Dear “New Lexis.com”,
I know that you are still in the gestation stage of your life, but I thought I’d write you a letter to help you enter the world on a better footing than your cousin WestlawNext did. Let me start off by saying that we’re all excited to see what you look like, and we’re all hoping that your delivery goes without complications. But we all know that most newborn legal research products can sometimes be extremely stressful on your parents, and you children aren’t always as wonderful as your parents tell everyone you are. Let’s take your cousin WestlawNext (WLN) as an example and learn from what his parents did, so your parents don’t make the same mistakes.
First of all, let everyone know exactly who you are, what you can do, and how much you are going to cost us. Don’t play with phrases like “modest premium” or “we’re still working on the pricing” as you enter the world. Come out with a price based on what all of us know. We’d all love to have you as part of our families for no additional cost, but I’m sure your parents are extremely proud of you and like any good parent/manager, will want to get the best return on their investment by charging as much as they think they can get out of us. If that is the case, then just come out and tell us. Say something like, “To have my Lexis.com over at your house will cost you 5% (10%, 20%…) extra from what you’re paying to have our older kids play at your place.” Just let me know a price and I’ll let you know if I think that’s reasonable enough to come play with my family of lawyers and researchers. If you cost me too much, then tell your parents that they need to be willing to negotiate from that price. And, whatever you do, please, please, please, don’t have your parents turn their sales force relatives loose on us with the directive to ‘get as much as you can from all of them.” To be honest, we simply don’t trust that they have our best interests at heart. We would all like to have you come over, but some of us just aren’t willing to pay a high premium for the privilege. No offense, of course, I’m sure you’re a wonderful resource.
Second suggestion, tell your family to be nice… even if we sometimes say things that make them angry. Whenever there is a change in the family dynamic, some of us can get a little… shall we say, cranky. It doesn’t mean that we think you are a terrible product, mainly it means that we’re nervous about allowing a new member into our fold without knowing what we’re getting into first. Let me give you a simple example using your cousin WLN. One of my friends, Lisa Solomon, was a little shocked that in order to have WLN over at her place, she’d have to pay an additional 68% premium for the privilege. She’d had WLN’s older brother over at her place for years along with some of his siblings, like “ResultsPlus” and she was quite fond of each of them. But she knows that children grow up and go out on their own eventually and we’ll need to replace them if we want to continue our relationship with their parents. But, one of WLN’s uncles got a little snarky when Lisa asked if the 68% premium was worth it. Seems that Uncle Rick, who is WLN’s Chief Technology Officer, is very proud of WLN, but apparently seems to think that WLN’s brothers and sisters have just been “messing around” for years now and need to be kicked to the curb by anyone with a brain. Here, let me show you the conversation:
So baby Lexis.com, let me give you a word of advice that you should tell your family. No matter how snarky your customers get when they talk about baby Lexis.com, do not, under any circumstances, get snarky back. It just doesn’t do anyone any good to have grown-ups acting like children.
Third word of advice, think creatively on how you want to compete for attention against your cousin WLN. Family rivalries are bound to happen when you are competing for attention from the same group of people. Some are going to say that WLN is their favorite, while I’m sure others will like baby Lexis.com better. It’s been that way between all your older siblings going all the way back to, God rest their souls, your terminal brothers and cousins. Now that I think about it, I guess “terminal” was kind of a mean name to give them…. but, I digress.
Since you know there’s going to be some rivalry, you might as well play it up, and I’ve got a great suggestion for you. How about you make a deal with some of the folks that want to have you over at their house by paying them to not play with your cousin? Tell them that if they get rid of WLN and his sibs that you’ll give them a “rebate” after a year of playing with only you? Yes, I know that it sounds a little like bribery, but it won’t hurt to ask them. Here’s what I suggest. If they promise to only play with you and not let your cousin into their house, then you cut them a deal… say ‘no increase in current subscription price.’ If they keep WLN out for a year, then you might want to give them a 2%-3% rebate on what they paid you for that year. To sweeten the pot a little more, tell them that if you can advertise that they don’t play with WLN and can use their name and image in magazine and web ads, you’ll give them a 5% kick-back, er, ‘rebate’ at the end of the year. You might be surprised at how many of your friends will jump at the chance to get rid of WLN if you sweeten the pot for them.
Well, that’s my advice for you at this time. I’m hoping that you grow into all of the wonderful things that your parents have been bragging about. Remember that a good first impression is important, so think long and hard about how you would like to present yourself to us for the first time. Your cousin, WLN, gave us all a bit of a roller coaster ride in his first few months of life, and although he is impressive to look at, all that other baggage of uncertain pricing and mixed messages from his immediate family has left many of us a bit hesitant about inviting him into our homes. Here’s one last bit of advice for you. If there is one thing we want from you and your cousin, it is ‘certainty.’ We want to know what you do, why you are better and how much you will cost us. Give us those three things right up front, and I’m sure we’ll be friends for a long time.