Fates Reforged: Law Firm Strategic Planning in the New Client Era
Last week I had the great privilege and pleasure of representing Pitchly at the Thomson Reuters Institute’s Marketing Partner Forum (TRIMPF) in gorgeous Amelia Island, Florida. I’ve attended this conference eleven times, and every time I am struck by what a phenomenal job the TRIMPF team does – from the choice of venue to the choice of speakers and sessions, everything is first-rate.
Unfortunately, I could not attend every session, despite my desire to do so! I was able to listen in on a few each day and I have to say that every one of them was a master class with the best-of-the-best.
On day one, I sat in on Erin Corbin Meszaros and Norm Mulluck’s session, Quantifying Marketing’s Impact to the Business. Their premise was that one of the unfortunate consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the collateral damage wrought on law firm marketing department budgets. The conversation was focused on the ways that marketing and client service departments enhanced their productivity and effectiveness throughout 2020 and 2021 and which projects had the greatest impact on their firms. As the leader of a Client Value team in the software industry, I was struck by the ways that firms are embracing some core client success precepts into their work, such as leveraging project management technology, developing new matter intake processes to capture better data, NPS, and collecting feedback during and after the course of a project. The struggle to be proactive vs reactive is real and many firms are meeting the challenge.
The keynote on day two was delivered by Brian Solis, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce. He started out talking about how technology changes us as people - and used the Lawyer Cat Zoom as an example of how hard it can be to keep up with changes in technology. I hate to say it, but that video is still really funny. “I am not a cat!” The challenge we all face, whether you work in a law firm or a tech company, is not just to Iterate on old processes, ie: doing the same things better, but rather evolving to where we are doing new things that make the old ways obsolete. Out with the old!
No one who knows me will be surprised that my favorite session was Towers of Babel: Managing Disparate Data Across the Firm. It was moderated by Chris Fritch, CEO of ClientsFirst with panelists Cindy Thurston Bare, Peter Geovanes, Lisa Simon, and Paula Zirinsky. This session could easily have been called “Help Us, We are Drowning in Data” because each panelist spoke about the challenges that they faced in first understanding what data the firm was collecting and then bringing it together to harness its power and to derive actionable insights from it. I was utterly fascinated by Lisa’s Client Health Dashboard – which is another key element of a client success program in other industries and which I hadn’t seen another law firm use.
Finally, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel with two other start-up executives, Jazz Hampton, CEO of TurnSignl, and Evan Parker of Parker Analytics. I have to confess that following Jazz was pretty humbling. His company is completely unique and sits at the intersection of civil rights law and technology and is the epitome of what Brian Solis spoke about. (Please check out Turnsignl!) During my time, I shared the Pitchly story and the premise that most start-ups are conceived when someone gets so frustrated with the old way of doing things and then decides to do something to improve it. In our case, our founder, Ryan Gerhardy, spent way too much time during his time as an investment banker collecting and managing experience and then turning that information into tombstones and other pitch assets. His frustration led him to decide that there had to be a better way! Thanks to his idea and Michael Brook’s innovative technical skills, Pitchly was born. We’ve come a long way since then and it was incredibly fun to share our progress with the audience.
For anyone who missed my session, I'll be doing a short Take a Peek at Pitchly online session on February 11 at 1pm EST. I'll be showing the basics of Pitchly (including tombstones) and how easy it is to use. I hope you see you there. Register online.
All in all, it was a fantastic conference, and I appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with long-time friends and make new ones. After two long years of only seeing each other on Zoom, it was a refreshing change.
Next up: LMA National in March...and I am counting the days. We'll be at Booth #10. Please stop by and say hello.