Archive for the 'Legal Buyers' Category


This is part 2 of a two-part series on Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

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Implied vs. express consent

The law defines two types of consent: implied and express. Implied consent is a looser interpretation, whereas express consent requires action from both sender and recipient.

Implied consent includes when:

  • A recipient has purchased a product, service or made another business deal, contract, or membership with your organization in the last 24 months;
  • You are a registered charity or political organization, and the recipient has made a donation or gift, has volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you; or
  • A professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you, or is conspicuously published, and who hasn’t published or told you that they don’t want unsolicited messages.

If your recipients don’t meet any of the above criteria, then express consent is required before you can send campaigns to them.

Express consent means written or oral agreement to receive specific types of messages, for example “You want to receive monthly newsletters and weekly discount notifications from Company B.”

Express consent is only valid if the following information is included with your request for consent:

  • A clear and concise description of your purpose in obtaining consent
  • A description of messages you’ll be sending
  • Requestor’s name and contact information (physical mailing address and telephone number, email address, or website URL)
  • A statement that the recipient may unsubscribe at any time.

The requestor can be you or someone for whom you’re asking. If you’re requesting consent on behalf of a client, the client’s name and contact information must be included with the consent request.

During the transition period, July 1, 2014-July 1, 2017, you may continue to send messages to recipients from whom you have implied consent, unless they unsubscribe. After the 2017 cut-off date, you may only send to recipients with express consent or whose implied consent is currently valid under CASL—that is, 24 months after a purchase or six months after an inquiry.

 

Additional requirements

In addition to understanding what qualifies as CASL-regulated message, and what type of consent is needed, there are a few other details to keep in mind.

  • You must retain a record of consent confirmations.
  • When requesting consent, checkboxes cannot be pre-filled to suggest consent. Each subscriber must check the box themselves for consent to be valid.
  • All messages sent must include your name, the person on whose behalf you are sending (if any), your physical mailing address and your telephone number, email address, or website URL.
  • All messages sent after consent must also include an unsubscribe mechanism, and unsubscribe requests must be processed within 10 days.

Stiff Penalties for Non-Compliance

There are new consequences for spammers, including fines of $1M for individuals and $10M for corporations per violation. It’s important to note that individuals and companies, including directors, officers and other agents, are responsible and liable for the messages they send.

Beyond SPAM

In addition to the traditional SPAM referenced above, the new CASL rules will impose a consent requirement for installation of a computer program on any other person’s PC, smart phone or other computer-based device. Whether the program is installed for a malicious or to commit fraud is not relevant. Technically this means that virtually every business that operates a website, sells or provides mobile applications, or incorporates any kind of software into their products or otherwise make software available to customers will need to review and likely modify their current practices for installing software, and implement and track proof of compliance. For example, using a virtual meeting program to conduct a demonstration or review a proposal, where the user is required to download a piece of software onto their PCs or other device, will constitute a circumstance where proof of audit and compliance is necessary.

 

 

 

Note: LVS provides this article as a resource, based on currently available and published information on this topic, but it should not nor does it constitute legal advice. If you have more questions about CASL, we encourage you to contact an attorney in your area who is familiar with this issue.

 

 


Why DIY Marketing Doesn’t Work in Legal – Part 2

Author: Cathy Kenton
March 25, 2014

This is the second post in this series. The previous post can be found here.

If you’ve got plenty of time on your hands to develop and implement your marketing strategy, this information doesn’t apply to you. But, in my experience most company executives and entrepreneurs suffer from a common malady…there’s only 24 hours in a day.

How does this limitation negatively impact your DIY marketing?

4. You’re not leveraging your resources

Building and managing a successful business is about leveraging resources. Many executives make the mistake of thinking that their college Marketing 101 course qualifies them to do the strategic analysis necessary to properly position their offerings. Or worse, they hire a low-cost recent graduate with no real-world or legal specific experience.

Marketing can become a revolving door. Executives hire a marketing person, expecting them to know their product and service offerings and ‘hit the ground running’. Most often the honeymoon period ends early and the company is back to square one. Marketing to the legal vertical is different from most other industries. It is imperative to  use a legal marketing specialist to validate strategies and positioning and to help create a logical plan. It is the single best investment in your business.

5. You can only handle so many #1 priorities

Most executives I meet are challenged  with multiple priorities. They’re wearing lots of hats, filling several roles, and let’s face it; they haven’t got the time to dedicate to developing, implementing, and analyzing a successful marketing strategy and plan.

Marketing planning is an intensive discipline. I personally recommend to my clients that they ‘start at the end’. By determining upfront what they want to accomplish over a given period, we are able to develop strategies and plans to reach their goals. Having specific goals allows us and them to monitor progress.

6. Your marketing becomes reactive rather than strategic

It’s easy to get sidetracked with marketing:

  • Sales are off and you need to do something to fix it now • A offer  comes in to sponsor a new event • Your competitor is speaking on a panel or exhibiting at a conference and you need to be there too

Now you’re reacting. Instead of developing a strategy, creating a plan, implementing the plan, and measuring the results, you’re all over the place. You need help filtering the noise and figuring out what actually fits into your overall strategy.

To be successful at DIY marketing you need to make it a priority, finding the right amount of time to dedicate to marketing, and have the expertise and discipline to create and follow a strategic plan. If you can’t make these commitments, you’ll be hard-pressed to succeed in fulfilling your goals.


In 1992 after a seven-year career as a litigation paralegal, I decided to move into the world of marketing and selling to lawyers. I knew instinctively that my time “in the trenches” would serve me well as I went to work developing messaging and selling technology software to lawyers.

Having spent three months on a law school campus earning my paralegal certificate, I saw first-hand how law students were converted into lawyers. What I didn’t realize until I entered my new career was how many of the same factors that go into legal training influences the way lawyers buy legal products and services.

Why is the legal vertical so challenging?

1. Law School Creates Lawyers – Like medical school, the competitiveness and demand on law students fundamentally changes their personalities. From LSATs to applications, the competition starts before the first day of class. Drop-out/failing rates and class ranking struggles pervade the psyches of students forcing them to focus inward and manage their time selfishly. The better the school, the higher the class ranking, the better the job at graduation (especially in a tough job market). That competitiveness continues into the firm environment.

2. Law Firms have a Different Business Model – A carry-over from the law school mentality, law firms are a bastion of individuality and competitiveness. Rather than pulling together, law firms are made up of pockets (practice groups) that invariably distrust each other. David Maister’s article Are Law Firms Manageable? first published in The American Lawyer, addresses the issues of distrust and competitiveness, and how they impact firm values.

3. Competition is the Name of the Game – The law school process encourages critical thinking and teaches students to advocate every side of an argument. There is no right or wrong, only winning and losing arguments. Three years of arguing in law school, and it’s no wonder lawyers challenge every claim a vendor makes. As consumers, they question ‘the biggest’ and ‘the best’ and they are risk adverse. Few lawyers want to risk trying something new for fear of making a mistake and suffering the scorn of their peers…in short, they’re not early adopters by nature.

My first position after leaving the law firm was as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a legal technology company that developed and marketed case/practice management software. From the onset, we knew we had to overcome aging Luddite managing attorneys, and reasoned that within a few short years, younger more technologically inclined lawyers would move into decision-making positions and advocate for more technology. Along with our competition, we truly believed that as younger, more tech-savvy attorneys worked their way up the ranks, they would embrace productivity enhancing technology, and by the new millennium, every attorney would use practice management software.

And yet even today, only 33% of attorneys use case/practice management (according to the 2010 “Perfect Practice® – Legal Technology Institute Case, Matter, and Practice Management System Software Study” conducted by The University of Florida Law’s Legal Technology Institute, link unavailable at this writing).

What we failed to understand at the time was that the demands placed on young attorneys to perform require them to narrowly focus on the issues at hand. Most young attorneys enter the practice of law in subservient roles and are required to use whatever technology their firms use. Their goals are limited to getting the job done, and as they mature and move through the ranks, they remain focused on getting the job done, and not on how to do the job better.

This is not to say that lawyers will never embrace technology fully. It is to say that there are factors unique to the legal industry that impact buyer behavior. As sellers of legal products and services, we need to hone-in on the specific buying characteristics of this unique market of buyers and craft messages to address their needs and the drivers that most influence them.