The 2022 Legal Marketing Technology Study: Underinvestment in Marketing Technology Is Costing Law Firms Business
September 15, 2022 | 5 minutes
Technology Management Website Management Social Media and Engagement Analytics and SEO Communications Software and Platforms Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The following is an excerpt from the 2022 RubyLaw Legal Marketing Technology Study, conducted in concert with the LMA. For a complete copy of the report, please click here.
RubyLaw and the Legal Marketing Association (LMA)’s annual study explores and documents the prevailing technology systems used by legal marketers across firms of all sizes.
Our observations revealed three insights that have crucial implications with substantial financial ramifications:
- Significant gaps in marketing technology adoption remain across the legal sector.
- Underinvestment in platforms costs firms on multiple levels.
- Failure to support key systems with ancillary tools makes firms appear more dated and miss key business opportunities.
Each insight is accretive or compounded (i.e., significant, sector-wide gaps point to a lack of investment in platforms) that then point to a failure to support key systems with ancillary tools. The net result is that firms appear more dated and lose out on new business opportunities.
About the Study
RubyLaw’s Legal Marketing Technology Study aims to provide law firms with a convenient, accurate resource while documenting the prevailing systems and tools used by legal marketers at firms of all sizes.
As a content lifecycle management (CLM) provider, RubyLaw has a unique perspective and vested interest in understanding how to best support law firms and their dependence on technology to go to market. This year, we have partnered with the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), the authority for legal marketing worldwide, elevating the visibility of our research.
Thanks to LMA’s robust membership, we surveyed a statistically significant number of members of the legal marketing community (n>200), with respondents representing the following segments:
- Revenue: Representation from firms across three revenue segments included <$100 million (59%), $100-$500 million (20%) and $500+ million (21%).
- Lawyers: Respondents represented firms with the following number of lawyers: 1-50 (41%), 51-150 (11%), 151-1,000 (41%) and 1,000+ (8%).
- Ranking: 41% of respondents represented Am Law-ranked firms, with 12% in the top 50 and 29% in the 51-200 tier. Meanwhile, 46% represented firms in the 1-250 tier of the NLJ500 and 12% in the 251-500 tier.
The graphic below illustrates the RubyLaw Marketing Technology Stack Blueprint, highlighting the six categories that comprise the legal marketing technology ecosystem: Advertising & Promotion, Sales, Content & Experience, Social & Relationships, Data, and Management.
Observations and Insights
Our observations are organized by system, each laddering to a particular marketing technology category, per the RubyLaw Marketing Technology Stack Blueprint. Given the length and depth of the observations, we’ve streamlined the findings below.
1. Significant gaps in marketing technology adoption remain across the legal sector.
Accounting for a significant increase in respondents and greater participation by respondents from the $0-$100 million segment in the 2022 Legal Marketing Technology Study, we are seeing gaping holes in law firms’ marketing tech stacks.1
We can point to four systems to illustrate this point: Proposal & Document Generation (within the Sales category); Marketing Automation and Accessibility, Compliance, & Optimization (within the Content & Experience category); and Experience Management (within the Data category) each showed a 25% decrease in adoption as compared to last year. Quite simply, we see >25% non-usage of these systems in 2022 as opposed to 2021. While we had more participants in 2022 and more from smaller firms (where marketing technology resources and budgets are significantly less than larger firms), these substantial gaps suggest that new technology adoption may happen far less than reported last year, especially when focusing on these tools and functions.
2. Underinvestment in platforms costs more for firms on multiple levels.
Platforms may be thought of similarly to the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” When used in complement, tools within the marketing technology ecosystem can help firms achieve better productivity and improved efficiency.
“Platformization” occurs when firms adopt systems that have a multitude of tools that may be activated “off the shelf” or when firms adopt a multitude of separate, point solutions that may be integrated. For example, HubSpot can integrate a customer relationship management (CRM) system with an email marketing system to make use of contact data to personalize emails.
What is the cost of not investing in platforms? Platforms firms can enhance productivity across teams and processes while removing considerable friction. Gains from adopting platforms can save firms upwards of $100,000 a year, depending on the size and volume of activities.2
3. Failure to support key systems with ancillary tools leads firms to appear more dated and miss key business opportunities.
Building on the first two points, we see that the absence of specific system integrations (or tools used in a complementary fashion, creating platforms) can directly tarnish a firm’s reputation. They can also cost a firm new business opportunities.
Take enterprise management system (EMS) software for example. EMS helps firms manage their knowledge, specifically around matters and casework. When considering an EMS to CMS integration, results ranged from 7%-16% across firms. The lack of prioritization in connecting these two systems is evident in the numbers, underscoring the initial point: that failure to support key systems with ancillary tools leads firms to appear more dated.
Why? Because current experience data can’t be showcased externally in real-time; thus, prospects look elsewhere, and the firm misses out on key business opportunities. The point is that supporting key systems (like CMS with EMS) can provide more resonant content, engaging visitors with what they seek immediately.
The full report, which includes all findings, deeper explanations, caveats, considerations, respondent priorities and illustrations, is available here.
You may also view a webinar recording of Stack Ranking, Part 1, which walks through initial findings, and sign up for Stack Ranking, Part 2, taking place on Friday, Sept. 30, during which the RubyLaw team, and special guests from Clark Hill, Womble Bond Dickinson, and Calibrate, will explore how legal marketers can overcome gaps and challenges to achieve successful business outcomes.
- Thank you to the team at Calibrate for providing insight and analysis on our year-over-year comparison.
- RubyLaw Marketing Briefing on Productivity Platforms