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Memorial Day….Summer’s here….5 Tips for ILTACON

Author: Cathy Kenton
May 26, 2015

May 25, 2015 – Guest Blogger – Ed Colandra flagpro_american-flag-memorial-day

In the US today, it is a day of memory for our brave heroes lost in military service.

It is also the official start of Summer, 2015.

As someone who lives in the Northeast, recent winters have become for me, in a word – brutal. So you would think that  someone enjoying an 80 degree day in the Garden State with low humidity would be a time of remembrance and celebration, and it is.

That is until a passing glance at the calendar jolted me into realizing that ILTACON, the annual ILTA Conference – this year at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas 8/30-9/3 - is less than 100 days away.

How did this happen? Didn’t I just clean the NYC street salt off my shoes from Legaltech in February?!

So I donned my “Keep Calm and (well, you know the rest)” T-Shirt, and took a deep breath. As part of team LVS, our mission is to ensure a smooth and successful use of our clients time and money at ILTA Conference. And there is a lot to do before, during and after what is arguably the biggest event in legal technology.

Our LVS clients are well-prepped for ILTA, but for the rest,  here are 5 tips while we still have 3 months until ILTA Conference:

ILTACON

 

 

 

1) Build a plan. Seriously friends, at the risk of sounding cranky on an otherwise beautiful day, you just got make a plan. In fact, a lot of plans. Plans for what you are doing at the conference, who is going, are you exhibiting, if so, what are you exhibiting, who is responsible for getting the trade show stuff to Vegas and back, deciding the booth duty schedule, the message, the premiums, the bingo stamps or stickers, etc etc etc. Write it all down, and review it every week until August, and twice a week after.  Bottom line: Know what you expect, and you will measure the results of your actions.

2) Network. I have made great friendships with people I see once or twice a year. I know about their weddings, new kids, relocations, grandkids, promotions, just as if we worked two aisles away in the same building. Not every chat has to lead to a “deal”, but make the most out of everyone you meet. Scanning is great for booths, but exchanging a business card is still the BEST way to really know you and someone else have “clicked” even a little. One person last year took pictures of each person she exchanged a business card with…creative, yes, but I’m just not ready to make that leap…

3) Social media really is important. Don’t believe the naysayers who tell you twitter is a waste of time. It’s the way people learn information about what’s going on during the conference. Read someone’s blog. Write your own blog. Re-tweet interesting stuff. Post a photo, just not of your lunch or hotel room. Embrace the author in you, speak your voice, follow others who in turn follow you, and let the machinery do its job.

4) What happens in Vegas… might come back to haunt you! Parties, I mean vendor hospitality events, are an integral part of ILTA Conference. Use them as part of the networking advice in bullet 2. Have fun, but do realize that a little alcohol can produce an inappropriate joke, that unfortunately, can harm an otherwise great person’s reputation. With or without a bit of vino, letting the ILTA world know you are miserable at Company Z, will likely not get you an interview, and might get you fired. Remember your prom advice ? Have fun, just not too much…

5) Stay your post. Never do email or surf from your phone while you are in your booth. Don’t assume that people only visit with you during breaks and off-times. Some people choose to walk the exhibition floor during sessions when it’s less crowded. If you look bored, wishing you were watching Cirque du Soleil, or playing Words with Friends, instead of paying attention, and giving attention to every person that walks by, you are undermining your own success. Need a break, Take a break. Just don’t take it at the booth.

Hope to see you in Vegas. Semper Fi.

Follow me on Twitter: @edcolandra or LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/edcolandra/

 

 

 

 


Hello Spring – Part 2

Author: Cathy Kenton
May 11, 2015

Welcome Back.

In our last blog post, we recommended looking back over your first quarter results, and honestly evaluating how they stacked up against your goals. This is Part II, where we provide some additional detailed suggestions on each topic.

Strategy:

  • Are your messages clear?
  • Have you validated your buyer-personas to ensure the messages resonate with your audience?
  • Is your SWOT analysis up-to-date, and your competitors identified?

Communications

  • Are you providing VALUABLE content to your contact database on a regular basis?
  • Is your social media program producing additional followers, connections, and improving your network? When was the last time you looked at your LinkedIn COMPANY page?
  • Do you have someone (besides you) who ensures that there is a blog update at least once a month?

Event Marketing

  • Besides the big conferences (LegalTech, ILTA, ABA), are you executing webinars and local one-on-many events?
  • If you are planning to attending ILTACon, have you reached out to existing clients to schedule meetings? (Psst, it’s not too early to start building an ILTACon calendar.)
  • Are there opportunities to leverage partners to expand your footprint and get in front of their clients before the summer break?

LVSSpring CleaningCollateral

  • Is it time to write a whitepaper or a case study that potential buyers could use to help make a purchasing decision?
  • Do you have brochures, videos, presentations or other tools that need a refresh (If it still has 2014 copyright or earlier, it probably could use a facelift).
  • Have you identified a new pain point that you could address for a specific segment of your market?

Website

  • Check copyright dates. Having a page with Copyright 2014 is outdated. Likewise, not updating the About Us page with new staff, office locations, and photos is downright lazy.
  • Do your testimonials reference people who aren’t employed by the companies they were working for when they wrote that amazing review of your product? It’s time to get new ones.

 

Just remember “Tempus Fugit” aka “Time Flies.” Before you know it, we’ll be reminiscing about the great time we all had in Las Vegas at ILTACon. Let time be your friend by assessing the checklist above and acting on it now.

And lastly, it never hurts to get a second opinion…

 


Hello Spring – Part 1

Author: Cathy Kenton
April 12, 2015

Hello Spring!

Even as the late snows are still melting in the Northeast, the buds are starting to appear on the trees in Central Park. And that can only mean one thing – MARKETING!

That’s right, marketing. You’ve had plenty of time to have executed your first quarter marketing plans. You visited frosty NYC in February to attend LegalTech, and had time to evaluate the results of your visit to the Big Apple. You contacted all the folks whose badges you scanned and business cards you picked up at the Hilton, and those new contacts are progressing nicely. You’re blogging and tweeting regularly, and your blog subscribers are up 200% from 2014.

LVSSpring CleaningOh and you’ve already got your sights set on ILTACon at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in August.

(Deep breath) OK. Maybe LegalTech could have been better. Maybe the contacts weren’t ready to buy. Maybe your “day job” has you too busy to be blogging and tweeting and writing articles on LinkedIn. And maybe, just maybe, the results you were expecting for the first quarter have fallen short of your expectations.

Cheer up! Spring is here and it’s the right time to have a long hard look at what you wanted to accomplish in the first quarter of 2015, recognize what didn’t exactly work, and be proud of what did.

The often misquoted George Santayana said in his book “Reason in Common Sense”: “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

So, here’s a high level checklist before you’re looking backwards in July. Our next blog will have details on what to think about for each of these topics:

  • Strategy
  • Communications
  • Event Marketing
  • Collateral
  • Website

Until then, gather your 1Q results, and regardless of where you ended up, be proud of the accomplishments you and your team achieved so far.

 

 

 

 


For some time, we’ve been experiencing a trend by legal vendors to market to everyone, in the hopes of landing a few solid leads.

 

Well I am here to say that it just isn’t working.

 

PTBARNUMJournalists, bloggers, and even real prospects are getting tired of it, and they are making their feelings known. In just the past week, three prominent legal luminaries/bloggers have shared similar frustrations of their own.

 

Bob Ambrogi posted a suggestion that vendors think about when and how to demo their products to bloggers/reviewers. On the same day, Niki Black posted an ‘Open Letter to LegalTech Vendors’. And she didn’t hold anything back, outlining many of the problems associated with legal marketing today. While both Bob and Niki were speaking as journalists, the problem is even worse for legal professionals who are constantly bombarded with irrelevant messages.

 

As a registered attendee of LegalTech, I’ve received calls from at least a dozen vendor representatives trying to schedule demos/meetings. When I explain I’m really not a prospect, the caller seems both astonished and confused.

 

If those transgressions weren’t enough, yesterday Craig Ball issued a ‘rant’ on his blog regarding eDiscovery surveys and the lack of true measurable data. Craig opined that many recent ‘surveys’ were not in fact surveys at all and instead simply useless “studies of attitudes”. His commentary is yet another example of industry luminaries saying ‘enough is enough’. Content should be king, but only if the content is real.

 

It should be clear this kind of marketing just isn’t working! Legal vendors, it’s time to get your marketing house in order and make certain you’re doing your homework and not just throwing stuff at the wall and hoping it sticks. Not only does that never work, but in many, many cases, it only hurts your marketing efforts.

 


This is part 1 of  two-part series on Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law (CASL).

On July 1, 2014, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (aka CASL) came into effect. Law firms and other companies that do business with Canadian companies need to understand the impact of these new regulations, or face big fines for non-compliance. LVS offers the following insights for our clients’ consideration:

CASL imageWhat is CASL? CASL (pronounced “Castle”) is the implementation of a new set of regulations, and subsequent penalties for non-compliance, by the Canadian Government. There is a transition phase which began on July 1, 2014, and continues until July 1, 2017.During the transitional period, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, may investigate and litigate against entities that don’t adhere to CASL. After July 1, 2017, any individual will also be able to sue any entity they believe is sending spam messages.   On face value, one might think that only predatory “spammers” need to be concerned about the implications of Canada’s latest anti-spam legislation. However, it is much further reaching than its friendly-sounding name would imply. In fact, it goes much further than just regulating bulk, unsolicited email communications most of us consider as “spam”. Instead, it creates an express (opt-in) consent-based set of rules that will apply to almost all electronic messages sent for a commercial purpose.

What kinds of messages fall under the CASL regulation? The regulations apply to any “Commercial Electronic Message” (CEM) sent from or to Canadian computers and devices in Canada. Messages routed through Canadian computer systems are not subject to this law. A CEM is any message that:

  • Is in an electronic format, including emails, instant messages, text messages, and some social media communications;
  • Is sent to an electronic address, including email addresses, instant message accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts; and
  • Contains a message encouraging recipients to take part in some type of commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, people/personas, companies, or organizations.

These types of electronic messages are exempt from CASL for various reasons.

  • Messages to family or a person with established personal relationship.
  • Messages to an employee, consultant, or person associated with your business.
  • Responses to a current customer, or someone who has inquired in the last six months.
  • Messages that will be opened or accessed in a foreign country, including the U.S., China, and most of Europe.
  • Messages sent on behalf of a charity or political organization for the purposes of raising funds or soliciting contributions.
  • Messages attempting to enforce a legal right or court order.
  • Messages that provide warranty, recall, safety, or security information about a product or service purchased by the recipient.
  • Messages that provide information about a purchase, subscription, membership, account, loan, or other ongoing relationship, including delivery of product updates or upgrades.
  • A single message to a recipient without an existing relationship on the basis of a referral. The full name of the referring person must be disclosed in the message. The referrer may be family or have another relationship with the person to whom you’re sending.

If your message does not meet one of these criteria, consent is required under CASL.