For my last session of the conference, I attended “The Digial Firm 2015 – The Changing Face of Professional Services Marketing Communications,” with opening remarks from Anthony Green, President of Concep, moderated by Dwain Thomas, Managing Director of Concep, and panelists Susan M. Snyder, Senior Consultant at Hay Group, Jodie Kaminsky, Vice President of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and Royal Simpkins, Firmwide Communications Manager at Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP.  The panel looked at new marketing channels and how they impact marketing professionals in a fee earning environment.  When the room was polled, we learned that a lot of the audience is using social media in their communications mix.  Jeannette McGarr wondered on Twitter what her attorneys would say about social media becoming the norm in firms. 

The panelists went into three case studies of firms using digital strategy with Concep, starting with J.P. Morgan.  They needed a reduction in cost, which for them, meant getting away from paper. They were looking for both strategic and tactical recommendations to help them to migrate their current contact strategies to digital, and used their competition to convince naysayers to get into social/digital communication tools.  It took 2-3 years for them  to switch entirely to digital communications, and now their marketing plans are much more integrated with digital media and have the same messages across platforms.  At the start of this process, they had 15 different databases, and have since merged all of them.  When all data repositories begin to communicate, the power is exponential for intelligence and relationship management. 

The next case study was Hay Group, who wanted to use the web as more of a lead generator/sales device.  Concep helped Hay Group conduct an audit of their website and came up with a new one which introduced registration to collect information.  Additional goals for their website included SEO and tactics like streaming video and engaging the customer.  They worked to really make it about their audience, which prompted Stephanie Thum to comment via Twitter “Tie feedback into the things clients require of you. How accurate are we at [meeting] workflow requirements?”  From Hay Group’s website, they link to social media and make sure their bloggers are sending out consistent messages.  Their social media campaigns include those on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and their blogs, and they’ve gotten solid work from their web inquiries.  Gina Rubel commented via Twitter that “Lawyers need to understand that websites are the front door to their businesses – this message has been validated 100xs over.”

Hay Group builds their business off of thought leadership and uses client feedback to change the way they interact with their clients.  Their Twitter account is very active using key messages around the globe, with a centralized message approach and management.  The rhetorical question was posed to the audience “Are you proud of sending people to your website? A bad site is like showing up to a meeting wearing an ugly suit. It’s all part of your brand.” 

Green commented that internal audiences are just as important as external ones, which we’ve always considered to be true at the ILN.  For the Hay Group, most of their internal people were using Blackberries, so they stages a mobile campaign to talk to the consultants.  The results of this were better internal communication and increased online sales. 

The next case study was Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP.  Simpkins said that their attorneys had more time, but a lack of marketing resources, after the economic downturn.  They also had a slow turnaround on distribution.  The marriage of e-marketing and CRM benefits them because it feeds their business development efforts by providing data for a variety of uses.  Heather Milligan asked from the audience about what other information the firm measures, and how that translates to ROI, and Simpkins responded that they’re still mostly tracking “opens” and clickthroughs, so it sounded like more comprehensive analysis/tracking is still needed.  Simpkins discussed some of the barriers they faced to implementing the system, such as cost and showing its value to their decision makers.  However, they’ve shown a 30% decrease in printing costs, both because of this system and other changes they’ve made.  The firm wants to deliver relevant content to the right people – they can’t yet identify that work comes directly from an email, but targeting is useful.  Simpkins called HTML “voodoo” – as a former programmer, I can say that HTML is the easiest of the programming languages, and with a good reference tool (you can find these online) anyone can learn it.  He said that through Concep’s tools, anyone can create and deliver professionally-branded HTML alerts, invitations, newsletters, etc.  They consider full CRM integration to mean seamless, end-to-end data management, which is the key to successful communications.  They get a much greater response when they send out relevant information.  However, Simpkins cautioned that with speed comes errors.  Jon Holden, via Twitter, suggested the “one hour rule. Produce quick, then proofread slow, by multiple eyes.”

When asked to identify a company using social media effectively, they used Accenture as one example, and provided a slide with their social media efforts as evidence. 

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Photo of Lindsay Griffiths Lindsay Griffiths

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the…

Lindsay Griffiths is the International Lawyers Network’s Executive Director. She is a dynamic, influential international executive and marketing thought leader with a passion for relationship development and authoring impactful content. Griffiths is a driven, strategic leader who implements creative initiatives to achieve the goals of a global professional services network. She manages all major aspects of the Network, including recruitment, member retention, and providing exceptional client service to an international membership base.

In her role as Executive Director, Griffiths manages a mix of international programs, engages a diverse global community, and develops an international membership base. She leads the development and successful implementation of major organizational initiatives, manages interpersonal relationships, and possesses executive presence with audiences of internal and external stakeholders. Griffiths excels at project management, organization, and planning, writes and speaks with influence and authority, and works independently while demonstrating flexibility in thinking, especially in challenging situations. She also adapts to diverse and dynamic environments with constant assessment and recalibration.

JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2019

In 2021, the ILN was honored as Global Law Firm Network of the Year by The Lawyer European Awards, and in 2016, 2017, and 2022, they were shortlisted as Global Law Firm Network of the Year. Since 2011, the Network has been listed as a Chambers & Partners Leading Law Firm Network, recently increasing this ranking to be included in the top two percent of law firm networks globally, as well as adding two regional rankings. She was awarded “Thought Leader of the Year” by the Legal Marketing Association’s New York chapter in 2014 for her substantive contributions to the industry and was included in Clio’s list of “34 People in Legal You Should Follow on Twitter.” She was also chosen for the American Bar Association Journal’s inaugural Web 100‘s Best Law Blogs, where judge Ivy Grey said “This blog is outstanding, thoughtful, and useful.” Ms. Griffiths was chosen as a Top Author by JD Supra in their 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards, for the level of engagement and visibility she attained with readers on the topic of marketing & business development. She has been the author of Zen & the Art of Legal Networking since February 2009.