Q&A: Marketing Technologists: Must Have Roles in the Digital Age

A new type of marketer is emerging in legal — a marketing technologist. Often referred to as “unicorns” because we are a rare breed, marketing technologists at law firms are at the center of digital transformation. We are change agents and work as part of cross-functional teams — creating that competitive edge for law firms to compete in the market.

In this article, I asked my fellow “unicorns” in the LMA Mid-Atlantic region who have given rise to the evolving marketing technology role their thoughts on marketing technology, or martech.

Meet the friendly forces of nature who were more than willing to share their candid insights. For anyone who is curious about learning more about martech in legal (why wouldn’t you?!), we have provided advice on how to get your foot in the martech door. Enjoy!

Question: Where do you fit between marketing and IT?

Jake: I think I am more of a marketer, but having an understanding on how technologies work helps when explaining what new technologies can do. I am an IT translator for our attorneys. 
Vik: Dead center and it's absolutely crucial to maintain positive relationships on both sides. The two administrative departments are often given competing priorities, and it's important to be able to clearly speak both languages fluently.
Pat: At Orrick, I sit in IT. My clients are Sales, Marketing and Communications. At one previous firm, I sat in Marketing and had a dotted line to IT. At another, I sat in IT. The roles have been same no matter which department, but I accomplish more when I sit in IT.
Michelle: One foot in each. I was a developer, but I have creative skills too.

Question: What are some of the things you encounter during a typical day?

Vik: The beauty of the current martech landscape is that there is no typical day anymore. Since the majority of firm functions (website, CRM, events, webinars, podcasts, video, graphic design/branding, KM, BD, etc.) have martech elements, it’s constantly pivoting and prioritizing.
Jake: Lots of questions and requests that haven’t been fully thought through. Our people tend to think end goal first and don’t necessary account for all the steps that need to be accounted for to get there.
Andrew: Every day is unique. When I'm not problem-solving, you can typically find me creating social media campaigns and ads, designing and developing mobile apps and assisting our teams with analytics and digital marketing strategies.

Question: How has martech evolved at your firm?

Jake: We have made many changes to the marketing technology ecosystem in the past four years. I think that the roles are only going to expand, and martech teams are going to grow to account for more broad ranges of analytics. I also think that the roles will be more closely related to the IT teams in order to vet and manage resources.

Question: From a martech standpoint, what keeps you up at night or is the most challenging part of your role?

Vik: Now that martech has evolved to the point of real-time reporting and statistics, how best to analyze and leverage the incoming onslaught of data into manageable and more importantly, actionable chunks — and once that is completed how best to get that information into the right hands.
Pat: Missing the next important trend. That’s why LMA and ILTA are so valuable to me. I am most challenged by keeping the myriad of projects moving forward while priorities are constantly changing. And finding budget to cover the two-three-five new tools Sales, Marketing or Communications decide they need that were never discussed in the last budgeting season.
Michelle: GDPR.

Question: What are your top priorities in 2018?

Pat: Too many! We are evaluating CRM systems and will likely start implementation in early Q3. After we choose our CRM, we will implement a new marketing automation system. And there are many, many upgrades we will make to our website. Set up a podcast channel. Create an easy store for our lawyers and marketers to pull together quick pitches and presentations. Integrate a few more tools.
Michelle: Don't get fired! Tableau dashboard and integration of Sitecore with CRM.
Jake: Also don’t get fired after: 1) Launching a new website, 2) Beginning CRM rollout and 3) GDPR compliance.

Question: What trends do you see in legal martech? Why do you think it is an emerging area?

Jake: Machine learning and predictive analytics. Surfacing content to users based on history, location, company IP, etc. I think it is emerging because firm websites are moving away from being a reference point for attorneys and more toward providing informational insights on trending legal topics and issues. People are not going to sites just to validate a firm bio anymore; they are going to read content generated by firm personnel.

Question: How do you evaluate new martech and BD technologies?

Vik: I find that it’s not solely the independent system that you are evaluating; it is the ability for that system to seamlessly coexist with other programs to create a holistic view of the client, prospect or opportunity.
Michelle: I look at best of breed solutions and legal vertical solutions. I do tons and tons of research, ask SIG members and call references — and whoever buys the best lunch!

Question: What martech products/innovations have your attention right now?

Pat: I’m not sure I would call these “martech products/innovation,” but I am learning all I can about blockchain and AI. These have to be able to make our lives easier!
Michelle: InTapp and IntroHive.
Andrew: Right now, my attention is focused on Google Data Studio, a new tool that allows you to build custom analytics reports and dashboards, and LinkedIn Elevate, an employee advocacy platform designed to help increase social reach and engagement.

Question: How have mobile apps played a role at your firm?

Andrew: Mobile apps continue to play an important role at my firm, and stakeholder interest in custom mobile and web applications is growing. From events to blogs to custom tools, we're always looking for innovative ways to help our clients find the information they need in a fresh and approachable format.

Question: What advice would you give a legal marketer who wants to become more familiar with the martech scene?

Michelle: Read blogs, attend webinars, become analytics-savvy (and have a sense of humor while driving technology forward to keep your sanity).
Andrew: Reach out! Your marketing technology team is there to provide you with tools that will help you connect the dots. If you don't have a technology team at your firm, try attending local events sponsored by organizations such as ILTA. I'm also always happy to chat on LinkedIn!
Jake: Be open to explore things you don’t think you could comprehend. Tech is becoming more user friendly and less “tech” where you don’t necessarily need to be a “nerd” to figure it out. Being confident in your ability to learn goes a long way. You don’t necessarily need to know how to code to be in the industry; it helps, but for the most part everything is a WYSIWYG these days.
Jacqueline: Don’t be afraid to geek out. This is what I love about my job, and it really comes through when I talk about what I do. Learn the marketing and tech speak, but also expand on learning about privacy, ethics and compliance — these touch digital. Take on projects to continue to learn and do not be afraid to test out your theories. In this role, you have to be willing to work in grey areas — things will not always be black and white.

There you have it! We hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to reach out to any of us if you have some other burning questions.

The Unicorns

Jacob J. Berschauer
Marketing Technology Manager at Venable LLP
Jacob is the marketing technology manager at Venable, an Am Law 100 firm with 675 attorneys in nine offices across the country. With more than 10 years of marketing experience, he manages the firm’s marketing technology team. Under his leadership, they work to modernize the firm’s digital environment, which gives attorneys the tools needed to work smarter while producing positive results.

Jacqueline Madarang (Moderator)
Senior Marketing Technology Manager at Bradley
Jacqueline oversees Bradley’s marketing technology/digital stack, including the implementation of new tools firm-wide to assist in marketing and business development. She works with attorneys and practice groups across the firm and focuses on developing digital, social and communications programs that further business development objectives. She helps attorneys understand technology, social media and content marketing, and how they can apply these to business development and get results.

Vik Gupta
Director of Marketing, Technology & Operations at Crowell & Moring LLP
Vik is an energetic marketing and team leader skilled in driving branding, marketing operations, marketing communications, and events in support of business development activities throughout large international legal organizations with over 15 years of experience spanning both Canada and the US. He is recognized as an innovative problem solver with the ability to respond quickly and logically to complex challenges to achieve business results.

Michelle Woodyear
Director of Digital Marketing at Covington & Burling LLP
For the past decade, Michelle has been immersed in the world of marketing and business development. Michelle has had the advantage of working closely with a number of the most innovative business development leaders at dozens of Am Law 200 firms. She currently head up the digital marketing team at Covington, updating the marketing technology stack, developing tools for robust marketing campaigns, creating dashboards for measurement and decision-making, developing user personas and targeted content strategy to reach key audiences.

Andrew Hutchinson
Senior Marketing Technology Specialist at Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
Andrew Hutchinson has nearly six years of experience as a legal marketing technologist. Currently, he is the Senior Marketing Technology Specialist at Eversheds Sutherland in Washington, D.C.

Pat Purdy
Director of Business Development Technology at Orrick
Pat is the liaison between the IT and Marketing/Sales/Communications departments at Orrick. She helps M/S/C define their requirements, helps IT understand those requirements and finds the solution that best meets the needs. Pat stays abreast of new developments in marketing, sales and communications so she can better explore new tools and technologies that may bring value to those departments.

By Jacqueline Madarang, Senior Marketing Technology Manager, Bradley, for the First Quarter 2018 LMA Mid-Atlantic Region Newsletter

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