Vision 2020 - Mandy Reynolds April 2013
Name: Mandy Reynolds
Current role: Director of Marketing at Stephens Scown LLP
Previous experience: Started my career in PR working for advertising agencies then moved to KPMG where I stayed for 10 years taking up various regional and national marketing roles.
1. The pearl: What is the most valuable bit of wisdom you have gained during your career?
That internal marketing is just as important as external marketing. Take the time to educate others on the benefits of marketing and demonstrate where we can add value. I suppose I have had this instilled right from the start of my career working for agencies where you have to justify your fees, then for an accountancy firm where they were interested in tangibles and return on investment.
2. What do you consider the biggest frustration, working within Professional Service Firms?
I think it has to be that some lawyers & accountants are still transactionally focused – the work comes to an end and so does the relationship. It’s a mind-set and culture change that’s needed. They need to think more holistically about the client, understand their business more, introduce colleagues who might be able to help them, take the time to stay in touch and really make an effort to build the relationship.
3. What is the biggest change in professional marketing in the last 5 years?
I believe that the way marketing and business development is viewed has changed enormously. There’s more understanding and recognition of our role and it’s not just limited to larger firms. Marketing now is often represented at Board level which means you can provide a different perspective and ultimately influence strategic decisions.
4. What are your priorities for the next 12 months?
We are focusing on client service and how we can improve. This encompasses a number of different aspects but we’ve done some mystery shopping to get that external perspective (which I can highly recommend) and we’ve also done some more in-depth client service reviews to dig a little deeper. I’m working with teams across the firm from receptionists to Partners to pull together an action plan of improvements. As part of this we are also looking at client relationship programmes and promoting our exceptional client service stories.
5. Any red herrings – marketing ideas and initiatives that are not going to deliver on the hype?
Apps – if jumping on the bandwagon and creating one for the wrong reasons. I’m a fan of new technology and we have produced one ourselves, not a legal service, but as part of a wider remit to promote the food and drink sector (Foodfinder SW). I know a number of marketers who are under pressure from Partners to produce an App because they think they should have one and it’s never a good idea to produce one just for the sake of it. In the end it simply devalues the technology and wastes a lot of time, effort and money.
6. Any organisations you admire - and why?
Lots as I think it is useful to look outside of professional services firms for innovative ideas and good examples of business development and marketing. I like the direct marketing done by First Direct; Compare the Market and ‘Compare the Meerkat’ was just inspired; Orange has a track record of good internal communications and I think JKR does some really clever branding and packaging for its clients.
7. Market achievement that you are most proud of (individual or firm level)?
I think the best moment was winning the Managing Partners’ Forum European Award for a marketing initiative – we are a small team so it meant a lot to have that recognition. It was for the launch of a dedicated team of lawyers servicing the food & drink sector and included a marketing campaign and a business development programme delivered by Peter Kane. The icing on the cake was that I got to kiss Colin Jackson!
8. Where do you think firms in your sector will be investing most in 2020?
IT will be key to any firm’s future not just in terms of communicating with clients but also back office systems and processes.
9. What is going to be the most exciting industry sector in the next 5 years?
Technology and life sciences although much depends on the grants given to universities and access to funding. There are some amazing start-ups from innovation centres and business parks but the trick is spotting and backing the winners.
10. What global region do you think will fly?
I think it’s likely to be India.
11. What will happen to marketing and BD salaries?
I hope that they will increase as marketing and BD become more valued. It’s really hard to find good staff and decent marketers who can deliver as well as talk a good game. So I think firms will be prepared to pay more for those that have achieved and can prove it.
12. And finally …when I am not at work I like to …
Spend time with my lovely husband and two daughters. We are very lucky to live in Devon by the sea with some amazing walks and cycle paths on our doorstep. And this year, inspired by Strictly, I’m hoping to start dancing – my husband just needs a little more persuading!