Sarah Doroff

about this episode

Communications Director (and Todd-wrangler) Sarah Doroff talks about how her background in fashion informed how she approached her marketing job at Burnham Law, as well as how having top attorney talent and a healthy marketing budget make her job so enjoyable.

episode transcribed

Todd Burnham 0:00
Hi, this is Todd Burnham. I am a licensed practicing attorney. But just because you're listening to me doesn't mean that I represent you. This is for informational purposes only if you're good with that, then let's roll.

Chris Braden 0:19
Season One was about how Todd Burnham started Burnham Law in his basement and built it to one of the most prestigious law firms in Colorado by thinking outside of the box and surrounding himself with the best lawyers and staff in the industry. Now during a pandemic Burnham Law is still growing. How you ask? Walk toward the storm and face it head on and you empower the people that help get you there. It's time to execute. It's time to make some lemonade. It's time to burn the ships. This is Deep Bench with Todd Burnham. This is Deep Bench, but guess what? It's not with Todd Burnham. today. We're with Sarah Doroff. And Sarah, I don't know your title. But I think your title is partially wrangling Todd Burnham. Would you agree with that?

Sarah Doroff 1:13
Yeah. Todd Wrangler is really is what they call me, senior senior Todd Wrangler? No, I'm the Communications Director. So that's nice and vague.

Chris Braden 1:22
Yeah. So that means you have a lot of hats. And I'll tell you this, when we started this Deep Bench podcast, you know, obviously, I talked to Todd, but then a lot of stuff I have to talk to you with. And you were really instrumental in getting these these podcasts going. I know it was Todd's vision. But you and I talked about the format and kind of how we were going to do this is that kind of what you do with every vendor, whether it's your SEO guy and stuff, it's like, okay, Todd's got a vision. And now it's your job to kind of implement that vision and maybe kind of temper some of the expectations and things like that.

Sarah Doroff 2:03
I think that's part of it. Sure. I'm definitely the point person for any marketing initiative for the website design, any content that we put out there. And so yes, I mean, at its core, it it is certainly Todd's vision. But there, you know, a lot of people contribute as well, at this point. And I think that one of the great things about Todd is that he has no ego around his ideas, and he's always open to hearing someone else's, if they think if if there might be a better idea, he's totally open. He's not unwilling to hear anyone's idea.

Chris Braden 2:45
So yeah, so you guys have some great way to collaborate. And I will tell you on this, you and I have worked on like some other projects. And I really appreciate the feedback that you give me on what I'm doing, you know, whether it was the videos or anything, because you don't know unless you know, someone's got to tell you. And I think that's really I mean, I don't want to diminish what you do. Because I know your job is a lot more than wrangling Todd or talking about his vision, you do a lot of other things. But I think you really do a good job with like, I know, I'll just give an example of the book. Todd's putting together this book, and I've watched the emails go back and forth. And your input on that is really good.

Sarah Doroff 3:32
Well, thanks. Yeah, I mean, he I give my opinion. And I think I see things. We all see things from our own vantage point. And so I think it's really helpful to have a few different people say, Well, this is what that sounds like, to me. Here's what I think is missing. This is what I see. When I'm reading this, or when I see you. This is what I'm hearing. So I know that I'm definitely Todd values that from me. So yeah, it's been really it's been really fun. It's been a fun ride. You know, when I started at Burnham, I was initially, so Todd's my brother in law. My husband, Aaron, is his wife, Katy's brother, so I guess brother in law once removed, I don't know what the technical term is. Yep. But I was gonna do client development. Initially, I had been home with the kids for a few years, my backgrounds in Fashion Merchandising, and wholesale sales in New York. I don't have a marketing background by any means. And Todd called one day and was like, we, you know, our client development person is leaving, we need to hire someone, like are you interested? And I kind of had, you know, what was wanting to get back to work and I said, sure, like, let's try that. And I think it was, you know, like, less than 24 hours before I was gonna start that job. He said, Actually, nevermind, I don't want you doing that. You're gonna come and do marketing instead. That's what I really need. I can't do this by myself anymore. I really I think I think I really want you to do the marketing. I said, Alright, like, sure I'll do, I can do that too. And, you know, I give him credit for seeing that that would have that that was a better fit for me, rather than sort of interfacing with our clients all day long, which I think would not have been.

Chris Braden 5:24
Wouldn't have been ideal?

Sarah Doroff 5:24
Yeah, he's very good at seeing the talent and skills in people that people might not even realize, and bringing them in to do something really, because of their personality and their core character. And not because they have necessarily that related experience. He's really good at seeing them people and bringing people and putting them in positions where they're going to succeed, based on what their true skills and talents are. And I don't know, I think few people have that. Can see that in people like Todd can.

Chris Braden 5:56
No, that's a that's a really huge skill set. So how long have you been with Burnham? How long? You've been there,

Sarah Doroff 6:01
Like a year and a half, almost at this point? Yeah.

Chris Braden 6:04
Are you from the East Coast?

Sarah Doroff 6:06
Yeah, born and raised mostly New York, LA for a little bit when I was a kid, but I'm from New York, before I moved to Colorado with my where he was then my fiancee, I worked in fashion, I was at Ralph Lauren for a few years doing sales and merchandising. And so while in that job, a big part of what I learned that I brought over to Burnham was how to look at data and draw the right conclusions. So and how to break it down and look at it in different ways and spot trends and organize it. So that was one of the first things I did when I started here was just looked at all the calls the referral sources, you know, number, I mean, they had been looking, they were looking at numbers somewhat, but not nearly to the degree that we do now. So that was one of the first things I did was kind of organized that piece of it. So we could really understand where we were getting our leads from and our clients from, and then, you know, from there making smart and efficient marketing decisions. And so yeah, I mean, I didn't have a marketing background necessarily, but I can look at data draw the right conclusion, I have a I think an aesthetic understanding that's in line with with Todd's vision for the firm. And you know, you'll learn as you go. One of the fun things, too, is that Todd's not afraid to spend money. He's not I think he's less conservative than most with his with his advertising and marketing budget, which makes my job a lot more fun because he's willing to try things. And we can we can try things and spend money on things and see what works and what doesn't work. And it's rare that an opportunity presents itself. And I think my first thought is Oh, no, that's beyond that's out of our reach. I can't We can't do that. I mean, not within reason. Of course, there's not like we're spending crazy amounts, but it makes my job a lot more interesting and more fun to to have a flexible budget to work with.

Chris Braden 8:04
Well, your job seems like you have to think with both sides of the brain. Because when you're crunching data, and then you got to look at creative at the same time. What did you think of his idea to put the billboard up that said, divorce sucks, but your lawyer shouldn't write down in the middle of Colorado and Cherry Creek?

Sarah Doroff 8:23
I loved it. Yeah, I thought it was I think I thought it was great. And it was fun. Well, we do it again. Probably not. But I think it was it was fun and different and unique at the time. Yeah. So that's one example of just something that he's like, Yeah, let's do it. Let's go for it. Let's be different. We also did that partnership with C, the CU buffs, like that cause campaign to stop domestic violence, which was really interesting. Again, is it something we would do again, at maybe maybe not, but it was a cool experience. And I think, you know, we learned a lot. And it was certainly interesting and fun for everyone.

Chris Braden 8:58
I think, you know, when you're in the marketing, you're thinking of ROI, but you're also thinking of branding. And those are two totally different things. And you got to be kind of smart about it. Right?

Sarah Doroff 9:08
Totally. It's creative, it's analytical, you get it's stimulating, because you get to use, as you had said, both sides of your brain and it's a puzzle, and you have to fit it together. What where should we spend, where should we scale back? When should we just cut something loose because it's not working? And it's constantly dialing it in and fine tuning it. So you have an efficient and effective, you know, marketing mix. It's never like, Okay, we're good. Let's be on autopilot for six months. You know, we look at it every day and make changes. So it's been interesting and stimulating and fun. You know, you always have to stay ahead of the curve and change before you have to change because then it'll be too late. So it's been really interesting. And Todd is never He really instills a culture of never getting comfortable and saying okay, we're good. Let's just chill. You know, he's always like, Nope, we can get better where Can we get better? Even if, when things are great, he still, that's great. Okay, now where do we get better? So I think that that's definitely a huge part of the firm's success is that culture of always getting better?

Chris Braden 10:11
He did say that I think it was in the last episode, where he's talking about you guys were going over, like SEO and paid advertising online. And he was like, we're only reaching 46% of the audience. And he's like, let's get to 100. And you knew what that meant, though. Todd wouldn't want to overspend to where he wouldn't, or get too many clients to where you couldn't service him in the way you guys do at Burnham Law. And the way you filtered that out and how you're going to proceed with that makes 100% And that, that that's a great partnership between you guys.

Sarah Doroff 10:48
Totally. Yeah, for sure. And that's the one thing that will never sacrifice is is quality. You know, the the talent of the attorneys here is certainly the, the main piece of everything, and it's like the core in the cake. And, you know, we just need to make people aware of their talents. So we're just the icing on like, making sure everyone knows, and once once they experience it, they refer everyone, you know, anyway, because because we have the best lawyers around so that makes my job a lot easier.

Chris Braden 11:19
Well, you're not going to go to a restaurant that has food that sucks.

Sarah Doroff 11:23

Chris Braden 11:23
You have to have good attorneys there. Burnham Law, one thing I wanted to ask you and you sat in with, I don't know if you sat in on all 20 of the first season. But you were there majority of the time, what were your thoughts on kind of the the process of the podcast? And you know, basically the outcome, like what was your thoughts? Be gentle.

Sarah Doroff 11:44
On the first season? I thought it was great. I mean, it was a deep dive into Todd and the firm and how it all came to be, you know, I thought it was I thought it was great. I thought it was cohesive and authentic and honest. So how could you go wrong?

Chris Braden 11:59
Well, I appreciate that.

Sarah Doroff 12:00

Chris Braden 12:00
So I do want to ask you. So we've talked, I've talked to all the attorneys about the email that came out about a month ago, where the changes email, and Todd's gonna step back a little bit and take a different role. Were you surprised by that? Or did you know that it's coming because you talk to him every day?

Sarah Doroff 12:18
I mean, I knew it was coming because he had talked about it. We had talked about it a lot. I mean, it's something he's been thinking about, I think for a long time, but actually talking more about, you know, in the recent months, so I was expecting the email. And I think it's great. And I certainly was very supportive of him and am supportive of him around it. He doesn't like to sit still, he always he likes to keep it moving. So we'll see, we'll see what happens and what he what he does from from there.

Chris Braden 12:46
How is that going to change kind of your role there?

Sarah Doroff 12:49
I mean, I think I'll be even more of the point person than I already am. But I think I mean, he's still going to be involved somewhat, I think I'll probably talk to him more than most people, you know, he's still gonna have input on our on the firm, and certainly the marketing aspect, but I think I'll just field a lot more communication that maybe he was taking on. But I think my job, you know, it'll be more or less the same as it's been for the past few months, just less less, Todd, and more, Sarah, I guess.

Chris Braden 13:24
One thing that's really kind of exciting about the changes the the growth potential of the firm, and where, like, you know, Aaron or, you know, we can name them all up and down the line, Aaron, and Steph, and all them are going to be able to kind of grow their side of the firm and their, you know, their kind of product within the Burnham Law. funnel, I guess is the best way to say how exciting is that for you, because you're going to be able to maybe expand what you're doing and maybe different markets and different ways of thinking.

Sarah Doroff 13:59
Yeah, I think it's really exciting. I think the the core of what we have and the culture that's established is hugely successful, and it works. So it's a great foundation to then grow and thrive. You know, Todd likes to say he's leaving the cupboards full for people to just run with it and be successful. So I think it's really exciting. It's going to be great to see I think everyone will take a lot more ownership now that they have a dog in the fight so to speak. So I think it's it's really exciting and the potential is is enormous. I'm interested to see how easily Todd can let it all go and how, how much he stays involved. Well, time will tell.

Chris Braden 14:44
No, you're absolutely right. Because you know, knowing him like I do and just, you know going through a story and stuff. I told him this on one of the shows I was like, You know what, you're going to be sitting in Hawaii and you're going to be looking at Burnham stuff and then you're going to go to this coffee shop and this this Dude in Hawaii, he's got like the greatest coffee ever. And he's got one store and you're like, Dude, I can help you with that. Next thing, you know, there's gonna be 50 of those coffee stores all over probably one in Boulder, something like that is probably gonna happen. Would you agree?

Sarah Doroff 15:14
Yeah, we'll see.

Chris Braden 15:16
It'll be interesting. Well, Sarah, hey, I really appreciate your time. And, honestly, just on a personal note for me, I really appreciate your feedback and input that you have given me with the process on the podcast. It's really been helpful.

Sarah Doroff 15:31
And well, thanks, Chris. I appreciate you too.

Chris Braden 15:34
I think it's, I think it's really good. And, you know, as far as Todd trusting you, I mean, that's 100% transparent. I think that that's huge for him.

Sarah Doroff 15:45
Well, thanks. I appreciate it.

Chris Braden 15:46
Well, that's it all right, sir.

Sarah Doroff 15:48
All right.

Todd Burnham 15:51
Hey, thanks for listening. Make sure you subscribe, and until next time, keep getting better

Transcribed by https://otter.ai