Archive for the 'Marketing' 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.

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:





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:





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.

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

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.

Why DIY Marketing Doesn’t Work in Legal – Part 1

Author: Cathy Kenton
March 3, 2014

This post is the first in a series.

For over nearly 15 years I’ve worked with companies that sell products and services to law firms and corporate legal departments. In that time, I’ve spoken with many executives that decided they either couldn’t afford outside marketing/business development assistance or they knew enough to continue tackling their marketing challenges internally.

Early in our conversations, when discussing their goals, they most often cited a desire to build their revenues to a size that would allow them to attract acquisition partners, or they wanted to increase profitability. And yet today, most of those DIY companies continue to struggle to grow or survive. They do so without a plan, and often market by the ‘seat of their pants’.

So, here are the first 3 reasons why DIY doesn’t work in the legal industry:

1. You lack objectivity

Let’s face it. For many legal vendors , your product(s) and/or service(s) isn’t just your business – It’s your baby! You’ve developed it because of a void you identified in the market…and if it works for you, it must be good for others. But successfully marketing and building a business takes more than good ideas and passion. It requires the ability to evaluate market forces with neutrality

2. You’ve become your own focus group

You’re the expert; nobody knows your product/service as well as you. Time and again, I’ve encountered companies that are so convinced of the benefits of their product/service that they fail to listen to their market. Add in an ever-changing communications landscape, and you may not be connecting with your prospects using the channels they prefer. Successful companies find a way to involve their customers and their prospects in both their product development and their communications.

3. Your personal preferences

An early mentor taught me that the only personal preferences that ever matter are those of your customers and prospects, not your personal preferences. Everything from messaging, to marketing channels, to imagery, to the use of color and type style must be geared to your buyer persona(s). Take yourself out of the equation and put yourself into the shoes of your prospects. Will your marketing appeal to them? If not, what are your odds of success? (Answer: Pretty small.)

To summarize, DIY marketing won’t work if you’re too close to your business. You’re the expert at what you do, but can you honestly stay abreast of all the changes to the marketing mix? And can you afford to take your own advice?

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, 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.

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.

Fall Has Arrived…Time to Think LegalTech NY 2014

Author: Cathy Kenton
September 27, 2013

Planning for LegalTech New York is in full swing at many companies. The 2014 event promises to kick-off a year full of innovation as the legal industry continues to grapple with changes to its business model.

Practice efficiency, alternative billing, and cloud computing are just a few of the topics on the table. New technology companies are teeing up their product launches and long-time industry leaders are revisiting their offerings to assure they remain competitive. Where do you fit in?

Something for everyone
With 50% of the attendees representing small and mid-sized firms, and the balance large and mega firms, there’s plenty of attendees for everyone. Small and mid-sized firms are receiving more attention from companies that just a couple of years ago were chasing large law firms or corporate legal department clients.

Will you be ready?
Every year, I hear a handful of exhibitors complain that LegalTech is too expensive and they just didn’t get enough value from their participation. Inevitably some of them drop out and don’t return. Almost without exception, they are the companies that show up, set up their booths and wait for an onslaught of new business…that’s their mistake. Like any marketing effort worth doing, planning needs to go beyond designing and shipping your booth and ordering ‘chotchkies’. The most successful companies start at the end…defining success. They ask themselves:

  • At the end of the show, how will we quantify our success (i.e. # of new prospects, # of meetings, client meetings, new business partnership opportunities, etc.)?
  • What pre-show activities do we need to undertake to assure success? Plan your outreach to accomplish your goals…don’t expect LegalTech to do all of your work for you.
  • What’s our post-show plan? Know before you board the plane exactly how you’ll follow-through on your new business opportunities.

There’s no better time than now to start working on LegalTech 2014
If you haven’t started your LegalTech 2014 planning, or you haven’t committed to your space yet, there’s no time like today! January will be here sooner than you think.