Almost everyone I have spoken with - in small & medium law firms and sets of chambers - seems to be obsessed with marketing at the moment. They want everyone they hire to have a marketing background - no matter what the job is. I spoke with someone yesterday who was hiring an 'Aged Debt Manager' - and their favoured candidate was from an online marketing background. Just how good they will be at bringing in unpaid fees remains to be seen - but I bet they'll blog about it.
My - somewhat laboured - point is that, lovely as marketing people are, they need to be part of the business. And yes, lawyer - you are working in a business.
Marketing will only work properly if it forms a clear and close partnership with the business itself - and so, of course, the business needs to have an overall strategy and plan first. I've attended too many meetings with a marketing consultant selling a marketing strategy when the business had no (up to date) business strategy.
I should emphasise that this is not the fault of the marketing consultant - although it would be good if more of them would have a more holistic view of the business.
What is needed is someone - on the Board or at C-level - who does have that strategic, over-all, picture of both where the business wants to be and where it is now. They can help to ensure that the marketing strategy and plan - and they are an absolute necessity - fit properly.
I wish it was more complicated than it is...