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.

 

 

 

LMA 19: See You Soon Atlanta!

LMA Exhibitor Resized
As a long-time supporter of the Legal Marketing Association, we look forward to the annual conference every year. We get to catch up with clients and friends and learn about new technology and trends in the industry. It’s a lot of fun and we always learn something new! You can find us in the Exhibit Hall at Booth 227, but we’re looking forward to catching a few sessions as well. The agenda for this year’s conference looks great. Here are a few sessions we’re excited about and why we’re planning to  #stayuntiltheend:

How to Secure a Seat and Have Your Voice Heard at the Power Table
Breakout Session Two | 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

A panel of diverse directors, CMOs and CBDMOs from Am Law 100, 200 and beyond will share their best practices for demonstrating value to the firm’s leadership and the internal client. Gain tips and takeaways through real-life examples and success stories. Plus, hear stories about what not to do when you want to be heard. Your input and participation is encouraged and there will be ample time for your questions and comments. You will leave better equipped to forge a plan of action and timeline for becoming a trusted advisor to the firm while seated at the power table.

Why We’re Excited:
Did you know that several members of the ContactEase team are former law firm marketers? While we’re no longer working inside law firms five days a week, we use our experience every day when talking to clients. We understand how challenging it can be to show your value and find your voice. We look forward to taking the information we learn in this session and sharing it with our clients.

The Outsourced Resource: How to Identify, Hire and Leverage Consultants with Internal Resources to Achieve Your Strategic Objectives
Breakout Session One | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

Law firms are continuing to pursue efficiencies — from technological advancements to outsourcing roles. Allowing certain support staff roles — or specific projects — in both the practice and business of law to be outsourced has been beneficial in enabling law firms to focus on the evolution of legal services. Outsourcing is relevant to marketing leadership, whose teams are often stretched thin and yet face expectations to deliver results, which are higher than ever. This panel dives into how to maximize your use of both external and internal resources to achieve strategic objectives.

Why We’re Excited:
Clients often come to us looking for ways to increase efficiency. Often this is by integration marketing automation tools with CRM (see Yes, You Can Successfully Integrate Your Website with CRM for one example). While some clients seek to optimize efficiency through integration of their technologies, others look to outside consultants. We’re excited to learn how marketing departments are making the case for these additional resources, who they’re hiring and how they keep the momentum going.

CRM Therapy — The (Juris) Doctor is in: Client CRM Confessions
Breakout Session Five | 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. | Wednesday, April 10

Research suggests that up to 70% of CRM implementations fail to meet expectations. This not only results in a tremendous loss of money, time and resources, but also stress and anxiety for marketing professionals trying to implement the systems.

But CRM systems don’t have to drive you crazy. During this therapy session (aka, presentation), marketing professionals who have implemented a variety of CRM systems will share their biggest headaches and frustrations from a “therapy couch.” And, the CRM “doctor” will offer some of the most successful “treatments/remedies” that include best practices for CRM success.

In this engaging and outside-the-box presentation, you will benefit from a “CRM therapy” session covering a variety of topics.

Why We’re Excited:
ContactEase has one of the highest CRM adoption rates in the industry (over 90%). Clients will often come to us having experienced a failed CRM implementation. Over the years, we’ve developed our own playbook for successful implementations. We’re excited to learn from other firms’ experiences — how to avoid common pitfalls, set and achieve goals and work as a team.

What sessions are you most excited about this year? Will you #stayuntiltheend?

Jennifer Whittier Writes on 2019 Legal Marketing Trends in Industry Report

In the recently released 2019 Legal Marketing Trends from FSquared Marketing, Jennifer Whittier from ContactEase  shares why she thinks 2019 is the year of the bridge when it comes to CRM data.  Jennifer joins other leading law firm marketing experts to share insight on important trends for 2019.

Law firm leadership is experiencing data overload when trying to make decisions for the future. While the law firm business model is based on relationships, the financial data that drives firm management is often disconnected from the relationship data.  It isn’t just financial data we struggle with either. Data resides in many places besides the CRM system: ERM systems, eMarketing systems, social media, and experience databases. 2019 will be the year of the bridge–between the data silos and the CRM database,

Jennifer Whittier in CRM in 2019: The Year of the Bridge.

Trends identified for 2019 include:

  • Using tech to productize legal services
  • Replacing random acts of content with a data-focused approach
  • Threats & opportunities in web accessibility
  • The rich opportunities of local search marketing
  • Bridging data sources through CRM
  • An increase in budgets, hiring, and specialization within legal marketing

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Click here to read the 2019 Legal Marketing Trends from FSquared Marketing.

Happy Holiday Cards: How Firms Manage the Process with ContactEase

This time of year we receive a lot of questions about using ContactEase to manage the holiday card process.  Amber Elliott, Director of Client Services at ContactEase, might understand the process better than most. As a law firm marketer, one of Amber’s favorite ways to get through the holiday card season was by grabbing a peppermint mocha and cranking up the holiday tunes. “It’s hard to feel anything but happy with that combo,” she says. And while she’s no longer working in a law firm, she’s still enjoying her peppermint mochas and music as she consults with clients on holiday card best practices — she just has to turn the music down during those conference calls.

After you learn how some of our favorite legal marketers manage the holiday card process at their firms, be sure to keep reading for information on our industry-wide survey of law firm holiday card practices and how you can get a free peppermint mocha (or beverage of choice) to see you through the holiday season!

Jacki Braga, Director of Marketing, Morse 

At Morse in Waltham, Massachusetts, Jacki Braga, Director of Marketing at the firm, and her team, provide their lawyers with a choice between paper and e-cards (and have done so for several years). Over time, the firm’s e-cards have evolved from static cards to cards with more interesting animation and interactivity (and flavor — this year’s card  featured a collection of recipes gathered from the firm’s attorneys and staff; last year’s card focused on holiday-themed cocktails). The firm used the new ContactEase List Manager to prepare the lists, ReadyMag as the host site, and Constant Contact to send.  And what insight has Jacki gained from providing the firm’s professionals with options? Jacki says, “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!”

Krista Egan, Marketing Director, Flaster Greenberg

At Flaster Greenberg, a New Jersey-based law firm with offices throughout the mid-Atlantic corridor, the marketing team uses the built-in ContactEase Email Campaign Tool to send their cards. The firm uses Assignments to build their holiday card list to ensure they know which attorney to send the card from. Why does this matter? As Krista explains, “This enables us to create multiple versions of the holiday card in our HTML program, all tailored to each attorney. Many times we include a personal note and their signature block. Those attorneys who prefer to send the e-card from their own accounts can do so and have the ability to add a note before forwarding.”

Ian Jones, Marketing Technology Specialist, Miller Nash Graham & Dunn

At Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, a law firm with offices in California, Oregon and Washington, the firm’s marketing team starts by building a survey in ContactEase List Manager providing the lawyers the option to send either an electronic or paper card. The firm uses the ContactEase Holiday Mailer Tool and according to Ian, “The process has gotten significantly easier. We don’t have to manually sort out single-signer and multi-signer cards anymore. ” And what about potential overlap of signatures between offices?  They have that covered as well. Ian said, “We usually set them all up in one office and then forward en masse to the others. The survey also includes the legacy card assignments from the previous year in case people want to refer to that information when setting up a new list.”

How does your firm manage the holiday card process?  Does your firm do something unique to celebrate the holidays? We’d love to hear from you!

Industry-wide Survey on Law Firm Holiday Card Practices

Don’t forget about our survey on law firm holiday card practices! We want to hear from lawyers and marketers to understand the importance of holiday cards, what firms are doing, and how opinions differ between lawyers and marketers. Your time is valuable, and so is your insight! We’re offering a $5 Starbucks gift card to lawyers and legal marketers who answer our survey between now and the end of the year. We’ll publish the results in a white paper to be released next year.