Legal Marketing Association

zachary-nelson-192289The final session that I’d like to share from the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference this year focused on learning lessons from businesses outside of the legal industry – while there’s something to be said for understanding what your peers are doing within the industry, there’s a lot to be learned from other professionals as well. LMA brought Maggie Watkins, Chief Marketing Officer of Sedgwick LLP to moderate Lynn Skoczelas, Chief Experience Officer of Sharp HealthCare, Lilian Tomovich, Chief Experience Officer at MGM Resorts International, and Susan Letterman White, Founder and Managing Partner of Letterman White Consulting to offer their perspective on how businesses are using the client experience to up their game.

The panelists shared with us some key learning outcomes that we can adopt in our own pursuit of the excellent client experience. 
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photo-1433650552684-d4004a945d6cRegular readers of Zen know that one thing I never miss is a good in-house counsel panel. Who can skip the opportunity to listen to the clients of our clients tell us how to do our jobs better and what matters to them at this very moment?

With some heavy hitters on this year’s panel at the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. On the panel, we had:

  • Connie Brenton, Chairman of the Board for Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) and Senior Director of Legal Operations for NetApp, Inc.
  • Jeffrey Franke, Chief of Staff to the General Counsel and Senior Director of Global Legal Operations for Yahoo, Inc.
  • Steve Harmon, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Legal Services at Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • George Milionis, General Counsel of Petersen-Dean, Inc.
  • Moderator: Richard Caruso, Vice President of Legal Media at ALM LLC


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alex-knight-199368For many of us in the legal industry, a hot topic of the moment is artificial intelligence – less because we’re actively using it, and more because we know we need to understand it, at least enough to be able to speak about it intelligently with lawyers, colleagues and clients. AI is not new, and once again, legal is one of the industries that’s lagging behind – but you know what that means: it’s rife with opportunity.

With that in mind, a large group of us packed into a conference room at the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference to hear a panel of experts talk to us about how AI is changing the practice and marketing of legal services. Before we dive into my recap of the session, though, a little homework for you – head over to Jordan Furlong’s post on Getting Over Technology, and continue to look to him as a resource. The key thing that Jordan says, and underpinned the comments of the panelists at LMA is:

The truest observation ever made about technology remains this one from American computer scientist Alan Kay: ‘Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.’ British author and technophile Douglas Adams famously expanded on Kay’s comment: ‘Anything that’s in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented when you’re between 15 and 35 is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re 35 is against the natural order of things.’

These two quotations should be borne in mind anytime you start talking about technology in law firms. Law firms are stuffed to the rafters with technology, and always have been.”

So basically, no, Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling (my friend, Lance Godard, agrees, even in the face of JP Morgan’s COIN announcement). But AI is here, the pace of change is FAST, and the time for opportunity is now. 
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photo-1459184070881-58235578f004These days, everyone is talking about video – whether you’re livestreaming or pre-recording, it’s something the legal industry can no longer ignore. And those law firms doing it well are ahead of the curve, and getting attention! So I didn’t want to miss the LMA’s session on “Video Isn’t Just for Hollywood,” with Lane Powell’s Jennifer Castleberry, ReelLawyers’ Bill White, and Sutherland’s Stephen DiGennaro.

The session description said:

Video isn’t just for Hollywood anymore. Let’s take a look at innovative and successful ways to incorporate video into law firm websites. Serving up what your user wants — and not what you want — is critical. Our panelists will talk strategy including what has worked and what hasn’t. You will walk away wanting to incorporate video into your website or wanting to change how you’re approaching this content medium which will become main stream for law firms in the next three years.”

For this content-loving legal marketer, that description focuses on the same theme that we’re always talking about here at Zen: the audience. So whether your content is the written word or the spoken one, you’ve still got to know who your audience is, and what they want. 
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photo-1453847668862-487637052f8aLegal marketing is more than an art; it’s a science.

Or so says Tom Shapiro of Stratabeat, Inc, who presented one of the four TED Talks during an LMA16 breakout session at the recent Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. According to the session description:

The human brain processes information based on the work of more than 90 million neurons, and it’s these neurons that drive your prospective clients to do what they do. By attempting to market your law firm’s services without a deep understanding of human psychology, your marketing could actually be hurting your firm instead of helping it. According to Nielsen, 90% of buying decisions are made with the subconscious mind. Furthermore, neuroscience studies have proven that human decisions are emotionally driven. The factors that influence your prospective clients’ thinking — visual input, colors, emotion, social validation, repetition, neural filtering, etc. — are diverse, yet with the right approach are easy to execute effectively in your marketing. If you want stellar marketing results, your marketing should focus on delivering the most powerful impact to the subconscious mind.

In this session, learn the fundamentals of powerful marketing that move people to action. Understand the underlying reasons why certain marketing works and other marketing falls flat. Uncover actual neuromarketing techniques to appeal to the subconscious mind, attract more attention, drive more website visitors, propel higher volumes of inbound phone calls, create more memorable marketing and achieve increased conversions.”


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unsplash_523b1f5aafc42_1The best session that I attended at the Legal Marketing Association‘s Annual Conference by far was “ROI: Measuring So You Can Better Manage,” with Equinox Strategy PartnersJonathan Fitzgarrald (Full disclosure: Jonathan is a friend of mine, but whether I’d known him or not, this session was chock full of value).

Per the conference guide:

As stewards of marketing and business development resources, legal marketers can build trust and rapport within their firms and obtain buy-in for key initiatives by managing expectations and measuring results.

Join Jonathan Fitzgarrald of Equinox Strategy Partners as he provides real-life examples and best practices surrounding:

  • Key metrics for justifying your existence at your firm
  • Formats and frequency for reporting results
  • Determining which attorneys should see what metrics
  • How to better leverage peer (e.g., finance) relationships
  • Available technologies for tracking and reporting metrics”

Jonathan used the session to give us ten actionable steps that we can use within our own firms and organizations to better manage the relationships with our lawyers. 
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photo-1429277158984-614d155e0017“What if we showed up and said ‘We’re human too’?” asked Deloitte CMO, Diana O’Brien during last week’s Legal Marketing Association‘s keynote presentation.

It may seem like a strange message from a CMO when talking about marketing your brand, but like many of us, O’Brien has been emphasizing that the client experience is essential for marketing success – and the way to connect with your clients is by “creating moments that matter” and then acting on them.

She focused on a few key themes that supported this idea throughout her presentation: 
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cropped-005-lma-ne-2015-conference-email-banner_emailAs I’ve mentioned, the LMA NE conference was full of really meaty, thought-provoking content. One of the excellent sessions I attended was “Lead Nurturing Ecosystems – Moving Legal Marketing from an Art to a Science.”

The panelists for the session were:


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"Be more human." 

That was the closing advice from the LMA’s keynote speaker, Dan Pink, at this year’s conference.

While it was easy to compare Pink to the previous two years’ keynotes (Kat Cole and James Kane) and find him a bit lacking, especially when it came to audience engagement on Twitter, he still offered some great tidbits of information for us to takeaway (and many of the live tweeters following along offered a lot of strong praise for the speech).

Anecdotally, when speaking with several regular LMA attendees, they told me that they felt as though the keynote should be more of a "rah rah" type of presentation to pump up legal marketers, but instead, this was more for and about our lawyers.  I agree with that assessment, so the lawyers among my readers may find more value in the content from Dan Pink. 

For a much more concise recap of the session than I’m about to offer, check out Heather Morse’s post right from Pink’s presentation. 


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Attendees at the Legal Marketing Association conference will normally shy away from any session that is entirely presented by service providers – but if that session is done by One North, they’re making a big mistake. 

Not only are they always entertaining, but they assume the audience comes in with a high level understanding of the content to begin with (not always the case with all presenters, admittedly) and they deliver some solid food for thought. 

At #LMA15, their session was on "Creating Natively Digital Brand Experiences," which sounds like a lot of terrifying marketing speak. We are going to talk about branding and logos, but the marketing nerd in me loves all of this, so please bear with me. For the lawyers in my audience, you may want to read along anyway – it will give you some insight into the broader challenges that your firm and your firm’s marketing professionals face when it comes to branding (which is an important issue!). 

LMA members, if you missed this, Kalev Peekna and Nate Denton from One North, the conference presenters, will be sharing highlights from their presentation in the next Social Media SIG webinar on May 12th – members can register here


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