The GRL Blog

Marketing Post COVID – IBC Virtual Conference 2020

I had the great pleasure of hosting a session at this year’s IBC (Institute of Barristers’ Clerks) Annual Conference, which of course took place online.  It was an insightful event and I want to share some of the key points.

I was delighted to be able to welcome and pick the brains of such a formidable panel:

  • Hayley Eustace – Marketing and BD Manager, Willberforce Chambers
  • Phil Desmondez – Marketing Manager, Old Square Chambers
  • Marie Sparkes – BD and Marketing Manager, Keating Chambers

 

We started by considering the evolving nature of marketing and BD and the importance of changing and evolving strategies.  

Phil confirmed that although his strategy had not really changed significantly, there had been substantial changes in the way it was being delivered, with much greater flexibility now required.

Marie picked up on the significant increase in virtual content and how important it is to ensure you stand out.  She highlighted that in a market saturated with content, her own approach has been to be as tailored and client focused as possible.

Hayley spoke about the importance of staying on top of regulations, highlighting how these were constantly changing. Plus, the real importance of regularity, especially while industry events are not taking place.

 

We then moved on to discuss Relationships and Networking and trying to understand the changes imposed by not being able to move freely.

Hayley identified how this had evolved from the initial rush of Zoom coffees, to a far more creative approach (Drag Queen Bingo anyone?).  She has also seen a more personal approach with many more individual phone catch ups rather than using Zoom for one-on-one networking.

Marie expected International travel to begin to resume but felt this would not return to the way or level it had been previously.  She expects a move towards travelling to clients to represent a more structured cycle in conjunction with online and virtual events.  Phil’s view was that he expected significant domestic travel to increase and identified the real benefits of direct client contact.

 

I then asked the panel to identify what had worked well during the pandemic period? And potentially not so well?

Phil had been impressed by the way in which barristers had really engaged with and embraced new technology, which he felt had also led to a more general change of mindset, another very positive outcome.

For Hayley, the success of webinars and their reach had been a major achievement and specifically their interactive nature and the ability they provide to connect with so many different clients.

Marie talked about Corporate Social Responsibility and how important and engaging this had been. She also underlined the success she had seen in the variety of news and information that her set had pushed out.  She highlighted how a video of one of her colleagues singing in a choir had received significant online traffic, making the point that identifying anything that keeps you/the business ‘visible’ can be positive.

 

With so much market change it was also important to ask the panel for their views on the skillset required for the modern Marketeer and BD professional. 

For Hayley, the ability to analyse and measure data had become vital and its importance would continue to grow. Marie talked about creativity and the need to stand out.  So, having a team or individuals with varied skill sets, particularly design, is important. Phil highlighted the need for effective communication, which became a significant underlying point throughout the session.

 

I then asked the panel to reveal their top tips for staying ahead.

Marie discussed the importance of rehearsals, lighting, microphones and ensuring the tech worked properly – where events had moved online this part of the process was falling to the marketing and BD teams who needed to develop the skills and quickly.

Hayley spoke about the courses being run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and her own experience which had been very positive.  The organisation also offering extensive resource for anyone operating in this area.

Phil mentioned the Marketing In Chambers Group (MICG), a designated network for those providing marketing services at the Bar, inviting relevant people those undertaking marketing or BD functions at the Bar to consider joining – contact Phil, Hayley or Marie directly.

 

Questions?

The panel then expertly answered questions from the audience including budgets and budgetary control, plagiarism, changing requirements of BD roles and several others.

I can only thank the IBC for letting me play host and also thank the brilliant panel who made this possible through their willingness to participate.

Best wishes to all.

Nick.

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