Archive for the 'Leadership' Category


ILTACON 2015 Survival List

Author: Ed Colandra
August 12, 2015

ILTACON 5In less than a month, thousands of legal technology vendors, legal professionals, consultants and media will descend upon Las Vegas for the annual Legal Technology conference known simply as ILTACon. Starting August 30 and concluding Sept 3, and billed as an educational and networking event, ILTACon has become a mecca of topical panel discussions, product demos, arguably the largest exhibition hall, and an ever growing list of companies representing the hot topics of the Legal IT universe. Whether you are attending to demonstrate your latest eDiscovery solution, to meet up with colleagues with shared interests in Cloud computing, or to hear from the largest industry vendors on their vision on security, document management, time and billing software, or a host of others, ILTACon doesn’t disappoint. Here’s a shortcut link to the agenda for the complete grid and schedule.

ILTACon Survival List  Having attended ILTA Conference for several years, here’s my ILTACon survival list, whether you are an exhibitor, a panelist, a member of the media or an attendee:

Shoes While it’s true that many attendees adopt the grunge look when attending tech conferences (like wearing a Springsteen concert shirt from 1992), for the rest of us, it’s usually khakis, and a golf shirt or some version of gender-independent business casual. For booth duty, the company logo shirt, and black or khakis are also the typical uniform. But shoes can be your worst nightmare or your best friend. Personally, I have always held a high respect for those wearing stylish high heels for 3 days, but for me soft soled, leather uppers with a cushion insole has saved me from feeling the effects of those long, long walks getting around ILTACon (and if you haven’t been before, be sure to review the site map on the ILTACon website to truly appreciate what you can expect. One last thought, bring TWO pairs. My good friend and colleague found her fashionable sandals broke a strap last year at ILTACon in Nashville, and discovered it was easier to find a portable defibrillator than a comparable pair of shoes.

O-T-C Meds Of course, if you are on prescription medication from your physician, you know to bring them along. But if not, whether as a result of the aforementioned aches from walking, or the morning after a lively “social event” that goes into the wee hours, you’re going to be happy to have an ample supply of aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or whatever is your preferred pain reliever. Likewise extra contact lenses, eye care solutions, an extra pair of glasses, or anything that can help restore vision after an 8-10 hour non-stop day (and extended evening social). Vitamins (I like Airborne brand) can also restore depleted levels of vitamins and minerals from eating on the run, and the occasional adult beverage. And an inexpensive first aid kit with adhesive bandages, and antibiotic cream, and antacids always comes in handy.

Exhibitor Specific Stuff I’m just going to run through this list rather than making a checklist, but these simple reminders can be a life saver when it’s time to go home. Scissors, tape, sharpies, labels, sewing kit (buttons come loose), business cards, bowls for your goodies (aka premium items), bar stools/chairs (yep you can rent them, but they are often cheaper to buy and toss, than rent for $150 a day), power strips, inventory all the power cables, USB cables, realize that some laptops use display ports (which are different from the old VGA or even USB ports), business cards, scanner rental, and booth duty schedule. Don’t forget your laptop and phone chargers (and remember to bring them home and not leave them plugged into the hotel room outlet when you check out). I recommend at least two 2400ma power sticks to keep my phone from running out of juice Hint: this is a popular giveaway a booths these days. J If you’re not an exhibitor, and plan to schedule meetings with other non-exhibitors, stake out a convenient place within a short walk for privacy. Holding a meeting surrounded by people sitting on the floor charging their laptops and phones is never a good idea.

Final tips: Business cards – when you exchange business cards, take a moment to write down the gist of the conversation because you won’t remember when you get back home. Badge Scanners – Have a solid plan to incorporate the scans into your CRM (or Excel spreadsheet) when you return home, and send out a thank you note, EVEN if you think the odds are low that the contact isn’t a qualified buyer. They just might not be – yet. Be social but know when to say no. I’ve witnessed some dance moves that were alcohol infused. It wasn’t pretty, and the fact is, you are at a business event, not a party – even when it’s called a party.

Final rule: NO EMAIL AT THE BOOTH. You want to check the stock market, play Sudoku or Words with Friends, or catch up on email, don’t let the lull in traffic seduce you into thinking you’re off duty. If someone were to pass by your booth, and you are heads down on your iPhone, most likely they’ll just keep walking. Unless there is an urgent text, keep the phone in your pocket, and when there is a lull in the crowd, walk around and learn about your competitors and potential partners. Get the most out of your investment in the cost of being at ILTACon. Oh and have fun, too.


The Trouble with Marketing and Sales

Author: Cathy Kenton
August 6, 2014

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) penned an article regarding the relationships between marketing and sales entitled “The Buying Funnel”. Here is a quote from that article:

Marketing blames the sales force for its poor execution of an otherwise brilliant rollout plan. The sales team, in turn, claims that Marketing sets prices too high and uses too much of the budget, which instead should go toward hiring more salespeople or paying the sales reps higher commissions.

It’s the same old story, marketing complains that the sales team isn’t doing enough to close good leads, and the sales team(s) complains that marketing’s efforts result in poorly qualified leads or inadequate materials/support. Even in smaller companies where the organizational lines are blurred the tendency is for one group to lay blame on the other.

Sales and Marketing

In the HBR article, it is suggested that “when Sales and Marketing are fully integrated, boundaries become blurred. Both groups redesign the relationship to share structures, systems, and rewards”. I couldn’t agree more…there’s nothing like live interaction to help define not only the prospect’s needs, but also clarify in the marketer’s mind the supporting information the salesperson needs.

It’s all about Leads? Are the leads produced by your marketing efforts the right ones? It’s not about the quantity, it’s about generating quality prospects for the sales team. It’s all about working backwards, starting with results:

  • How many ‘qualified’ leads must you produce to generate the desired close-ratio?
  • What is the unique persona of a qualified lead?
  • Where can you find qualified leads?

Are the numbers realistic and achievable? If not, revise your projections…don’t pad the numbers with inappropriate leads just to make the first part of the equation work.


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

CASL image 2

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.

 

 


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.


Why DIY Marketing Doesn’t Work in Legal – Part 3

Author: Cathy Kenton
April 5, 2014

This is the third and final post in this series. The first segment can be found here, and the second post can be found here.

In the previous posts, I focused on how being too close to the business and how time/priority limitations both pose serious challenges for many legal service providers. In this final post, I’ll concentrate on the infrastructure necessary for measuring results.

Marketing is more science than art. In the legal vertical, it’s not about winning awards for the best (read pretty) artwork, nor the company that throws the biggest party at a conference, it’s about strategy, executing the strategy, and the end-of-the-day results. Knowing what’s working (and doing more of it) and what’s not (and doing less of it) is the key to marketing success.

Why is it so difficult for DIY marketing to succeed?

7. Failing to build a proper foundation

Creating an integrated marketing strategy that is appropriate for your market segment is commonly overlooked by DIY marketers. Looking down the road  to an exit strategy makes sense even for the earliest of start-ups. After all, how many races are won by runners who haven’t studied the course? Whether it’s a sprint or a marathon, you have to have a clear vision of where you’re going in order to get there in the shortest possible time.

Identifying the mid-points helps you keep a check on the results and adjust both your goals and strategies. Knowing what you want to achieve and when gives you the tools to analyze and improve your results.

8. Lacking the time and/or proper tools to measure results

One of my smartest mentors taught me to measure, measure, and measure. It was invaluable advice then, and it’s even more valuable now. Most DIY marketers I speak with have little or no knowledge of or access to the metrics they need to make sound marketing decisions. Without them, how do you determine what is a cost-effective investment, and what’s not. Understanding customer acquisition costs, customer lifetime values, and how those costs impact your marketing efforts is critical to reaching your goals.

You don’t necessarily need expensive or sophisticated tools, but you do need a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve. How many leads do you need to get one sale? What are the best tactics to achieve your goals? How does branding fit in to the equation? All are important questions to ask and answer before you spend another marketing dollar.

The science of marketing doesn’t have to be a full time job, but it does require the focus and market knowledge of an experienced marketing professional. If you don’t have the qualifications, it may be time to find one. Your company’s success depends on it


Internal Marketing – Bridging the Gap Inside Organizations

Author: Cathy Kenton
February 13, 2014

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about how few organizations really commit to or trust their marketing efforts. Regardless of the size of the organization, marketing typically comprises a significant portion of the budget, but it is not well understood or respected by other members of the organization.

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a sales executive lament that marketing “isn’t particularly helpful’, or a financial manager complaining about marketing expenses, I’d have retired to a sandy beach (with a case of Zinfandel)  a long time ago. At the same time, marketers complain that we’re misunderstood and nobody appreciates what we’re doing.

Bridging the Gap

Marketing departments and budgets are usually the first areas cut during difficult economies or sales slowdowns, and they often take the blame when revenue expectations fall short. In order to succeed in the long term, marketing needs to be unified with every other department within the organization.

So how do we align marketing with sales, business development, finance, and even customer support? We find out what they need and support them. It couldn’t be easier! Treat the departments within the company as valued clients and partners and before you know it, they’ll be your allies and advocates.

One of my first challenges after being hired at Law.com, was to identify and then support the best revenue opportunities. After evaluating several products, I determined that Online CLE offered significant short and long term revenue potential. The problem was, Online CLE wasn’t selling and in an effort to reduce expenses, the product was on the chopping block. Not to be deterred, I worked with the manager of the department, corporate executives, and the financial managers and convinced them to test a different approach to how we packaged our CLE products. With everyone’s buy-in and a small test budget we set out to repackage CLE and market the new offering. Our first test returned such a positive result that everyone quickly got onboard and we were able to efficiently scale-up the offering.

Every day, we marketers write content for our organizations preaching how the company listens to its customers, it’s time we take that message to heart and take our own advice.