Roy Sexton is the Director of Marketing at Clark Hill Law, a team of international legal advisors focused on helping businesses grow. Responsible for leading the team’s marketing, branding, and communications efforts, Roy’s 20 years of experience in the industry have fostered a passion for facilitating business growth, implementing strategies, and enhancing culture. Roy advises attorneys and has created opportunities for them to promote their practices. He serves as the President of the Legal Marketing Association International (LMA) and is the author of Reel Roy Reviews, Volumes 1 and 2.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Roy Sexton shares how he incorporates technology into the legal industry
- Why are lawyers reluctant to implement new strategies?
- How Roy encourages law firms to embrace tech innovations
- Roy’s business philosophy: Work with the willing
- How Roy introduces podcasts to attorneys — and the methods he utilizes to kickstart the process
- How to brand a global entity
- Bringing the knowledge of narrative to the legal industry — and determining which strategies elicit reactions from consumers
- Roy expresses his appreciation for social outlets and how they impact relationship building
In this episode…
People perceive the legal industry as strict and professional — but out of touch with modern mediums for connecting with consumers. As an industry that is apprehensive about incorporating technology, law firms are overlooking opportunities to expand their business. Unless its marketing strategies evolve, the legal industry risks becoming more disconnected from consumers.
Attorneys and their respective firms can stay current with trending marketing strategies while maintaining a professional presence. Roy Sexton, an experienced legal marketer, encourages attorneys to welcome technology and digital mediums into their practice as a channel for growing their client network. Leveraging podcasts and social media to communicate your brand and services is an efficient step in modernizing your marketing strategy.
In this episode of the Top Business Leaders Show, John Corcoran welcomes Roy Sexton, the Director of Marketing at Clark Hill Law, to discuss the benefits of leveraging technology and digital mediums in the legal industry. Roy also offers reasons why the industry is cautious when adopting modern marketing strategies, how he encourages legal professionals to embrace innovations, and his contribution to rebranding a global entity.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- John Corcoran on LinkedIn
- Email the team at Rise25: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Roy Sexton on LinkedIn
- Clark Hill Law
- Legal Marketing Association
- International Legal Marketing Association
- LMA Podcast
- Reel Roy Reviews
- Reel Roy Reviews: Keepin’ It Real (Volume 1) by Roy Sexton
- Reel Roy Reviews: Keep ‘Em Coming (Volume 2) by Roy Sexton
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Welcome to the Top Business Leaders Show. Powered by Rise25 media, we feature top founders, executives, and business leaders from all over the world.
John Corcoran 0:20
All right, John Corcoran. Here I am one of the CO hosts of this show. And I want to welcome you all here. Of course, if you haven’t checked out any of our archives, check them out because we got all kinds of great past interviews of smart business leaders, marketers, founders, and entrepreneurs, from companies ranging from Netflix at Kinkos, YPO, EO Activision Blizzard, and you name it. And, of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25, where we help b2b businesses to get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done-for-you podcast and content marketing, and learn about what we do at Rise25.com. And I’m really excited about today’s guests. Because, you know, as you know, I’m a recovering attorney practice law for a bunch of years. And I know how difficult they can be to work with attorneys No, no color whatsoever. And our guest is Roy Sexton. He’s a content expert, marketing expert, and president of a Legal Marketing Association. So talk about a tough job, not easy. He leads marketing branding and communications efforts for Clark Hill, a 650, Attorney top 200 Law Firm. Been around for over 100 years or so; it has gone through a bunch of acquisitions. So talk about a challenge in order to get that messaging out. So we’re going to talk about all of those different topics. That’s his formal bio, I didn’t tell him we’re going to do this. But I also want to introduce him with his more informal bio, which is his Twitter bio, which I tracked down as well, which connects neglects to mention that he’s also the published author of two other books, Reel Roy Reviews, Volumes 1 and 2. He’s a big movie nut, so we’re gonna talk about that. But according to Twitter, he is the 2023, Legal Marketing Association International, President, author, actor, strategist, writer, collector, comic book fan, movie, not singer. And I like that Bio A lot better than the former one, more truthful one. And if you’re listening to this, and not watching it on YouTube, which you should watch it on YouTube, as well, you can see it’s surrounded by a number of different Star Wars. Crap, big Star Wars fan. But Roy, let’s start with, first of all, the practice of law tends to be a rather staid profession, that tends to be prosody slow to change. And yet you’re working, you’re saying
Roy Sexton 2:38
these things, I am neither confirming nor denying, I liked that my I can pay my bills. So I don’t want to offend anybody.
John Corcoran 2:45
It’s all gone out of my mouth, not out your mouth. But you know, it’s an interesting role for you, because being president of a Legal Marketing Associate in the role that you do with Clark Hill, you know, you are in many ways at the forefront of taking an industry that has been very slow to adopt new technologies, law firms are some of the last businesses to even build websites and things like that. I know that because I’ve been in this industry for a long time. And so talk a little bit about your approach to all these things in and how you take an industry that is slow to adopt technology and convince them to do podcasts and convince them to do digital marketing and convince them to run online video and all the different tools that you know, businesses need to use in order to survive today.
Roy Sexton 3:36
All right, Aye. Aye, was born. No, I think you know, when I go back to my background, you know, I’m an only child grew up in the 70s. Very quick to kind of entertain myself and stay interested in a lot of things. But also, as such, I’m not quick, as quick to adopt a lot of things as people might believe that I am. I’m somewhere in the middle of the pack. I was a late bloomer, for sure. Through much of my youth and upbringing, I say that, because I do sometimes and I agree with your assessment. I do. And I know it was said with tongue in cheek. The legal industry is cautious about embracing new approaches sometimes frustratingly, so. But the benefit of that is you also get to see some things proven true or false. You know, I remember a year or so ago, Rudy was going Gung, Gung ho about clubhouse is going to disrupt all social media. And I tried clubhouse and I’m like, Oh, this is dumb. What am I missing? I don’t want to do this anymore. So sometimes being a bit slow out of the blocks is a benefit, but not being so slow that you miss out on the opportunity. So I think my personality is prone to it. introversion is prone to introspection I like film, we were talking about that as we were prepping. I like narrative. I like sort of consuming something and digesting and thinking about it. I think that skill set has served me well. Working with attorneys, I worked in healthcare before I switched to legal and I, you know, I traded doctors for lawyers. I’m not sure what guild I try next. But it’s a whole nother podcast. But so I think I approach the conversation with attorneys in such a way that I’m not the typical marketer that’s trying to upset everything off the bat. But I’m also opportunistic enough. And this might be the only child in me to think about the opportunity and the pain point. And I would say, uniquely, for us, the pandemic as awful as it has been, and disruptive it is, as it has been for people provided a unique opportunity for some of us who are wired to say, Let’s lean into thought leadership, let’s lean into digital marketing. It was all we had available for a good 18 months. And it did wipe the slate clean. And it also, attorneys are often quick, my mom used to say I’m snapping my fingers to keep the elephants away. There are no elephants, it’s working. attorneys will come to you and say I’ve been doing this symposium for 10 years, it’s where I get my business, really. Or I had an attorney tell me I send $15,000 worth of pies every Christmas and it keeps my clients happy. And I did say to her if your clients are only hiring you because the pies you sent and I think we have a bigger problem. But I think there’s a tendency to hang on to an activity that is a bit dated. Nobody asked you for people really taken by their own pie. Sure, football games. So when that wasn’t available, I jumped right in there and said, Well, we’ve got this thought leadership platform, we’ve got social media, and you take that moment and a culture ate the folks who need a megaphone to something that’s actually going to work better for them. And then you take those opportunities to show them how it’s working. And when you get the proof point that a client came from it, or a call was logged, or just the numbers of views, because the other thing about attorneys is they want everybody to know who they are, but they’re too shy to do it themselves. It’s a weird, it’s a weird dynamic. I want everyone to know I’m excellent at this. Well, have you told anybody? Oh, no, I can’t do that myself. So social media, part of
John Corcoran 7:13
that is rooted I think in this convoluted history that the profession has with for a long time, they couldn’t do any form of advertising. And so they’re very reluctant around that. Yeah, it
Roy Sexton 7:24
was frowned upon. So I know, that’s a very long-winded answer. Probably not getting to the heart of your question. But you know, what I heard in your question is, it is an industry that is not always prone to jump on the hottest new trend. Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily bad for us.
John Corcoran 7:40
Ya know, as you point out like clubhouse, you know, there’s a lot of people that put a ton of energy and resources and money into building up that channel. And then what good did it to do them?
Roy Sexton 7:49
And if you want to be a successful marketer, with whatever product you’re selling, I learned this working with physicians, physicians are, they’re intellectual, they’re data-driven, they are interested in taking risk-based in data. So when you’re a marketer, working with doctors, you have to approach them with enough data that they know you have been looking at it, but not so much data, they can’t ever leave the room. But also that you are trying and experimenting with different things much like they do with medications and treatments and things like that. Once I got to legal that approach didn’t work. I did. I did a client satisfaction survey at my first farm. And I’m surprised, I’m still standing. Because I didn’t check with the attorneys about the survey tool. I didn’t tell them I was doing it. I just did it because that’s how we would have done in healthcare. And I came to them with the results. And nobody wanted to talk about the results, which were pretty innocuous. The clients didn’t like the way we were answering the phone or people were getting bounced around a phone tree. Nobody wanted to talk about solutions around that they wanted to tell me I wrote the questions wrong. Who did I survey? Why did I send it? And I realized I had stepped into my first trap working in legal. Lawyers avoid risk. Doctors embrace a certain amount of risk. Once I realized that I had to shift my approach to the marketers, they don’t worry. I’m not embracing crazy new ideas like client surveys. I am figuring out the risk first. I am just as nervous as you attorney, but I will be your shield. I will be the one who goes out first with a message, and if it feels like it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to pull that back. I’ll be the first to figure out the platform right for us. I’ll figure out all the challenges with it. And then we will go live because God forbid someone should tease you at a bar association event that we’re doing something different and I often think if this happens you know we’ve done some things and I hear I was at a bar association event so and so was teasing me that we were putting our pets we camping we did four legged co-workers on LinkedIn and I after was all over someone said someone at the Bar Association was teasing one of our attorneys about that and I said good means we were doing something right. But it was attention. Yeah, but But I digress a lot Good luck editing or whatever you want to do with us after the fact. But you have to as a marketer understand that there is that tendency, their job is to avoid risk. As a marketer, we are changing by psychology and behavior and trying to get people to make a purchasing decision. So some amount of risk is required. But you have to communicate to your attorneys that you’re looking at in their best interest. And that frees you up to do a lot of things. And the other thing, I advise people who are new to this space, don’t screw up the easy stuff, because they’ll never trust you with the hard things. You know, if they need a bio update, don’t get precious about that and go, Oh, I don’t do that, or oh, that’s beneath me, make the update, take care of it. And that builds the credibility that you have to then later say, I have a challenging idea. I’ve done all this stuff. You’ve asked me, I’ve done it really? Well. I’ve earned my stripes. Now, let me take on this harder chat,
John Corcoran 10:56
if so many questions around this. So first of all, there’s this weird thing with the lawyers where they want to take marketing advice from other lawyers. I’ve never really understood it, don’t you? How do you overcome editors? How do you overcome that?
Roy Sexton 11:10
Um, you? This is a hard question to answer in a general way. Because often the way my brain works, I have to look at the very specific example. And what I also love about lawyers is they’ll say, I heard from a few people this, what can you tell me who said it? And why? Oh, no, I can’t tell you that? Well, until I know who said it, and why I can’t really understand their motivation for why they gave you that feedback. So I often will use this propensity. You know, I don’t do jujitsu or karate or anything, but they say use your opponent’s motor movement to your advantage. Yeah, I know that attorneys are fiercely competitive. I know attorneys are very insecure about what other attorneys think of them, even their own competition. So I get there first. So if I am thinking of a new idea, I look and see are other law firms doing it. Now, what I often will hear weirdly enough, if you have a new idea, they want to know if other law firms are doing it, and they’re they want to be first to be second, they’re afraid to do some versus to be second. So you have to mix and match a little bit. I also pull from other industries, if I know there’s an industry that we are interested in being seen, well,
John Corcoran 12:20
not showing that they’re doing it is a good show that they’re
Roy Sexton 12:23
doing shows that they’re adapting. I mean, I don’t get much of this anymore. But in my early days, in this space, social media was anathema to so many of the attorneys. And I get that they’re afraid that there’s content out there that later will be discoverable and be a problem. And they hear all these sorts of things. But to be absent from the conversation is a problem as well. So I also will use examples they have brought to me, I had an attorney that said at the height of the pandemic, I took people to breakfast every Tuesday. That was my marketing, what do I do? I said, we’ll go to LinkedIn. That’s the breakfast that never ends. Yeah, who were and they go, why don’t have time for that. We have time to spend an hour and a half for breakfast every Tuesday. Yeah, spend five minutes a day on LinkedIn and tell me the 10 people who matter to you and see what they’re sharing. We live in an Orwellian age, where everybody shares everything the sandwich they ate at noon. And we do that because we want someone else to see us and comment on that you have told me relationships are important to you. That’s what you take people golfing, that’s what you take people to breakfast, here’s another way to manage those relationships. And you can do it on your own time on scale, in a manageable way. So[continue to page 2]