I have been part of the legal marketing community for just shy of 20 years, both as a service provider and an in-house business developer, and I have attended the annual conference at least a dozen times.
Every year, it’s a chance for us old timers to reconnect and to throw open the doors and welcome our new members. This year, of course, was different, but yet still so familiar.
We may not have been together in body, but we were together in spirit, connecting in the event chats, in the virtual booths and via video networking. (I, for one, loved being able to engage with other attendees during the event. It was so real and spontaneous!)
Kudos to the event organizers for reimagining our conference in a way that facilitated meaningful conversations and learning experiences.
Every year after the conference, I collect my notes and go back through all the tweets and LinkedIn posts and reflect on what I learned and what others have shared through the week.
This year, I’d like to share those thoughts with you and would love for you to share your thoughts and insights in the comments here.
- There are no words left for 2020 and the challenges we are all facing. “Unprecedented” “Once in a lifetime” “Out of an abundance of caution” are all words that I never thought we’d hear so often, and grow to loathe so much. What is clear -- and unsurprising -- is that legal marketers and business developers have stepped up and led through all this change. Remote teams. Demand for content. Reimagined events. Building pipeline virtually. Technology to support all of this. Check, check, check! It has always been my belief that those who go into this line of work generally share two characteristics: problem solving and service orientation. There has never been a time when these traits were more important.
- Diversity and inclusion and equity continue to rise in prominence, discussion, and (the best part) action. I was captivated by Baratunde Thurston’s keynote address. He addressed incredibly serious topics with humor and helped many of us see through his eyes and reframe the way we think about issues of race in America. This can be a very uncomfortable topic and it sparked lively (to say the least) conversation in the chat. Side-note: this was one of those times when the virtual format of the conference was a huge benefit. Being able to interact with each other in real time could not have happened if we had all been sitting in a ballroom.
- Data and how to use it remains a challenge and a goal. Whether it is CRM or experience management, or client journey mapping, information is key. I have to note that this has been a recurring theme for the 20 years I have been in this business and we are still trying to figure out - but technology continues to evolve and make it easier. Firms of every size have siloed data and while other departments in the firm can mostly operate in that way, Marketing must have aggregated and holistic views of a wide range of data to develop strategies and to be proactive and responsive with clients and attorneys. Some of the conversations I had with attendees reflected some frustration that they are unable to get the support they need from other departments at their firm, or that they simply don’t have the resources to implement some of the solutions in the market. The best part of my job is to be able to talk about how Pitchly can solve a host of these issues without the complexity of other solutions. As we like to say, let’s put that data to work!
- Finally, the pandemic has brought the importance of developing and strengthening client relationships to a whole new level. In a world where we can no longer meet in person, figuring out new ways to build and maintain those relationships is mission critical. As marketers, we are finding innovative solutions to this challenge and from what I heard, they are quickly becoming the new normal. The pace of change has accelerated, and lawyers are embracing change in ways most of us could never have imagined. While I don’t have a crystal ball, I foresee that over the next couple of years we will see a change in the way law firms develop business and manage client relationships, and that they will (finally) adopt the strategies and methods used by other industries.
I welcome your comments and thoughts! What were your key conference takeaways?