CRM + Valentine's Day = A Perfect Combination? We think so!

CRM may be the last thing you want to think about on Valentine’s Day, but consider this:

It’s all about relationships – CRM allows firms to strengthen and enhance the relationships that already exist and uncover new ones!

How does your firm’s CRM relationship rate?

Take our quiz to find out if your CRM relationship is red hot or ice cold!

Sara Coffey & Paul (P.J.) Sawchuk Appointed to LMA Local Steering Committee Roles

ContactEase is pleased to announce that Sara Coffey and Paul (P.J.) Sawchuk have been appointed to the Legal Marketing Association’s Local Steering Committees for their respective regions.

Sara Coffey, Documentation and Training Specialist at ContactEase, has been appointed Vice Chair of the Ohio Local Steering Committee of the LMA Midwest Region. The Midwest Region includes LMA members in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Sara is also entering her second year as a member of the LMA Talent Development Committee which focuses on developing future leaders within the organization. A former co-chair of the LMA Marketing/Competitive Intelligence Shared Interest Group, she has been a member of LMA since 2004. Prior to joining ContactEase, Sara was the Senior Marketing Content Manager at Jackson Kelly where she had administrative responsibility for the firm’s CRM platform and worked with attorneys at the individual and practice levels to develop and implement creative marketing and business development strategies and business development coaching.

P.J. Sawchuk, Director of Support & Technology at ContactEase, has been appointed Member-at-Large to the Baltimore Local Steering Committee of the LMA Mid-Atlantic Region. The Mid-Atlantic Region includes LMA members from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. P.J. also served as Technology Chair of the 2019 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Conference. In his role, he will focus on strategic programming. He looks forward to working with the committee to identify new and interesting topics from which members can derive value and inspiration — especially those that have been successfully adopted outside of legal. Prior to joining ContactEase, he was Director of IT at Franklin & Prokopik. He is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business.

As a longtime supporter of LMA, ContactEase is proud to continue its involvement and strengthen its relationship through these appointments. CEO and Chairman, Jeff Reade, was inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame in 2018 and is a former member and treasurer of the LMA International Board of Directors. He has been a member of LMA for nearly three decades. Jennifer Whittier, President, is a frequent speaker at LMA events across North America and former co-chair of the Vendor Shared Interest Group.

See You in Denver?

ContactEase looks forward to continuing its support of LMA as exhibitors at the 2020 LMA Annual Conference in March. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog for more information on the conference and what attendees can expect!

Are You California (Consumer Privacy Act) Dreaming?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect on January 1, 2020 and many law firm marketers (and their firms’ privacy attorneys) are scrambling to ensure they are compliant when the law goes into effect next week. If you’re still struggling to understand the law or how it impacts your firm, you’re not alone. While the law goes into effect in January, it’s unlikely that enforcement will begin until July so you still have some time to figure it out. Enforcement of the law will begin in July, so you still have some time to figure it out.

Do I Need to Comply?

The number one question we’ve received at ContactEase is, “Do I have to comply with the CCPA?” The CCPA applies to with businesses with more than $25 million in revenue or access to the personal information of more than 50,000 people. In a recent webinar from the Legal Marketing Association and ILTA, the panelists recommended asking the following:

  • Do you have California residents on any of your mailing lists? (Do you know?)
  • Do you ever swap contact lists with event co-sponsors or other third-party entities? Do you buy/acquire contacts lists (and import them into your CRM system)?
  • Are you collecting user details related to website traffic and or/click tracking on your mailings (analytics, email campaign systems and marketing automation tools, cookies, etc.)?
  • Can anyone in your firm download contact information? What about your vendors?
  • Does your disclaimer language address how to opt-out from having information sold?

If any of the above apply to your firm and it has annual revenues of over $25 million, you must comply with CCPA. Under the CCPA, California consumers have the right know if companies sell their information, what information companies have already collected on them, and the option to opt out from either or both the sale and collection of their personal information.

Selling Personal Information

Most law firms are not in the business of selling personal information; however, according to the LMA/ILTA webinar, “sold” in this instance may also mean “providing, disclosing or making information available in exchange for consideration or a thing of value.” Many firms receive mailing lists as a sponsorship benefit. Marketers and their attorneys often review these lists to identify persons of interest to connect with or meet at conferences and other events. And while we can’t be certain that this will fall under CCPA, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Privacy Policy Examples

One of the requirements of the CCPA is a page on a company’s website that provides information on how to opt out of the sale or exchange of personal information. THis page must provide California residents with the ability to say, “Do Not Sell my Personal Information.” This page should include the information you track and how it is used. Here are are few examples:

The CCPA also requires that firms be able to provide information tracked over the past twelve months and that this information be provided upon request within 45 days of the request. This includes cookies as well as personal information and information that you may log in your CRM system (such as Activities and Tracked items in ContactEase). In preparation for CCPA as well as other data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CASL, we have recommended that clients not track anything they would not want to share upon request. This information must be provided within 45 days of the request. In ContactEase, this can be accomplished with a simple search and export.

Additional Resources

The number of available CCPA resources seems to grow by the day as the effective date draws near. Firms are being contacted by companies that specialize in compliance to create “do not sell my personal information” buttons on their sites (and ensure they actually work) and companies are setting up email accounts to deal with customer requests. Here are just a few we’ve collected:

Contact Us

If you have questions about the CCPA or the impact it may have on your firm’s data, contact us!

Whittier to Discuss CRM Strategy at LMA Eastern Canada Conference

As new platforms and “CRM adjacent” technologies have emerged to work alongside primary CRM systems, there has been a huge change in the marketing and business development technology landscape. Jennifer Whittier joins a panel of industry experts at the 2019 LMA Eastern Canada Conference to help marketers navigate this changing landscape and share how how to build a strategic technology and marketing plan.
The panelists will discuss how marketers can build a strategic (and successful) plan for marketing technology, audit what they currently have to establish how well it addresses their changing needs, create a business case, and win the approval of their lawyers to maximize the firm’s return on investment for CRM.

STAMP of Approval: Building a Strategic Technology and Marketing Plan
November 21, 2019 at Hyatt Regency Toronto | Breakout C2 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. 

Panelists:

  • Michael Warren, Vice President, CRM Practice – Wilson Allen
  • Alison Janzen, Director of Marketing & Business Development – Torkin Manes
  • Kim Farwell, Director, Marketing & Communications – Blake, Cassels & Graydon
  • Jennifer Whittier, President – Cole Valley Software

For more information on the LMA Eastern Canada Conference or to register, visit: https://www.legalmarketing.org/page/2019-eastern-canada/homepage

Jennifer Whittier Joins Panel of CRM Experts at LMA Tech West

LMA_TW-SpeakerGraphic

Cole Valley Software President, Jennifer Whittier, will co-present “CRM Evolution: Three Spotlights on How to Drive Technology with Strategy” at LMA Tech West on October 22 in San Francisco. This session brings together three CRM experts to present their unique viewpoints on strategies for successfully selecting and implementing the right tools and systems to improve client service and retention and enhance business development, efficiency and profitability.

CRM Evolution

Jennifer will discuss the right approach to selecting and implementing a CRM to achieve the firm’s goals. Joining Jennifer on the panel are Chris Fritsch, CRM Success Consultant and Founder, CLIENTSFirst Consulting, who will discuss how to develop a firm’s strategy and select the right technology to support it, and Jacqueline Madarang, Associate Director of Marketing Technology, Blank Rome, who will share how she ties technology to the firm’s marketing and business development goals.

Learn more about the program and register here.

The Return of Pumpkin Spice and Another Look at the ContactEase Holiday Card Survey

We might not be ready for summer to end, but we are ready to take another dive into our survey of law firm holiday card practices (now with 100% more pumpkin spice)!

It seems that the holiday season comes earlier every year. Starbucks released its Pumpkin Spice Latte today (the earliest release yet) and along with it the reminder that soon the days will get shorter and law firm marketers will begin thinking about their firm’s holiday cards (if they haven’t already).

We work with our clients year round to share best practices, implement processes and help alleviate some of the stress associated with the holiday card season. That’s why we weren’t anticipating too many surprises when we put out the call for our survey of law firm holiday card practices last year. We knew that firms were sending cards and that most were using CRM to manage them; however, one of the most surprising things we learned was about the importance of holiday cards.

Holiday Card Importance

When asked about the importance of holiday cards on a scale of one to five (one being least important and five being most important), we weren’t surprised that many ranked them somewhere in the middle. We were surprised by the number of firms ranking cards as very important.  As you can see in the graphic above, an equal number of respondents designated holiday cards as extremely unimportant and very important. Of course the business of law is built on relationships and sending cards and staying in touch can enhance existing relationships, but it shouldn’t be your only means for staying in touch.

No matter how important holiday cards are to your firm, managing you firm’s relationships should be paramount. Whether you’ve decided holiday cards are somewhat important or very important, they shouldn’t be a replacement for year round communication. Besides, if you’re only reaching out to them during the holidays, how important are they? Tracking business development and marketing activity in your firm’s CRM can go a long way in ensuring that you’re reaching out on a regular basis and that your efforts are coordinated across the firm.

In celebration of PSL Day, we want to know how you’re planning to spend the remaining days of summer!  Let us know by September 23, 2019 for your chance to win a Starbucks gift card. Winners will be selected in a random draw and notified by e-mail on September 24, 2019. 

 

Welcome to Dogust

It’s #dogust and we’re celebrating the dogs of ContactEase (and the humans who love them)! If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve already met one of our four-legged friends, Welker Elliott.  What you may know about #dogust is that August 1 is the unofficial birthday of rescue dogs. In this post, we’re introducing you to the rescue work of ContactEase IT Technical Manager, Greg Thomas.

When he’s not working with clients to ensure a smooth implementation or help them use CRM to its fullest potential, Greg volunteers with the American Belgian Malinois Rescue, a breed-specific rescue organization that focuses on, you guessed it, the Belgian Malinois.

Rescue Logo

According to the American Kennel Club, the Belgian Malinois is known for being “smart, confident and versatile.” It is also known as a “world-class worker who forges an unbreakable bond with its human partner.” These qualities make the breed a popular choice with police, federal agencies and other law enforcement. In fact, it was as a military police K-9 officer in the United States Army that Greg first became familiar with the breed.

Mailinois can also be very high strung and require a lot of attention which is why not all make the cut for this kind of work. As a result, many end up in shelters. And that’s where the ABRM comes in – the organization tries to rescue and place as many dogs as it can.

Greg and Lillie

Greg with recent transport, Lillie

ABMR has volunteers like Greg across the United States who conduct home visits and interview potential families (both foster and adoptive). Volunteers also help coordinate transfers of Malinois across the country by breaking the transport into one-two hour segments. Local volunteers drive and transfer to the next driver until the dog reaches its final adoptive or foster family. Greg has helped transfer dogs from Maine to Florida, New Jersey to Texas, and even adopted a few of his own. Greg and his family have adopted three Belgian Malinois through the rescue.

 

Law Firm Holiday Card Survey Results: Part II

As we mentioned in our last post, you don’t have to wait for the traditional holidays to celebrate, so before we take another dive into the results of our law firm holiday card survey, we’d like to wish you a happy Golden Girls Day! If only we could step off the lanai and into the kitchen to discuss them over some cheesecake (July 30 also happens to be National Cheesecake Day)…

In this post, we’ll look at the types of cards they send. Based on our experience, we expected e-cards to edge out traditional paper ones; however, it seems that most firms send a combination of both.

Holiday Card Types

 

If you’re going to invest in physical cards, make sure they stand out. As Ross Fishman notes in Law Firm Holiday Cards Dos and Don’ts, “Done well, the cards should reinforce your firm’s unique brand message, or at least stand out somehow, so they don’t get immediately discarded and forgotten.” For something that may immediately get thrown out (if opened at all), physical cards can be expensive. They require postage and someone to stuff the envelopes. They also require a good mailing list (this is where CRM can help) to ensure they arrive at all.

E-cards have certainly evolved over the years. They are fast and efficient, they may be personalized,  and of course they save paper. But, with all the other things going on around the traditional holiday season, they can also get lost in already busy inboxes or stuck in the junk folder. Not to mention that some of your clients may not check their email or even have an email address.

When we talked to Jacki Braga, Director of Marketing at Morse in Waltham, Massachusetts, she told us that lawyers at the firm have a choice between paper and e-cards. She said, “We’ve found that we get a lot more feedback from recipients by sending a fun e-card than we do generic paper cards, but I DO agree that attorneys who actually take the time to write a note to special clients are doing the right thing. And they can still send an e-card, too!” Last year, the firm’s e-card was a finalist in Above the Law’s annual holiday card contest! You can find the baking themed card (and some delicious holiday recipes) here.


Thank You for Being a Friend

In honor of Golden Girls Day, we want to thank our clients and contacts for being a friend! Let us know how you’re using CRM to manage your firm’s friendships (i.e. relationships) for a chance to win a Golden Girls’ Pez! Send your answer to marketing@contactease.com or post in the comments below. All responses will be entered into a random drawing.

Golden Girls Day

 

 

Law Firm Holiday Card Survey: The Results are in

We’re coming off of a heatwave in many parts of the United States and Canada, so while it might seem a little early to think about holiday cards, it’s something we’ve been thinking a lot about here at ContactEase!

Last year, we received a record number of questions about holiday cards from our clients. Many wanted to know what other firms were doing, what kinds of cards they were sending and even the holidays they were celebrating.

With all the features that today’s CRM systems can offer — from business development tracking to managing expenses and dashboard reporting — it can be easy to forget about traditional marketing practices like sending your firm’s holiday cards. This got us thinking about holiday card practices among law firms and how we might better understand them. In late 2018, we polled law firm marketers and lawyers to gather their thoughts on holiday cards (and to determine if they gave them any thought at all).

While the results weren’t a complete surprise (as noted in the graphic below, most respondents indicated their firm sends some form of holiday card), they did shed some light on how firms are using CRM to honor traditional marketing practices and evaluating their effectiveness.

Holiday Cards 1

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our findings with you along with our insight and even some best practices. And if you didn’t have a chance to complete our survey, we’d still like to hear from you! Let us know what your firm thinks about holiday cards by commenting below or contacting us at marketing@contactease.com.

Did You Know?
In an effort to stand out from the crowd, some firms are opting to send cards (electronic and paper) at different times of the year. The National Day Calendar keeps track of over 1,500 fun and unusual days making sure we #celebrateeveryday.