The Impact of Evolving Technology and Innovation: Volunteer Spotlight With Matt Parfitt
By Matt Parfitt
May 25, 2023 | 7-minute read
Process Improvement Technology Management Website Management Content Type Blog Post
Business of Law
Matt Parfitt has been part of the LMA community since 2007, serving in volunteer capacities for the last 10 years. Throughout his career, he's had the opportunity to work in a variety of marketing roles, with the latter half focused in MarTech.
Today, he serves as president of Cirrom, a company dedicated to data consistency and marketing automation to help business run more efficiently and effectively.
"The move to working with a technology provider and specializing in legal marketing at the same time was a game changer,” Parfitt says of his career trajectory. “It’s a community I have felt comfortable with, helped by and one I can contribute to."
We spoke with him to learn what trends he's seeing in the MarTech arena, what’s worth keeping a pulse on and how his time with LMA has impacted his career.
Marketing technology capabilities and their adoption continue to evolve. What excites you most about where technology can take legal marketing and business development?
The recently released Marketing Technology Landscape shows over 11,000 applications and 1,000 new applications reported in the last 12 months — this landscape is constantly expanding.
One promising area is the ability to gather and analyze competitive intelligence data. Access to primary and purchased data, combined with powerful tools for analysis, can give legal marketers valuable insight into potential legal needs before they even happen.
The ability to understand and target audiences is another game-changer. Engagement metrics across channels provide amazing insight into what works and what doesn't. By building profiles of individual contacts and their engagement with marketing materials, legal marketers can gain a better understanding of their interests, needs and how they like to be communicated with.
For example, let's say a legal marketer needs to create content and distribute it to a specific audience. They may use a tool like Passle, a legal-specific content creation, collaboration and management platform, to empower their lawyers to create thought leadership posts. They may then use a translation service like Alexa Translations, also designed for the legal industry, to translate the article into multiple languages. Using distribution tools and data from the CRM, the content can be placed on various websites, blogs, social posts and email marketing.
While these technologies offer many exciting possibilities, it's crucial to ensure the data being fed into these systems is accurate and reliable. Without high-quality data, the outputs of these systems will be compromised. Legal marketers must prioritize data quality and accuracy, especially when it comes to the original source material used to create content and the data in their CRM.
What technology trends should legal marketers keep an eye on? What fads aren’t worth chasing?
The answer to both questions is ChatGPT! It’s a game changer and makes artificial intelligence (AI) accessible to the masses. However, there are some things to consider.
AI is becoming increasingly important, and there are many applications that can help streamline workflows and improve marketing efforts. For example, AI-powered writing assistants can create compelling content more efficiently, while virtual sales assistants can engage with potential clients more effectively.
Another trend to watch is the rise of automation and machine learning. By automating repetitive tasks and leveraging machine learning algorithms, you can save time and improve the accuracy of your marketing campaigns. For example, you can use marketing automation software to help understand complex materials, write compelling content or schedule social media posts.
Here are a few applications that leverage ChatGPT that I think are worth checking out for the time being — with still many more to come:
- Copy.ai: AI-powered writing assistant for marketers
- Receptiviti: Offers personality and emotion analysis for text
- Bidalgo: AI-powered ad automation and optimization platform
- Conversica: AI-powered virtual sales assistant for businesses
There are also interesting Chrome extensions that work directly in your web browser:
- Merlin: Summarizes web content and videos; helps compose content directly into social channels
- FireFlies: Records, transcribes and takes notes and action items from online meetings
- SciSpace Copilot: Explains and summarizes complex technical information
It's important to be cautious when adopting new technologies. Not all trends are worth chasing, and some may even be harmful to your business. For example, using chatbots that collect sensitive information from clients may put their data at risk. Similarly, relying too heavily on automation can lead to a lack of personalization and authenticity in your marketing efforts.
You’ve also held LMA volunteer positions for nearly 10 years. How has this experience added to your career journey and professional development?
Exactly 10 years, in fact! This year, 2023, is the first year I haven’t been involved as a volunteer or in a leadership role, and I miss it.
I arrived in the U.S. in September 2007 and attended my first LMA event that October — an LMA New York monthly educational event. In 2013, I was invited to help chair the New York CRM Special Interest Group (SIG), which has become the Marketing Technology SIG in the Northeast.
My role has always been as a supplier of technology solutions to law firms rather than actually working at a law firm, so my involvement in LMA has been invaluable to me for three major reasons:
- Learning about the foundations of legal marketing: Coming from real estate marketing in Spain, I had no idea how one markets a law firm, how marketing teams are commonly constructed, how marketing and BD teams interact with the other teams at a firm or where the lawyers fit into this — everything that allowed me to focus on my area of expertise in a context that makes sense.
For anyone entering legal marketing for the first time, I recommend attending as many events as possible and getting involved in any annual bootcamp events offered at the regional and international levels.
- Building a network of contacts: Being welcomed whole heartedly into the LMA community, supported at various junctures in my career and experiencing the community cheer me on was a major contributor to my growth. As someone in a leadership position, this is even more true; I had the opportunity to work with more members, from more firms, with a wide range of experience, in a broader geography and focus on an eclectic mix of projects.
- Volunteering: This provided the opportunity to have experiences I would otherwise not have had, like chairing a board, contributing to a regional conference, public speaking, program curation and more.
From the point of someone selling a product or service, LMA is a very unique organization. I’ve always been welcome to attend and take part in events, contribute and lead committees, and had value placed on my perspective.
What’s your advice for someone who’s joined LMA but hasn’t yet explored a volunteer position?
Take full advantage of your LMA membership. There are so many benefits at the national, regional and local level. Many members may not be aware of everything they have access to —education (not just events and webinars), career support and being able to engage with the community. If you need something different that isn’t yet available, then ask — the community has a wealth of knowledge and experience with an army of people willing to share their knowledge.
I was first involved in chairing a SIG, but there are many micro or short-term volunteer opportunities, like helping select an award winner, writing an article or recap of an event, producing an educational program for your local area or welcoming members to an in person event (100% the best way to meet people quickly).
If you want to get involved in a small way, email anyone on your region’s local steering committee and let them know you would like to help. It doesn’t have to be a big, long term commitment, but it can absolutely be the first stepping stone for you to see what LMA is all about.