Having worked at a few large firms, I can say with some certainty I know a great CMO when I meet one. And my current CMO, Aleisha Gravit, sits at the top of that list.   Her guest post today is a great example of her vision and thinking on the future of CMOs in law firms. Take a look. With any luck, we’ll be hearing more from Aleisha in the future.

My friend and colleague Jennifer Manton, CMO at Loeb & Loeb, shared with me a great article, published by Deloitte Review, titled “From Mad Man to Superwoman: The inevitable rise of the chief marketing officer in the age of the empowered customer.” I am still scratching my head about the reference to Superwoman because, while maybe once dominated by females, that is no longer the case – especially in the legal industry. Maybe Superhero would have been a better analogy.

The article discusses the evolution of marketing and the CMO and how the rise in the role of the customer impacts the marketing ecosystem.  The article resonated with me because my role has evolved significantly over the last few years as a result of clients becoming more selective in their purchases of legal services and demanding more from the relationship with their outside counsel.  Philip Kotler, an influential marketing educator, said, “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.”

The article really got me thinking about the law firm CMO and how the role is evolving.  Regardless of how one defines value, for the CMO of today and tomorrow, it comes down to metrics, analytics and critical thinking—core elements of any strategy.  There is a great reference in the article to CMOs gaining credibility “not by touting taglines, but by crunching numbers.”  I love this because I have always preferred to work with something tangible as opposed to ethereal.

Consider a book: the raw data/metrics are just words on the page.  Only when you begin to analyze them by looking for trends, outliers, gaps, etc, do they come alive and provide context for what is/might be occurring in the story/client relationship.  The data provides a backdrop to engage in conversations with lawyers and clients alike about the overall relationship; where, and if, it needs improving; and how to accomplish that in a mutually beneficial manner.  That’s adding value.

Are we on the verge of change in how the marketing ecosystem works within law firms?  Will firms and CMOs alike seek out more differentiation between traditional marcom and strategy?   Only time will tell.  In the meantime…read the article.