Horizon Scanners & Story Finders: Changing roles and new skills


What does the future of BDMC in professional services look like? That’s a good question to ask ChatGPT! (According to ChatGPT: ‘As an AI language model, I can’t predict the future with certainty.’)

This is a question we have thoughts and insights about too on the back of Graham and Katie’s recent trip to Singapore, where we discussed innovation in the legal sector at two roundtables for senior leaders in the legal profession in the run up to the FT Innovation Awards. These discussions brought together CMOs, BDDs, L&D leaders and NewLaw leaders.

Whilst these insights come from discussions focused on legal, many of the themes and insights should translate across professional services and be of interest more broadly.

The burning questions for everyone we met: is generative AI and ChatGPT a threat to BDMC or an opportunity?

The consensus was mostly consistent: its impact on BDMC’s role and focus will bring many opportunities. The efficiencies gained are undeniable, and its quality of output will only get better. While the bones of content and information from ChatGPT are good, the results currently lack insight, perspective, point of view, precision, critical thinking and other important human touches. Also, it is unable to spot trends and future pipelines of work. It is also limited by publicly available content up to 2021. That said, the pace of change is fast and it is acknowledged that the technology available to us will only get better.

Whilst it is impossible to fully foresee the future, some predictions we discussed about the potential impact on roles within BDMC teams were:

  • The Story Finders: The growing quality of generative AI and ChatGPT may mean we see a shift in the role of the Communications team. They could become the ‘Story Finders’. While ChatGPT and future versions will get better at drafting great content, they will not be able to find the stories. Using a journalistic and inquisitive mindset, effective marketing comms teams will hunt down stories (in the brains of partners, told in water cooler conversations), draw insights and intel gained from human contact and develop stories and narratives that reflect their firm’s growth goals and BD objectives.
  • Horizon Scanners and topic-led messages: BD professionals must all be horizon scanners. Scanning for risks, issues and opportunities for clients and bringing a combined BD and Innovation approach in all their solutions. This reflects the shift we have seen in the past where BDMC was practice group or even jurisdiction led. Professional services firms must be geopolitically aware, sustainability champions, expert advisors in risk, ESG, data security and so on. That is, marketing and BD must spot opportunities or trends ahead and deliver topic-led messages.
  • Human-led channels: Some predict that clients and end-users will be craving authenticity and human empathy, which also will affect BDMC teams. Because ChatGPT will become an even more useful content tool, we might see a move back to human-centred content too. People may crave videos and podcasts – ways to see who is behind the messages and who can demonstrate knowledge and expertise.
  • Innovation and BDMC brought closer: With so much of innovation being connected to business growth, a close collaboration between BDMC teams and innovation teams will be critical. Some CMO’s discussed hiring Innovation experts into their team structures to aid with this and BDMC having a seat at the table and being core to strategy around Innovation was discussed as critical.

What does this all mean for BDMC roles in professional services? We are excited by the opportunities and rewarding roles ahead for professional services marketers. There are still so many ways to add value to your firms and clients and an investment in relationships will always be key. Those who are open to new roles and developing diverse skillsets to complement and elevate the power of generative AI and innovation will see sustainable and satisfying success.

Thanks for visiting our site. We’d love you to stay in touch. If you’re not ready for your next job, follow us on social media or sign up for our jobs & news so you can watch the market. When you’re ready, contact us for a confidential discussion about your next role.