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Whether in articles or at industry conferences, legal technology analysis primarily hones in on topics like e-discovery, automation and everyone’s favorite shock topic, cybersecurity. Often overlooked, however, is the role that technology can play in marketing legal services.

But law firms, in fact, are focusing on marketing as an arena ripe for technology use. A joint Bloomberg Law and Legal Marketing Association report has found that among marketing areas in which law firms of all sizes were planning spending increases in the next two years, technology led the pack (66 percent).

Titled “Aligning Marketing and Business Development Resources for Law Firm Growth,” the report analyzed the results of a survey of 167 marketing and business development professionals. Over half had a “primary role” that “spanned both marketing/communications and business development,” while two-thirds were the “most senior” law firm professionals in business/marketing development.

While the survey didn’t analyze the reasons behind the increased marketing technology spending, the 2016 version of the survey found that outdated technology and training were primary causes of technology “falling short,” said Nancy Furman Paul, Bloomberg Law’s commercial product director for business solutions.

“It is possible that the increased investment in technology projected in the 2017 survey is, at least in part, an effort to address these deficiencies,” she added. “I think firms are appreciating the valuable role that technology can play in helping them stay competitive and successfully serving their clients.”

Technologies were frequently used for business intelligence tasks, such as tracking industry trends, people, competitive intelligence and financial markets. Tools employed for this end were customer relationship management software (CRM) (68 percent), litigation tracking tools (62 percent), news aggregating services (72 percent), and the Internet (85 percent).

Outside agencies also play a role in law firm marketing and business development. Thirty-four percent rely on outside agencies for website management and upkeep, while 58 percent use them for website development, and 23 percent for videos and podcasts.

“Technology drives changes in every industry, and law is no exception,” Legal Marketing Association member Nathan Darling, who serves as chief business development and marketing officer at Beveridge & Diamond, told LTN. “We deploy technology to yield efficiencies and improvements to various marketing, business development, and client service tasks to enable us to focus even greater time, attention, and energy on relationships with clients and prospects.”

Among the ways Beveridge & Diamond is using technology for marketing, Darling listed maintaining online presence via blogs, social media and the firm’s site; intelligence gathering on companies and individuals; tracking client interactions such as email  distribution; and ROI analysis (such as analyzing client trends and modeling pricing proposals).

Likewise, for Allen & Overy, marketing is integral to daily marketing operations. A&O director of marketing & business development Richard Grove told LTN that the firm uses technology for tasks like client relationship mapping and tracking; engaging with law school graduates; optimizing content distribution for target markets; and, perhaps unsurprisingly, measuring marketing impact.

Social media is also expected to increase in importance for law firm marketing and business. Half of all firms surveyed said that spend for social media, organic and paid advertising was expected to increase in the next two years. Nearly two-thirds of firms listed “advancing expertise through speaking and writing and expanding their reach” through social media as a key way for “differentiating their law firm.”

“Social media is important to us as part of an integrated multi-channel approach to marketing,” Grove said of A&O. “We have one of the largest Twitter followings amongst the leading global law firms, and we are very active on LinkedIn; I certainly raised my eyebrows when I learnt a link to one of our Brexit papers was seen over 7,000 times on Twitter in a day.”

Likewise, Beveridge & Diamond’s Darling described social media as “a game changer for lawyers, who sometimes find it challenging and time-consuming to maintain relationships at the scope and scale required to sustain an independent legal practice.”  

“Social media enables lawyers to efficiently find, connect, and stay meaningfully connected with, clients, prospective clients, referral sources, alumni and affinity group contacts, and others. They can share substantive insights about legal developments in their areas of expertise, find ways to help others, and access a virtually limitless pool of resources to build their knowledge of legal and business issues,” he added.

Overall, technology accounts for a small fraction of law firm marketing /business technology budget, coming in at 5 percent for firms of all sizes. Social media, organic and paid advertising, meanwhile, comes in at 7 percent. Yet as 74 percent of respondents listed increasing revenue as a top priority for 2017, Bloomberg Law’s Furman Paul said many may see an answer in technology.

“I would venture that as data analytics and AI are coming of age with real, practical uses, firms are seeing tremendous potential opportunities to leverage these technologies in service of increasing revenue,” she added.

Whether in articles or at industry conferences, legal technology analysis primarily hones in on topics like e-discovery, automation and everyone’s favorite shock topic, cybersecurity. Often overlooked, however, is the role that technology can play in marketing legal services.

But law firms, in fact, are focusing on marketing as an arena ripe for technology use. A joint Bloomberg Law and Legal Marketing Association report has found that among marketing areas in which law firms of all sizes were planning spending increases in the next two years, technology led the pack (66 percent).

Titled “Aligning Marketing and Business Development Resources for Law Firm Growth,” the report analyzed the results of a survey of 167 marketing and business development professionals. Over half had a “primary role” that “spanned both marketing/communications and business development,” while two-thirds were the “most senior” law firm professionals in business/marketing development.

While the survey didn’t analyze the reasons behind the increased marketing technology spending, the 2016 version of the survey found that outdated technology and training were primary causes of technology “falling short,” said Nancy Furman Paul, Bloomberg Law’s commercial product director for business solutions.

“It is possible that the increased investment in technology projected in the 2017 survey is, at least in part, an effort to address these deficiencies,” she added. “I think firms are appreciating the valuable role that technology can play in helping them stay competitive and successfully serving their clients.”

Technologies were frequently used for business intelligence tasks, such as tracking industry trends, people, competitive intelligence and financial markets. Tools employed for this end were customer relationship management software (CRM) (68 percent), litigation tracking tools (62 percent), news aggregating services (72 percent), and the Internet (85 percent).

Outside agencies also play a role in law firm marketing and business development. Thirty-four percent rely on outside agencies for website management and upkeep, while 58 percent use them for website development, and 23 percent for videos and podcasts.

“Technology drives changes in every industry, and law is no exception,” Legal Marketing Association member Nathan Darling, who serves as chief business development and marketing officer at Beveridge & Diamond , told LTN. “We deploy technology to yield efficiencies and improvements to various marketing, business development, and client service tasks to enable us to focus even greater time, attention, and energy on relationships with clients and prospects.”

Among the ways Beveridge & Diamond is using technology for marketing, Darling listed maintaining online presence via blogs, social media and the firm’s site; intelligence gathering on companies and individuals; tracking client interactions such as email  distribution; and ROI analysis (such as analyzing client trends and modeling pricing proposals).

Likewise, for Allen & Overy , marketing is integral to daily marketing operations. A&O director of marketing & business development Richard Grove told LTN that the firm uses technology for tasks like client relationship mapping and tracking; engaging with law school graduates; optimizing content distribution for target markets; and, perhaps unsurprisingly, measuring marketing impact.

Social media is also expected to increase in importance for law firm marketing and business. Half of all firms surveyed said that spend for social media, organic and paid advertising was expected to increase in the next two years. Nearly two-thirds of firms listed “advancing expertise through speaking and writing and expanding their reach” through social media as a key way for “differentiating their law firm.”

“Social media is important to us as part of an integrated multi-channel approach to marketing,” Grove said of A&O. “We have one of the largest Twitter followings amongst the leading global law firms, and we are very active on LinkedIn ; I certainly raised my eyebrows when I learnt a link to one of our Brexit papers was seen over 7,000 times on Twitter in a day.”

Likewise, Beveridge & Diamond ’s Darling described social media as “a game changer for lawyers, who sometimes find it challenging and time-consuming to maintain relationships at the scope and scale required to sustain an independent legal practice.”  

“Social media enables lawyers to efficiently find, connect, and stay meaningfully connected with, clients, prospective clients, referral sources, alumni and affinity group contacts, and others. They can share substantive insights about legal developments in their areas of expertise, find ways to help others, and access a virtually limitless pool of resources to build their knowledge of legal and business issues,” he added.

Overall, technology accounts for a small fraction of law firm marketing /business technology budget, coming in at 5 percent for firms of all sizes. Social media, organic and paid advertising, meanwhile, comes in at 7 percent. Yet as 74 percent of respondents listed increasing revenue as a top priority for 2017, Bloomberg Law’s Furman Paul said many may see an answer in technology.

“I would venture that as data analytics and AI are coming of age with real, practical uses, firms are seeing tremendous potential opportunities to leverage these technologies in service of increasing revenue,” she added.