Communication Breakdown: 5 Legal Tech Marketing Fails to Avoid | Legaltech News –

Overselling and Under-Delivering: Communication breakdowns between marketing and development teams can often lead to legal tech products failing to live up to
their promises. “I think that there are competing factions within the [legal tech] company,” said Kelley Drye & Warren chief information officer Judith Flournoy. “You have the technical team that is responsible for making those things work and you have the creative, marketing team continuously looking for new revenue and remaining relevant in the industry.”

But it’s not just products that under-deliver that spur regret in legal tech buyers. It’s also ones that are so packed with complicated features they become unusable. “Feature bloat is one obstacle that makes legal tech software difficult to integrate with the business and train users on all the bells and whistles,” said LinkSquares CEO and founder Vishal Sunak.

Overemphasizing Efficiency: As the centuries-old legal industry adapts to modern expectations of efficiency, tech that automates repetitive manual tasks, all while saving time and money in the process, is likely to be a sure bet. But legal tech providers take heed: You’re going to lose attorneys’ attention if you talk too much about how that
efficiency happens. “When I talked to attorneys about our automation tool, they didn’t really care what was under the hood,” said Tomu Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Parsons Behle & Latimer’s tech subsidiary Parsons Behle Lab. “They just wanted to make sure it worked. But they didn’t care how my engineer got it to work.”

To be sure, attorneys don’t just want their tech to be save them time, but to also perform with a certain level of accuracy. “It needs to be efficient in that it allows you to get your work done and done correctly, done accurately,” said Brett Burney of Burney Consultants.

Calling a Product ‘Best in Breed’: Anyone who has ever been to a legal tech conference has likely heard the terms
“best in breed” or “best in class” to describe almost every technology product they come upon. The overuse of the term has rendered it wholly ineffective. “I’m sitting here as a chief technologist type and I see that … that doesn’t mean a lot to me. I still want to talk to the company and see their demo, talk to others and get an impression of the product reviews,” said Kenneth Jones, chief technologist at TK Trial.

What’s more, because tech products are often customized for specific clients, who will also chose what tech solutions many legal service providers use, the term has become essentially outdated. But to it’s credit, these phrases may still be accurate. Ram Vasudevan, CEO of QuisLex notes, “how you define the class or how you define the breed can be done so narrowly that it will be almost impossible to disprove.”

Not Discussing a Tech Product’s Return on Investment: Despite the best efforts of legal tech developers, most tech products require a learning curve and come with a considerable price tag. But it’s not something legal tech buyers mind—so long as they know why the product is worth all their time and resources. However, James Michalowicz, legal operations business performance senior manager for TE Connectivity told Legaltech News in April that such information isn’t always easy to come by.

“I think that some of the technology platform providers don’t do a very good job of presenting what is the [return on investment],” he says. Michalowicz adds, “I’ll listen to their demos and marketing pitch, and yeah it has all these wonderful bells and whistles and everything. But ultimately I’ll say, how is this going to make the law department better? How can we measure that the technology is going to make a difference? And that’s where I think a lot of providers don’t have the data or story to say, ‘This is how it’s going to [help].’”

Rebranding Too Soon After a Cyberattack: Though potentially no fault of their own, cyberattacks can harm the reputation of a legal tech company. But trying to move on from an attack too quickly can be
just as damaging. Rebranding right after suffering a data breach or ransomware attack, for instance, can expose companies to accusations that they have something to hide. “We are populated with cynics; lawyers and legal professionals are taught to be cynical and question and look for chinks in the armor. Trying to overcome that with rebranding is like putting lipstick on a pig,” said Cathy Kenton, co-founder of marketing provider Legal Tech Media Group.

Instead of rebranding, companies should shift the narrative and highlight how a cyberattack has made them stronger, Kenton advised. “Once a company has gone through an incident and comes through the other side, they’re probably a better company to do business with. They’re actually learning where to look for weaknesses and have their systems evaluated.”


How well one explains the value of a legal tech product to a potential buyer can make or break a sale. But it is often one of the most challenging tasks for legal tech companies. Sure, there can be a “language” barrier between technologists and lawyers, or a lack of understanding of how legal professionals work. But with many legal tech companies staffing their ranks with attorneys, not to mention those founded by attorneys, these problems are becoming increasingly less common.

What is more prevalent, however, is legal tech companies over-relying on trite marketing terms or hyping up what a technology can do instead of discussing its return on investment and the reality of its advantages and limits. Above, we look at five communication errors that keep legal tech products out of the hands of potential users.












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