Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Part 3

Continuing our series “Which Hat Are You Wearing Today” we literally took it to a new level at the New England Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference. Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, and Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting presented the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services.

During the presentation Amber and Chris took turns actually wearing different hats to represent the different functions marketing takes on from a day-to-day basis. Below are the different roles and associated tasks:
Fire Fighter & Builder Traffic Cop & Miner

Stop back as we will cover the technology that can help streamline the tasks and make success a possibility.

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today

We are excited to announce that Amber Elliott, our ContactEase Director of Implementations, will be speaking this week at the LMA-NE Annual Conference. Joining her will be Chris Fritsch, President and Business Development Consultant, Clients First Consulting to present the session Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Balancing Marketing, Business Development and Client Services

HatsManaging the marketing for a firm is not what it used to be. The demand for proactive business development and better client services combined with ever-changing technology makes marketing a juggling act. With innovative relationship management you can move your firm forward. Join Amber and Chris to learn how to apply innovative ideas with the right mix of technology to gain profits, satisfy clients, and successfully market your firm. They will discuss trends, provide a high level overview of what firms are doing today to move their firm forward, and go through case studies to showcase how marketers are successfully wearing multiple hats.

The session is on Friday, November 22nd at 2:45PM. Learn more about the overall event by checking out the LMA NE Conference’s website and make sure to stop back on Friday for a recap and pictures from the session.

There are Only 33 More Days Until December 1st: Holiday Cards Part III

Did you know there are only 33 more days until the first of December? No it is not a trick (and probably not a treat) but with Halloween this week we thought it would be a great time to check-in on your holiday card progress.

If you have not already started it is not too late. To help you get an idea of where you should be at in the process, we have come up with a suggested timeline below.

September: Project Kick-Off

  • Identify your objective: is your card just to send warm wishes or is there another motive such as contributing to a charity, launch a marketing campaign, or to clean-up your contact information in your database
  • Decide what type of card you will do: physical or e-card or a combination of both
  • Determine timing: based on the type of card you do, you will need to think through the delivery date and create your project plan. This will also affect your messaging such as Happy Holidays v. Happy New Year
  • Discuss distribution: who receives the card and who the card should come from
  • Inform employees about the project: ask them to compile their list of recipients, let them know how you will be using the information, and inform them of deadlines. If doing a physical card, let them know how the cards will be distributed for them to sign
  • Select the vendor/designer: choose who will create the card and discuss concepts and copy
  • Prep other staff or departments: you will want to prep departments, such as IT if there is a need to host a video on a server or prep assistants who will help with list generation, and inform them of your timeline

October: Development

  • Determine additional needs: for example if you want recipients to select a charity from a list, you will need to create a survey. If you’re giving a contribution based on the number of new “likes” on Facebook someone will be responsible for tracking the metrics. You will also need to determine how your firm will handle bounce backs or returned mail, as well as how you will track success (open and click-through rates, interaction with the card)
  • Test the different components of the e-card: if there is built-in functionality like “replay” for video or links to other pages you will need to test the functionality to ensure it work properly
  • Merge and clean lists: your lists should be at about 80% completion
  • Approvals: approve your final card concept
  • Identify quantity: the amount of cards and envelopes needed for a physical mailing

November: Execution

  • Completion: your e-card should be completed and if you’re doing printed cards you should have them in-hand
  • Final version of mailing list(s): should be completed within the first week of November
  • Signing process kicked-off: this should happen around the second week of November and signed cards should be obtained by the last week of November (2 week window for signing)
  • Other marketing: at this point you should consider other ways you will promote and distribute your hard work. Some ideas would be to post the card on your website, tweet it, Facebook about it, and submit to holiday card contests
  • Additional needs: your process and expectations should be established

December: Completion

  • Physical cards mailed: first week of December
  • Complete e-mailing: preferably in early December
  • Last-minute requests for additional cards: take care of last-minute request or provide employees with the tools they need to execute themselves (such as the OFT version of the e-card they can customize and send on their own)
  • Execute other marketing initiatives: promote your card in other channels
  • Track the card: determine success by monitoring bounce backs, returned mail, and click-throughs

This is only a suggested timeline to help guide the thought about what needs to be executed on. Depending on the complexity of the firm it could take more or less time to complete. No matter the length of the process there is one last step that is often overlooked… celebrate!

Celebrate the project completion. It is a large undertaking and requires a lot of coordination. Enjoy the success with your team, thank those who helped with the execution such as the IT department and the assistants, and make sure to share the news with the entire firm. Send out an internal memo with the card and share tracking numbers or feedback that you have received.

Let us know what you think… what other steps does your firm build in and when do you start your holiday card process?

Holiday Cards Part II: E-Cards

With today’s technology more and more firms are straying away from physical holiday cards and opting to go with e-Cards. There are a lot of marketing and business development benefits for choosing to go with an e-card. Below are four considerations and advantages to think through while working on your holiday cards this season:
Bar GraphTracking    
By sending an e-card your firm can identify who has received a card and what action they took. The number of people who opened the card can be tracked identifying if the e-card was successful and worth the time put into the project. Marketing and business development initiatives could be launched and the click-throughs to additional messaging or promotional items can be identified. Those activities could then be added to the database and depending on the call to action there could be very specific follow-up items assigned.
Magnifying Glass Identifying Potential Risks                                                  
Opting to send an e-card helps your firm clean-up the database. If a contact at a client leaves and the firm doesn’t know about it, it could become lost work if the firm doesn’t have any other contacts there. By tracking bounce backs and failed emails someone can look in the database and see what other contacts or relationships the firm has with the client and alert the firm of potential at risk clients.

VcardUpdating Contact Information and Communication Lists

When sending an e-card consider having contacts update their own information and which communications they would prefer to receive. With ContactEase this could be done by using our Online Client Update Form. Ask contacts to take a minute to review their data and make any changes necessary by providing the hyperlink to do so. The data is then cleaned up in the database and your firm has the most up-to-date information for a contact and contacts can opt for the communications that matter the most to them.

PeopleExpanding Your Reach
Within the e-card create a mini campaign of some sort through calls to action. If you have a Facebook Page or Twitter account your firm is trying to expand, create a perk for people to “like” or “follow” you. One firm did this by letting their contacts know that they had decided to use the money previously spent on physical cards and donate it to a local charity. For every follower they received they would donate X amount of money up to a certain dollar amount. They were giving back to the community while expanding their audience reach.

If you are spending the time and money associated with doing a holiday card it is important to identify what your key objective(s) are. If your firm is simply sending a card for warm wishes, think through the above points and how the card could be used more strategically for your business development and marketing initiatives.

A Successful Marriage: Marketing & IT Working Together

Yesterday we had the opportunity to attend the LMA-LA Chapter’s Continuing Marketing Education event where big ideas were brought to life. Our own Jennifer Whittier and Sam Shipley participated in the Cross Collaborations that Work segment of the conference.

Their session A Successful Marriage: Marketing & IT Working Together provided best practices and insights to succeed with technology. By collaborating together marketing and IT departments can identify and prioritize investments that grow into business for a firm. Here are a few best practices for collaboration:

  • Hold quarterly meetings with both departments to discuss projects and road blocks
  • Review the annual marketing budget together before submission so everyone knows what to expect
  • Discuss new large cross department projects at the outset
  • Make sure project plans and timing are discussed and agreed to
  • Communication and documentation are key in a successful partnership
  • Get to know each other personally by having team activities or social gatherings
  • Encourage/invite CIO to participate in committees such as client team meetings
  • Help market each other internally and give recognition and appraisal

The session wrapped up by leaving the audience members in laughter as the differences in the thought process between the two departments were showcased.

Mktg v. IT

For more information on the conference visit their website: http://lmalaconference.la/ or check out the conference tweets #LMACME.

Developing Powerful Individual Marketing Plans

At last week’s LMA-MN luncheon we had the ability to attend Ross Fishman’s presentation Developing Powerful individual Marketing Plans. Fishman discussed marketing plans, budgeting, differentiation, and marketing best practices.
Here are the five key takeaways from the luncheon:

1. Lack of Focus
The number one mistake in coming up with a marketing plan is a lack of focus.
Focus

2. You CAN’T Do Everything
Marketers should help identify who the right people are to target by focusing on a narrow audience. It is also important to remember that you can do more with less if you try. Fishman suggests using more “creative tactics” to reach your audience as it is cheaper. By being bold the work is more memorable. We loved the example below…Advertisement
Which ad gets your attention for the divorce lawyer? I guess he does look hard
at work in the left and who doesn’t love reading lots of text… NOT.

3. Decide Who You Are Then OWN It
This was a great point that came from the presentation. You can never be everything to everyone, but you can find your niche. For example a firm could say they are the “finance expert” but what does that mean? If there is a specialty such as “aircraft finance,” own it and dominate that market.

4. Do One Thing Well
Fishman brought up a great point… What do you do if you only have enough money to do one thing well? He gave an example Don’t just check a box (we have a blog, check) but determine what is effective and needed to do the project well.

5. Re-Use Re-Make Repurpose
As resources continue to be stretched thin, don’t remake the wheel but rather repurpose it. Content marketing will continue to be a key asset in the future. Repurpose content to maximize your initial efforts.

Old Model: Speak, leave, pray.

NEW Model: Cut it up and spread it across the internet! Re-use the content you worked so hard to create by either using the entire thing or by segmenting it into sections:

  • Videotape: put the content on Vimeo, YouTube, and your website
  • Audiotape: edit the audio into podcasts
  • Transcribe: articles, blog posts, and tweets
  • Remember synergy created powerful SEO

For more information on the topic and to learn more about Fishman visit: http://www.fishmanmarketing.com/

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today: Part 2 The Continued Evolution

Hats
At the beginning of August we wrote about the evolution of the marketing role in our post: Which Hat Are You Wearing Today. Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, has expanded upon the idea of marketing’s evolution as it specifically relates to content marketing.

“Nine in 10 companies create their own content to attract or retain customers.”

This is the same in the legal industry as content is distributed through email, newsletters, and in-person events. Some law firms have also adopted other channels such as blogs and social media sites. In his article Pulizzi challenges marketers to think about content as the asset. He continues the article by talking about the importance of content, as one story can be developed into multiple content assets.

For example, in your firm if you are trying to grow a specific practice area, you want your firm to be seen as the expert. Experts are people who have comprehensive and authoritative knowledge in a particular area, so by having a great story of success (content) it can be shared. By using publications, media mentions, speaking engagements, firm events, blogs, and through social media the content develops an audience. That audience can be tracked in your CRM system allowing you to track  outreach and growth with new clients and cross selling with current clients.

As law firm marketers already wear multiple hats and have been doing the above in various forms for years, Pulizzi suggests a shift in key business roles marketers will be challenged with filling and thinks of the below as the new competencies that will need to be accounted for across a firm:

  • Managing Editor: half storyteller and half project manager
  • Chief Listening Officer: “air-traffic controller” for social media and other content channels
  • Director of Audience: monitors audience personas and is responsible for building subscription assets
  • HR for Marketing: works with HR to make sure that employees understand their roles in the marketing process
  • Channel Master: responsible for getting the most out of each channel
  • Chief Technologist: sole purpose is to leverage the proper use of technology into the content marketing process
  • Influencer Relations (role formerly known as media relations): manager of influencers, develops a “hit list” and integrates them into the marketing process
  • Freelancer and Agency Relations: negotiates rates and responsibilities as reliance on freelance talent and other external content vendors grow
  • ROO (Return-on-Objective) Chief: responsible for ensuring that there is an ongoing return on marketing objectives and for communicating to all teams why the firm is developing content assets in the first place

The way services are sold is changing faster than anticipated and in legal, clients are demanding more than ever. This means that content will become more of an asset than ever and the “hats” marketing wears will continue to multiply. What do you think of “The New Roles of Marketing” and how they will impact the legal industry?

>>> Read Pulizzi’s full article: 10 Marketing Roles for the Next 10 Years

2013 ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey

Last week during the ILTA (International Legal Technology Association) Annual Conference the 2013 Technology Purchasing Survey results were revealed. The 2013 survey added responses from the ILTA member firms with 1-49 attorneys (referred to as Under50) in addition to the 50+ attorneys (referred to as the Over50). There were 223 unique responses including 60% from ILTA member law firms with more than 50 attorneys.Number of attorneys

48% of all respondents (including 56% of Over50 firms) spend 2-4% of total firm revenue on technology, compared to 25% who spend 5% of revenue or more.Respondents

The ‘sweet spot’ for per attorney technology spend, $8K-17K, accounts for 43% while 18% of respondents indicated a per attorney technology spend of more than $17K+. 60% of all Under50 respondents spend less than $8,000 per attorney on technology compared to only 26% of Over50 firms.Sweet Spots

43% of Under50 firms indicated their budgets remained the same and 39% cited budget increases versus 2012. However, budget realities were not as rosy for Over50 firms; 24% indicated having decreased budgets versus 15% in 2012. 45% of Over50 firms (7% less than in 2012) cited budget increases.Budget

The 2013 Survey also includes comprehensive breakout of past and future technology purchases and implementations; legal technology budget and purchasing influence questions; updated information on participants’ social media, publication and blog preferences; and an in-depth analysis of mobility trends including tablet usage and governance, firm app policies, and insight into how IT will deal with big data.

>>> Read the full 2013 Survey
>>> Follow the InsideLegal blog for snippets from the survey

Which Hat Are You Wearing Today

Before defining your marketing role within a firm you must first understand what marketing is. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines “Marketing” as: the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market; or the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. The definition is vague and includes every function possible within a firm (which is accurate in my opinion). The Urban Dictionary’s definitions are insulting, but probably more in line of how traditional firm members outside of marketing think of it.

When I originally thought of marketing, before I started my career, I thought of it as the traditional items – communications and branding. However, I have since learned that marketing is so much more. Marketing has evolved to include:

  • Client Services
  • Business Development
  • Event Management
  • Strategic Firm Planning

An individual’s role can really be shaped by their drive, expertise, ability to convey success, and by understanding and appreciating all aspects of marketing. In this blog series we will dive deeper into each of these different functions of marketing. Learn about each function and how to really showcase ROI to gain a seat at the table within your firm.

Holiday Cards Part I: It is NEVER too Early to Start

It may still be shorts and t-shirt weather, but the dreaded season of “Holiday Cards” is just around the corner. The best way to prepare is to plan for the inevitable sooner, making the project easier as the time approaches.The first step is to determine what your firm’s intentions are for this year’s annual Holiday Card. Some firms are satisfied with an e-card that goes to all of the clients, prospects, former clients, alumni, vendors, etc. with a generic, “From your friends at Smith & Jones.” Other firms want a physical card signed by those who are directly involved with the client, a separate card per partner. While there are also dozens of variations in between, before you can make your holiday plans it is important to know exactly what your firm wants to do.

Here are some suggestions of things Marketing should determine up front to ease through those holiday blues:

  1. Do we send a card at all?
  2. Are we going to do it the same way we did it last year?
  3. E-Card or paper card?
    [You will need some lead time to order physical
    cards and/or to design
    the perfect e-card.]
  4. Only one card or will individual cards be sent?
    [A contact might receive several cards from different professionals
    in your firm, is that what your firm wants to happen?]
  5. Who will be sent a card(s)?
    [Clients, prospects, former clients, alumni, friends, family, vendors…]
  6. Will the card(s) be personalized?
    [Signed by specific professionals, will it contain a personalized sentiment?]
  7. When should the card(s) arrive?
    [Remember, if it is a physical card that is personally signed, you need to get all that done in time to drop it in the mail, or else it won’t arrive until 2014!]

So before the kiddies are back in school (because once the fall begins, time is short), you should nestle up to a patio with a cold lemonade and start making your Holiday Card plans. Use the list above to make certain that you know exactly what your firm will be doing. Then, once you know where you are headed and what is involved, it will be easier to see how ContactEase can be used to help in the process.

Watch for future postings to help guide you through the Holiday Card Season, and remember it is never too soon to start. So READY, SET, GO! Start mapping out your firm’s plans now, so the process is easier in the long run.
Holiday Card Madness