This ecologically inspired edition is entitled “Tree Anthology.” (Her photo was even featured as the cover on the library’s inaugural edition, inspired by “Call of the Wild.”)
From the library publishers: Congratulations ! Thank you for submitting to the Big Read call for nature stories, poems, or essays. Your work will be included in the forthcoming tree anthology. Please check this page for updates on the book: https://lnkd.in/eYXugVe … We hope you can attend the NEA Big Read Kick-off on Saturday, March 7, 11 a.m. at The Henry Ford, Anderson Theater, 20900 Oakwood Blvd: https://lnkd.in/eTNy-KN
From The Post & Mail/BroadwayWorld: author Susie Sexton will be featured in the upcoming Henry Ford Centennial Library “Big Read” Tree Anthology. The book will be available for purchase on Amazon. Sexton’s work was published in the organization’s prior three “Big Read” collections Call of the Wild Dearborn: Animal Tales (also providing the photographic cover art), Dreaming Dreams No Mortal Ever Dared to Dream Before, and What’s In A Name? The program has been running since 2014, yielding four collections in that time, and Sexton has been included in each edition.
The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. For a fourth time, Dearborn Public Library is one of 75 organizations nationwide that received this grant to host a Big Read program in their community. Tree Anthology focuses on nature and ecology as primary themes.
Viewed PARASITE…what do I think? I dunno? At all. But Academy Award winner? WTF? Beyond me how that happened. Gonna take me three days to forget it?
I think I kinda hated it to pieces? I’d like to feel happy now and then? Or at least englightened and hopeful? This was uneven and tricksterish and grim and odd… I see a point to it all, but I already am just bright enough to have known the point without sitting still for three hours reading dialogue stream underneath humans attempting to act out some message or other? Naughty me?
The tried and true theme of class collisions and the very worst of humanity and its general cluelessness and victimization and nuttiness and self-centeredness. Who needs to wallow in it? Bad enough on a daily level. It exists everywhere even in living rooms across the globe if people are lucky enough to have living rooms? JOKER got the message across much more provocatively and, hopefully, meaningfully and artistically? How in the world this incarnation of misery bounced onto the scene and into consciousness and got multiple film awards is totally puzzling.
Some of the stuff I have loved over a half century does not always hold up I admit…but hey, slop is slop…manipulation I resent from young film makers, and I felt manipulated? And I would have if this thing debuted years ago…and it could have…sorta? How about THE GREAT GATSBY which I do NOT adore…but it serves the purpose fine?
Hallelujah… I do not feel so nuts now that I think I hated this thing? I am usually not this critical. A movie is a movie until they go to odd extremes?
P.S. James Corden said the week after the Oscars he was enjoying listening to all the people who pretended to watch it. I thought that was cute. I forgot to share that. I damn near gave up on it early on…and later on as well? Ha!
Honored to be included in fSquared Marketing’s “Top Trends for Law Firm Marketing in 2020 and Beyond.” Thanks to Lynn Foley for the invite. Looking forward to diving into the insightful contributions here from Lynn, Lloyd Pearson , Jessica Jaramillo , Darryl Cross , Trish Desilets Lilley , Derek Jones , Meghan Spradling , M. Ashraf Lakhani , Pamela Foster , Gordon Donnelly , and Bree Buchanan .
From the publication’s introduction: “The truth is that the core principles of legal marketing have not changed: client service, personal connections, lawyer-lead thought leadership, relationship building, interpreting the available information and using those insights to drive action. As Roy Sexton writes in his article: ‘The new trends in legal marketing remain the things we should have all been doing in the first place.’ … The best way to predict the future, and succeed in the present, is to understand why the fundamentals of the past worked. You’ll find plenty of ideas for how to build on that foundation in this year’s Trends.”
“Don’t throw the past away/You might need it some rainy day./Dreams can come true again/When everything old is new again“ – lyrics from the song “Everything Old is New Again” by Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen (performed by the latter)
Perhaps it is a function of my age as I barrel toward the mid-century mark, but the new trends in legal marketing remain the things we should have all been doing in the first place. Prior to entering the legal space in 2011, I spent over a decade in a consumer-facing industry – health care – that, like legal, sells a human “product”: in healthcare’s case, the wit and wisdom and technical proficiency of doctors and other clinicians.
Healthcare is not necessarily known for its progressive approach to messaging, branding, advertising, or sales, and, yet, I find it gobsmacking that, in legal, we still don’t speak in some very basic marketing terms that I learned on day one in healthcare: for instance, presence, reach, awareness, leads.
We don’t measure these things the way other industries have (for decades), and, too often, our KPIs still feel reactionary in nature. Checkbook accounting if you will … or laggingindicators to borrow from our Six Sigma friends. For example, we tout proposals and pitches generated, won, lost, or simply flushed down a well, or we throw every resource but the kitchen sink at collecting outstanding revenue. Yet, the ideas of audience growth, developing a following, and true lead generation still appear to be a glorious mystery to much of our industry.
Heavens, I sound like a cranky neighbor throwing rocks from his front porch. I don’t mean to sound so cantankerous. Truth is, I’m as much of the problem here as anyone else.
So, with that said, what trends do we need to embrace in 2020? Well, this won’t sound very sexy as I’m not about to push for new tech or shiny new toys. We need to embrace storytelling. We need to understand the brand narrative. What does your firm believe in? What is its commitment to community? To clients? What is your unique value proposition? And, nope, that can’t read as “great service, smart people, at a fabulous price.” Everyone is saying some version of that.
Get specific. Be real. We have amazing tools at our fingertips in this digital landscape (ok, maybe I am getting a bit tech-y) to pull back the curtains on our respective organizations and let clients – existing and prospective – see the inner workings of our firms. And polish and panache won’t seal the deal. Authenticity, relatability, immediacy, outcomes will. Grow an audience, develop a following, and measure the heck out of every touch point those people have with your marketing content and with your practitioners.
Those organizations with our business in their sights have a very clear brand narrative: Deloitte. EY. KPMG. PwC. Everyone knows who they are and what they do. Long ago, with basically the same business model as legal, these companies were able to overcome the confederacy of voices that derail and dilute most firms’ market voices. They clearly articulate value, competencies, and brand, and they run themselves as businesses, not as wobbly democracies. They realize that a cohesive brand does not detract from but rather enhances the visibility of individual practitioners and, more importantly, their ability to win business.
The firms that can borrow from that playbook, march in lockstep, and land a coherent and, I repeat, accessible brand message will ride high through what is likely to be a tumultuous path for the legal industry.
I’ll be sitting on my front porch with a pail of stones.
New clients can appear at any time, and once-promising prospects can disappear just as quickly. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing plan, there are steps that will generate results.
The time to plan is before your business slows, according to John Reed, consultant, strategist and founder of Rain BDM.
If you don’t have a plan in place, “prepare for another lawyer to come along and eat your lunch,” he said. “Unless you are absolutely certain your clients will be clients for life, you can’t afford not to invest in business development and personal marketing activities.”
Roy Sexton, director of marketing at Clark Hill PLC, said attorneys need to build a plan instead of waiting until the roof caves in.
“Sit down with a blank page with your marketing team first, and map out a plan together,” he said. “Setting two or three top-line annual goals, and then figuring out the quarterly activity to accomplish is the best blend here.”
Mark Winter, president and founding partner of Identity, agreed, adding that marketing is a process, not an event.
“It takes discipline, commitment and continuity in execution,” he noted. “Build a five-year vision, a one-year plan, and set quarterly goals that pulse towards those longer-term objectives.”
Reed said smart attorneys and firms manage and update their plans often so they can be properly positioned when new business emerges.
“Make a date with your plan at least every month, modifying and pivoting as needed,” he said. “Don’t just keep it on your computer — print it out, mark it up, and keep it on your desk or pinned to your wall to ensure you refer to it regularly.”
Winter added that effective marketing plans are those that can scale up and down based on the attorney’s or firm’s capacity.
“There is no shortage of well-thought-out marketing plans on shelves and in drawers in firms big and small,” he said. “But it should never go dormant. We know how the pendulum can swing.”
Content is key
Key to developing your marketing plan is creating — and strategically sharing — content, which enables attorneys and firms to have a much larger, yet targeted, focus.
“Get interviewed for articles or write thought leadership and distribute that content to local media outlets, to clients directly, and on social media,” Sexton said.
However, some attorneys may find it challenging to post regularly, or even to develop their social media “voice.” When sharing content, it’s important to be mindful of exactly what message you’re sending.
“No matter what content lawyers share, they should make sure it reflects their brands — what they want to be known and valued for,” Reed stated. “Social networks give anyone a microphone to criticize, vent, or rant. Lawyers need to resist that temptation.”
When sharing content on social media, know your audience.
“The area in which we have seen professional service providers get into trouble is when they post or comment on controversial or polarizing subjects,” Winter said. “You need to weigh how important it is for you to use a public tool to share or reaffirm your personal values.”
Because content plays such a large role in legal marketing, it should be tailored for different audiences, whether they read, view, or listen to it.
“Video will become an even larger component of firm branding and attorneys’ personal marketing efforts,” Reed said. “Also, look for corporate social responsibility — lawyers and law firms giving back — to become a cornerstone of their marketing plans.”
Sexton added that demonstrating corporate responsibility and community engagement is essential for any successful campaign.
“Clients assume you’re a good lawyer, but they also want to know you’re a decent human being with whom they will have a good working relationship,” he said.
Younger attorneys may have an advantage when it comes to leveraging modern methods of connecting and communicating.
“As we continue to see the positive influence of millennials on the corporate conversation, it is increasingly important to embrace our common humanity,” Sexton said. “Regardless the platform you use to share that information, the basics of good storytelling and marketing still apply.”
Winter said firms should pay attention.
“The challenge and opportunity will be for the older lawyers running the firms to listen, lean in and let their younger counterparts integrate new tools into older firms,” Winter said. “If you do, you will see great results. If you don’t, you will not only get passed by, you may lose your young superstars to firms that will.”
Social media savvy
Social media, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, is an important part of every attorney’s marketing toolkit.
While each platform has its selling points, too often, they aren’t being used to their full potential.
“LinkedIn is the best platform for lawyers but not for the reason that most attorneys think,” Winter said. “LinkedIn is a massive search engine, but most lawyers look at it simply as a newsfeed. If leveraged correctly, it is by far the best prospecting and referring tool available to a service professional today.”
Sexton likened social media to a “mixer that never ends,” noting that attorneys can engage with the people they want to reach. He added that social media interactions should be no different than sitting in a boardroom or hanging out on a golf course.
“Courtesy and social etiquette should always apply, regardless the venue,” he said. “For everything you promote about yourself, comment on someone else’s work, acknowledge them, or share their accomplishments. You’ll be surprised how far that will get you.”
Marketing and business development are like any other skills: they may come naturally to some but are dreaded by others.
The best approach, Sexton said, is the simple one: Be authentic.
“Don’t try to be all things to all people,” he said. “Too many attorneys make the mistake of thinking their bio has to represent any possible task they could take on. At worst, it gives the impression you will say or do anything to land a client. People don’t respond well to that.”
Perhaps the best way to present your authentic self to potential clients is through relationship building.
“Building relationships with prospective clients, referral sources, and other influencers should always be at the top of a lawyer’s business development activities,” Reed said. “Fostering connections is still the best way to become top-of-mind with those who may hire or refer you.”
Winter agreed, adding that while he uses a blend of old-school and new technologies with his clients, he keeps this simple adage in mind: People hire and do business with people they like.
“No ad or marketing tool can replace the ability to connect at a personal level,” he noted. “Nothing beats building and maintaining strong relationships with decision-makers, connectors and influencers.”
If you would like to comment on this story, email Kelly Caplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.