Luxury Daily reports that according to the latest Forrester Research, just under 10 percent of U.S. consumers trust marketers’ text messages, while 12 percent trust information on mobile applications.

Well, obviously, they haven’t met me.

I love my little Target, Walgreens, and RedBox texts. I get coupons, free movies and reminders. And AT&T sends me usage reports.

And my tailor, hair stylist and others regularly remind me of pick-ups and appointments via text.

I guess they just didn’t ask the right people.

Image [cc] mandiberg

I usually read articles written by vendors with a grain of salt, but I think that Thomson Reuter’s Dave Whiteside’s article, “Stop Doing the Legal Limbo” has some good food for thought in it, and it plays into what we discuss here on this blog when it comes to Librarians playing a bigger role in Business Development.

My suggestion is to read the article first and then come back to this part that I think helps explain it in the Librarian/Marketing/KM/BizDev environment.

… okay… I assume you’ve read it.

I’ll reword some key pieces of what Dave Whiteside wrote just a little bit to fit the concept of a law firm’s ability to research, market and sell it services:

  • How do we help attorneys get to know the potential client before they meet?
  • Are we preparing the attorney to better understand the potential client’s business?
  • What do we do to help the attorney understand the client’s industry and competitors?
  • How do we get current awareness information to the attorneys to help them keep up with upcoming issues and trends that impact the potential client’s business?
  • Do we have an comprehensive method of clearly explaining the relevant experiences that the attorney and/or the firm has that will guide the potential client who faces the same problem?
  • What type of training do we give to our attorneys to help them explain how our services don’t just help with short term needs, but we are also there to advise in ways that help General Counsel better direct their company in avoiding future legal issues?

Whiteside hands out a laundry list of Thomson Reuters products that can help, but I wanted to be more generic and think of the process instead of the specific products and see if there are things we already have in place that we could leverage to get to the goals listed above:

  • What do we use to organize our collective experiences and help attorneys explain how those previous experiences are specifically why the client should hire us?
  • How do we determine where we stand in these issues compared to our peers?
  • Where do we find our individual relationships between members of the firm and the potential client. How do we present this in an actionable way to the attorney?
  • What type of controls do we have in place that helps manage matters as well as helps quickly identify inefficient or unprofitable work?

I’ll add one more to this list that I think is very important:

  • What processes do we have in place that reviews matters once they are over and helps better prepare other attorneys in the firm for the next time?

There are a number of opportunities here for Librarians, Marketing, KM, Biz Dev, Client Development, and many others on the Administrative side of the law firm. I bet that almost all of you have some, but not all, of resources already in place at your firms. The key with something like this is that there has to be a process started of getting the right people, information, resources, and tools aligned so that it becomes a standard at your firm, and not just a one-off project that only comes into play when an attorney comes in with an “emergency” request because they are meeting with the potential client in 30 minutes.

Having worked at a few large firms, I can say with some certainty I know a great CMO when I meet one. And my current CMO, Aleisha Gravit, sits at the top of that list.   Her guest post today is a great example of her vision and thinking on the future of CMOs in law firms. Take a look. With any luck, we’ll be hearing more from Aleisha in the future.

My friend and colleague Jennifer Manton, CMO at Loeb & Loeb, shared with me a great article, published by Deloitte Review, titled “From Mad Man to Superwoman: The inevitable rise of the chief marketing officer in the age of the empowered customer.” I am still scratching my head about the reference to Superwoman because, while maybe once dominated by females, that is no longer the case – especially in the legal industry. Maybe Superhero would have been a better analogy.

The article discusses the evolution of marketing and the CMO and how the rise in the role of the customer impacts the marketing ecosystem.  The article resonated with me because my role has evolved significantly over the last few years as a result of clients becoming more selective in their purchases of legal services and demanding more from the relationship with their outside counsel.  Philip Kotler, an influential marketing educator, said, “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.”

The article really got me thinking about the law firm CMO and how the role is evolving.  Regardless of how one defines value, for the CMO of today and tomorrow, it comes down to metrics, analytics and critical thinking—core elements of any strategy.  There is a great reference in the article to CMOs gaining credibility “not by touting taglines, but by crunching numbers.”  I love this because I have always preferred to work with something tangible as opposed to ethereal.

Consider a book: the raw data/metrics are just words on the page.  Only when you begin to analyze them by looking for trends, outliers, gaps, etc, do they come alive and provide context for what is/might be occurring in the story/client relationship.  The data provides a backdrop to engage in conversations with lawyers and clients alike about the overall relationship; where, and if, it needs improving; and how to accomplish that in a mutually beneficial manner.  That’s adding value.

Are we on the verge of change in how the marketing ecosystem works within law firms?  Will firms and CMOs alike seek out more differentiation between traditional marcom and strategy?   Only time will tell.  In the meantime…read the article.

If you’re an academic with twenty-six peer-reviewed articles sitting out there, what’s the next thing you want to do? If you are creative, you turn that into a potential twenty-seventh paper by doing an experiment on them. At least that’s what Melissa Terras from the London School of Economics and Science (LSE) did. Terras wanted to see how others would react to those open-access academic articles located on the University College of London’s (UCL) Discovery platform if she did follow-up blog posts and tweets about them. She wrote about her results in the LSE Impact of Social Science Blog, and it appears that the additional blogging and tweets made a significant difference in the number of downloads of her research.
(note: hat-tip to bespacific blog for finding the article.)

Terras didn’t do what most of us think of when it comes to promoting previous work on Blogs or Twitter (a.k.a. “blatant marketing”), instead she filled in the pieces of the research that didn’t make it into the original publications by giving the background details of what went into the process. Instead of just tweeting “go read my paper Digital Curiosities: Resource Creation Via Amateur Digitisation,” she actually wrote a blog post where she talked about the issues surrounding why she wrote the paper and injected her personality into the blog post (which is usually lacking in those peer-reviewed academic papers.) The results were pretty good and Terras could see that there was value in taking these additional steps. After her first post and tweet about the article, she monitored the downloads to see what happened next.

She blogged about the article, then a couple days later started tweeting about the blog post. As you can see from the graph above, the results show a significant increase in downloads of her article. She then went on to test some other papers with the same process, and left one paper in the series out of the process… it’s pretty easy to see which one got left out.

Although she admits this isn’t exactly going viral, it does help in getting your work out in front of others. Terras’ advice is really two-fold and increasingly important for the academic community:

Ergo, if you want people to read your papers, make them open access, and let the community know (via blogs, twitter, etc) where to get them. Not rocket science. But worth spending time doing. Just dont develop a stats habit.

I’ve actually been thinking about how this relates to the legal community, especially in the large law firm environment that I live in. Try as I might, I can’t talk lawyers into stopping with those rigid and legalese “client alerts” that flood in-house counsel’s email boxes every time Congress passes a law, or the Supreme Court issues a ruling. However, could the approach that Terras did with her academic papers work with client alerts? Could a lawyer that wrote the client alert turn around and actually write a more personable blog post explaining the background of why he or she wrote the client alert (add in some personality, maybe a little humor??) and then tweet about it? Could the results be similar to what Terras discovered with her papers?

I’d love to run an experiment to see. So, if you’re an attorney and you are forced to write one of those lovely client alerts, how about guest posting here about what you wrote, and why you wrote it? Make sure you tell your Marketing Department first so we can get them to monitor the stats for how many downloads you get in the following days after the post and after the tweeting begins. If it works like Terras’ experiment, then maybe firms should rethink how they promote client alerts and start this three-phased process of client alerts, follow-up blog post, and Twitter.

I just finished reading David King Keller’s The Associate as Rainmaker: Building Your Business Brain, and I just want to tear it up–but I mean this in a GOOD way.

Full of checklists and step-by-step guides on how to develop your own business development plan, the appendices alone are worth the $100 sticker price.

By reading this book–with our without hiring a business coach–any associate would be able to lay out their own plan in a matter of a few days.

Broken into four sections, Keller covers:

  • making time for rainmaking
  • creating an optimal state of mind–with real, practical advice
  • business development for shy lawyers
  • rainmaking techniques
  • life as an associate

Keller’s book also includes is an amazing collection of sage advice from the top legal minds in the industry. It would cost a fortune to get all these folks into one room to deliver just some of these insights.

Keller collects a wealth of tips, lists, best practices and wise counsel from some of the top rainmakers at Winston Strawn; Latham & Watkins; and Wilson Sonsini as well as CMOs and marketers from K&L Gates; Connolly, Bove Lodge; and Farella Braun + Martel.

So I may defy my own cardinal rule around books and actually deface this one by ripping out its checklists, action sheets and goal sheets.

Well done, David King Keller. Well done.

If you are interested in getting your own copy, you can purchase the book the the American Bar Association. Because I am NOT sharing.

I recently got the issue of Bloomberg Businessweek routed to me and was quite intrigued by many of the segments included in their Second Annual How To Issue, an issue that the publisher describes as “…a cocktail party…[that’s]…all about the mix of guests.”  Although not all of the segments were relevant to the different roles I play within my firm, there were many that were, including:

  • How To…

Probably based on things that are at the forefront of my mind right now, there were two segments that really resonated with me.  The first one was How To…Design a Logo.  The author, Sagi Haviv, works for a firm that designed many iconic logos, including those for NBC (peacock), Chase (octagon), and National Geographic (rectangle).  The main question he says has to be asked when looking to design a logo is “What problem is our client trying to solve?”  Many companies think the need a new logo, when really what they need is to refresh or change their marketing, messaging or packaging related to their existing logo.  Logos should change when they are too complex or are no longer relevant.  Your logo needs to be appropriate, relevant, simple and memorable and the challenge here is how do you make a logo memorable and still keep it simple.  Another related issue to logos that the author didn’t go into involves tag lines.  Once you have a logo, you need to ask whether it needs a tag line.  If so, I think the guidelines that Haviv sets out for logos also apply – tag lines also need to be appropriate, relevant, simple and memorable.  If you are thinking about rebranding (or branding) your library, keep these things in mind as you think about and develop a logo and tag line.

The second segment that struck me was How To…Do A How To and this segment, written by Martha Stewart, is what inspired this blog post title.  Martha’s advice boils down to simplifying your instructions, keep it to as few steps as possible and add embellishments later.  If instructions get too complex, people will get disengaged and discouraged and possibly even give up.  And, finally, Martha hates PowerPoint decks and suggests doing something more innovative.  Many of us have access to software and resources to create more interactive tutorials or video content, but they do take more time and effort to create.  However, if the payoff is people actually paying attention to them and learning how to do something that will help them be more effective at their jobs, isn’t it worth it to abandon the PowerPoint or, for that matter, Word document with screen shots?  Whether it is making a souffle or cite checking a brief, simple clear instructions presented in a new, creative way may very well turn people into better cooks and researchers, respectively.

I’ve had a number of conversations over the past couple of years about the information that lawyers place on their LinkedIn pages versus there law firm attorney profile pages. As someone that prides themselves on the ability to uncover good information on people, I’ve come to appreciate the information found on LinkedIn. Many times there is more detailed information there than is on the firm bio page, most likely because the attorneys are not filtered (as much) by the Marketing team when it comes to their LinkedIn information.

It is quite easy to search law firm websites and find the attorneys, along with their sanitized biographies. Usually chalked full of such interesting tid-bits like “represented a major technology company in complex litigation matters.” (yawn) Or, “won a $20 million settlement for a major pharmaceutical company against another major pharmaceutical company.” (any way to make this more generic, or more boring??) The whole process of a public biography page for attorneys seems to be fixated on how the firm can make the attorney sound wonderful, without actually giving any specific details to why that is.

On the other hand, a LinkedIn bio can tell us a few things that you may not find on the firm’s bio page. Even better, it could actually supplement the bio page by filling in some of the details. For example, if you notice that the person has a number of connections with XYZ Pharma Company, there may be a good chance that this is the Pharma Company that he or she won the $20 million settlement. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does (and you happen to be looking for lateral hires), this is good information to know.

Perhaps the best details found on LinkedIn pages that you don’t find on law firm bio pages is the work history of the person. You usually get a nice synopsis of the previous firms, dates and areas of expertise of the attorney’s work history. This may help in isolating people within your own firm that may have worked with them in the past. Combined with certain InterAction reports, this might connect dots within your organization that you wouldn’t find otherwise.

Outside the area of legal practice, many people leave interesting pieces of information about themselves that may come in handy if you have to go talk with them (or need an “in” with recruiting them to your firm.) Areas of interest, groups they belong to, or associations which they are members are all good pieces to know before approaching them. In some instances, it might be good information to know for NOT approaching them. It is all small pieces that help form a picture of what the attorney does, what they like or dislike, and where they’ve been.

Of course, not every attorney is a LinkedIn member, but I’ve had good success in finding many who are. So this got me thinking about what percentage of attorneys are on LinkedIn. Just for my own interest, I thought I’d take a small sample of three firms and look at their Silicon Valley offices to see just how many of their attorneys I could find on LinkedIn. The sample is completely unscientific, but I found it interesting in the fact that Partners (78%) were more likely to be on LinkedIn than their Associate (65%) counter-parts. Again, this is completely unscientific, but here are my results.

Firm A
Total Attorneys: 8 
          Partners:   5
          Associates: 3

Firm B
Total Attorneys: 26
          Partners:   8
          Associates: 11
          Counsel:  5
          Others:  2

Firm C
Total Attorneys: 119
          Partners:  69
          Associates: 32
          Counsel:  9
          Others:  9

         Attorneys: 153
         Partners:  82
         Associates: 48
         Counsel:  14
         Others:  11

There are times when defending your legal rights can do more harm than good. I think I saw a prime example of that this week between a creative YouTube video that was blowing up the Internet, and a company that asserted its legal copyright claim to shut it down.

A YouTube video was put out around December 30, 2011 from someone named kdynamic, where he took a recorded interview from MoBoogie in 2007 where artist Bassnectar explained the concept of Dubstep in music. The presentation was set up in Prezi, and the audio from the interview was overlayed on the presentation, and it was a thing of beauty. I don’t even like Dubstep music, but I found the presentation helped explain it in a way that I would have otherwise not cared about one little bit. The visuals, along with the audio were fascinating, and held the viewers attention in a way that separately they would not. I sent it to some of my teaching friends as an example of combining lecture with video in ways that hold their students’ attention.

When I viewed it earlier this week, it had already been viewed over 180,000 times, and websites all over the music scene were linking to it, or embedding the video on their site. The creator of the video acknowledged the artist (Bassnectar) and basically asked for forgiveness for doing this without permission first. It seems from some of the other things that I saw from Bassnectar, was that he was cool with the video, but admitted that he’s changed some of his thoughts on the music style (what it means and how it is laid out) since the interview.

The original interviewer, MoBoogie, however, was not as forgiving. Apparently, MoBoogie sent a letter demanding the removal of the video because they owned the copyright for the original interview. kdynamic attempted to keep the video up with the presentation being overdubbed by generic non-copyrighted music, but MoBoogie didn’t even want that out there, so the whole thing came down. In the music world, it made MoBoogie look like a jerk.

In reality, (or at least my version of it) MoBoogie blew a golden opportunity here. Anyone that has a website or blog knows that once content hits its one-day-old birthday, it is out-of-date. Old news. Cast off into the depths of oblivion with the occasional view from a random Google search. Here was an opportunity to get nearly 200,000 eyes back on one of their old stories. Instead, MoBoogie took the hatchet approach and cut off their own hand in the process.

It is clear that kdynamic was wrong and in copyright violation. It is clear that MoBoogie had the right to shut down the video. But being right, doesn’t always mean that you’re doing the right thing for yourself. I think that MoBoogie would have put itself in a much better position to ask kdynamic to place a link to MoBoogie’s original interview and mentioned that there were additional interviews of Bassnectar there. They could have done so in a way that would have told kdynamic not to do this again without permission, but still be able to ride the coat tails of this viral video all the way back to their website (perhaps even getting additional ad revenues as a result.) Instead, they came down hard and fast, and essentially blew a golden opportunity.

If MoBoogie was smart (and it doesn’t look like they are), I would suggest that they hunt down the person that did this Prezi presentation and hire him as a contract worker to do more of these presentations on some of their other interviews. I imagine that instead of doing something smart like that, they are instead hunting down others to quash with their legal rights. Apparently, being in the right, is better than being smart and seeing the opportunities that are out there.

This is the last in a three part series on the evolution of marketing. Parts 1 and 2 looked at fundamental changes in the marketing landscape, Part 3 will look at how marketing is responding to these new challenges.
The Reaction
As with most new technologies, there have been mad rushes to adopt certain channels as the ‘go to’ options for getting customer attention. These rushes have also been followed by the traditional backlash, with businesses not realizing hoped-for returns on their marketing efforts for a given forum. With all this chaos and constantly changing environment, it is challenging for businesses to focus and direct their marketing in the right channels with the right kinds of messages.
In some respects, it is back-to-basics for marketing professionals as they need to re-examine their customers’ wants, needs and habits. What is different are the dimensions of those factors. Now different customers chose different channels for their content. And they even chose different channels for different types of content. For example, someone may read a hard-copy morning newspaper, but then immediately switch to RSS feeds for their industry updates. So a business not only needs to understand the type of customer they want to reach, but also the probable methods for how these customers prefer to consume content related to their products and services.
What Does This Mean?
Marketers need to look at the entire universe of channels and plug into the high value ones with the appropriate messages. And as they do this they need to engage with their customers in a positive dialog. The return on that effort will be valuable, direct customer input along with new messages actually designed by the customers and passed on to their own, expanding networks.
In defense of the legal market, there are some providers proactively approaching the Marketing 2.0 challenge. Even some large firms are actively engaged with Twitter. However, as challenging as marketing has become for the entire market, the late arrival and slow-to-adopt-change nature of the legal profession, means the challenge is rapidly increasing.
Like most aspects of change presented by the New Normal, the legal profession is in great need of ground-up reassessment of its marketing practices. Starting on this now (or yesterday) would be a good idea.
This concludes the three-part series on Marketing 2.0. We explored the shift in marketing power from provider to customer and the qualitative change from one-directional messaging to a chaotic conversation. With change becoming a constant, we can expect further dynamic shifts in the role and purpose of marketing.

The second post in this series on the evolution of marketing, explores the shift from one directional marketing (provider-to-customer) to interactive, multi-directional marketing. In the first post we discussed how things shifted from a scarcity of the number of available marketing channels to the scarcity of customer time and attention. This interactive aspect has a bigger impact on marketing and therefore gets a bit more attention here. Again, editorial on how this change applies in the legal market is added in italics.
The Next Layer
The persuasion aspect in the original marketing method directed content in one direction. Business crafted a marketing message and wrapped that up in various forms of advertising to push it in front of customers. Customers only served in a receive mode. To stay fresh, these messages became more dynamic and creative and actually drifted away from product descriptions to emotive appeals. Knowing your car had power breaks was useful, but imagining you powering through the curves on the Pacific Coast Highway was compelling.
With the rise of the Internet not only did the number of channels spike, but the ability for the customer to participate actively blossomed. This was Web 2.0. Here we saw the rise of Blogs and Wikis, followed by social media platforms such as MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn. Beyond the scarcity dynamic, this Web 2.0 environment presented a qualitative change in the way customers consumed information about products and services. Instead of passively accepting the information presented by the provider, they could participate in the development of the marketing message.
What emerged was a conversation between business and customer. Although this continues to present a challenge to business, it also presents an incredible opportunity. Businesses can find out directly and almost immediately how customers react to a new offering, price and brand. And any deficiencies will be quickly identified with possible solutions coming right from the customer.
Lawyers are trained in talking at people not talking with them. They present to courts and juries and give advice and counsel to clients on deals and regulations. As well the ethics rules generally frown on marketing interactions as that may create attorney-client relationships. Therefore ‘interactive’ does not come naturally to them.
This new interactive environment also drove a shift from persuasion to value in the style of messages being presented by business. In addition to appealing to their emotions, customers now need to find some direct value in a message, even if it is just entertainment. In other words, to get customers’ attention, business needs to motivate them via their self-interest to consume marketing content.
Successfully meeting this new-style value challenge presents a qualitative increase in the value of marketing. Valuable content, combined with an interactive, participatory audience, leads to customers extending a message much deeper into a market. This multiplier effect means one customer finding value in content will pass it along to their own network with no additional cost to the business. Multiply this effect out and well-crafted messages can reach an audience of millions at a very low cost.
Where business has stumbled in this arena is attempting to deliver old-style, one-direction messages in this interactive environment. Businesses push out a message and then either don’t engage with the customers or attempt to defend their message when it is critiqued. As might be expected, customers have not reacted well to these attempts. Business continues to struggle with this challenge, as it is a bit of a moving target.
Lawyers are stumbling – to say the least. Many legal blogs have comments turned off out of fear someone might ask a question. This eliminates the interactive component. Blog posts are are the typical newsletter style of content and tweets are mostly ads. This misses the mark on providing value over ad copy and their messages die before becoming part of any conversation.
I predict this interactive aspect of marketing will remain a substantial obstacle for lawyers.
In Part 3 of this series, we will explore how the market is reacting to these fundamental changes and what it all means for marketing going forward.