Q&A with Jennifer Manton

Interview with Jennifer Manton
February 2011

Tell us a little about your career in legal marketing.

As Loeb & Loeb’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jennifer Manton leads the firm’s marketing and business development initiatives. In 2010, Ms Manton expanded upon the marketing and business development function to include practice management and professional development allowing for greater collaboration, effectiveness and efficiency in providing strategic guidance and support to the firm’s attorneys in these important areas.

Ms. Manton works closely with the firm’s multidisciplinary industry and practice groups on developing and implementing marketing and business development plans, and oversees efforts to expand and improve relationships with existing clients, and to engage new clients.

Ms. Manton also manages all aspects of the firm’s branding and marketing strategy, including media relations, advertising, and online marketing efforts, as well as internal and external communications.

Why do you enjoy what you do?

The variety and challenge of legal marketing are what keep me looking forward to coming to work everyday. From coaching Partners for client interviews to working on a new video tribute to our Chairman, this job keeps me engaged and excited to see what new challenges I’ll be able to tackle.

How has legal marketing changed since you started in the field?

When I entered the field, there was recognition of the value that business development, marketing and professional development could bring to law firms. At this point, these internal services are not just valued but truly needed. The firms’ clients are becoming more business savvy and there is greater competition in the industry which is forcing firms to distinguish themselves. Law firms are starting to define their strategic niche, solidify their brands and differentiate themselves from other firms in a way we have not seen before. As the industry and economy changes, firms are relying more heavily on the value that strong marketing departments can add and the impact they can have on generating new business.

What traits do you look for when hiring someone for your team?

The first thing I look for is someone who has a proven record of success and effecting change. It is not enough for a candidate to talk about possessing certain characteristics; what I look for are concrete examples of times when the candidate used those traits to achieve a goal. Specifically, employees with strong writing skills and experience collaborating stand out to me. I also look for independent thinkers rather than just “order fillers”. It is essential that employees think critically about our work and actively participate on the team.

What skills do marketing professional need today?

The types of skills that marketing professionals need today has certainly evolved since I started in the field. Today, I would say strong project management skills and an understanding of budgeting are both critical for success. Being able to manage a team, delegate responsibilities and ensure the timely and successful completion of projects is essential as marketing expands in various directions. Budgeting has also become more important in this challenging market. It is more important than ever that marketing professionals understand the financial side of the law practice. Understanding how much it costs to render various services enables marketing professionals to best serve both their clients and their firm.

What tips would you offer a new hire on how to make a good impression in the first 90 days?

The best way for a new hire to make a good impression is by being an active listener during the initial weeks in a new position. Active listening is important on many different levels from understanding processes and procedures to learning the culture and climate of a new workplace.

I remember being particularly impressed by one employee who went out of her way to spend half an hour with each member of her department. She got to know each person’s function and how it related to her role. Not only did she become more familiar with the structure and functions of the department, she also used this experience to start forging strong professional relationships from the very start of her time with the firm. With the knowledge and relationships she gained from this exercise, she was able to pick-up on nuances and be valuable to our department quickly.