Stuck in a Time Warp

In 2002, I was totally dismayed when a senior partner at an AmLaw 100 firm dressed me down for recommending they spend their hard earned money on the World Wide Web. He described the Internet as a passing fancy for geeks. Fast forward to a week ago when once again I was in a major law firm and this time just got blank looks when I talked about the impact of social networking on business to business marketing. A highly talented lawyer, in his early 50s, said social networking was for high schoolers. (In all fairness I think this lawyer still has his secretary print out his emails for him to read).

So we have decided to start formally collecting the stories about how people have become connected in business through social networking whether it be general sites like Facebook or restricted networks for lawyers like Martindale Hubbell Connected. Stay tuned for what we learn.

Twitter Is Far From Dead

Here at Right Hat, we’ve been having a lively dialogue among ourselves about the fate of Twitter. We were spurred on by a recent series of postings predicting the demise of Twitter. Andy Edelstein, one of our collaborators and veteran copywriters, summed up much of what we’ve been thinking.

Twitter is, for the first time ever, enabling the mass sharing of events in realtime.  Whether it’s the plane landing on the Hudson, the Iran revolution, or the LMA Conference, there’s never been a way for both observers and participants in an event to track that event as it’s happening. This has huge implications for the way news is gathered, disseminated, and interpreted at a time when traditional news outlets (newspapers, eg) are in danger or extinction. We used to rely on journalists to help us make sense of the news. Now, for the first time, that process is a two-way street — we, the public, are helping journalists make sense of it. In Law Firm Land, we can now envision lawyers all over the country (and world) finding out about a ruling the minute the judge utters it, thereby generating big time buzz immediately, and having a consensus of interpretation of the ruling’s meaning established  and accepted before the journalists and so-called thought leaders ever get a chance to weigh in. Under such circumstances, the lawyers with the most followers on Twitter stand a real chance of becoming the true thought leaders in their categories.

Twitter is also the ultimate “pointing” medium. Through the use of short URL’s, Twitter is now the medium of choice for disseminating articles and opinions about anything. A marketer with a credible reputation on Twitter can now insert any article into any discussion simply by including a link — pointing, in other words. This will soon be our preferred way of getting out think pieces, especially stuff that’s immediately topical. We will be gauging our success by the number of “retweets” we generate.

New technologies are evolving around Twitter as we speak, and these will go a long way towards getting around the rather primitive interface that exists now. Tools for using and exploiting Twitter are still in their infancy, and serious business-oriented tools have yet to weigh in.

So here at Right Hat, we will continue to watch how Twitter evolves. But we remain cautiously optimistic. As I told a Gen Y colleague yesterday, I remember the eye rolling and skepticism by professional service firms when voicemail, faxes and the Internet were first introduced. As a result, I never discount technology shifts.

Are B2B Mobile Apps Viable?

While most B2B companies are still struggling to just launch a useful mobile version of their primary Web site, we are finally seeing a few professional service firms thinking about developing true mobile apps. The trick is determining the potential user behavior that would actually use a mobile app. And in many cases how to convince people to switch from the more familiar non-mobile alternative.  Look for some of the first success stories to be from those firms tracking changes on Capitol Hill or in their local State Capitols. With increased government activity many companies are seeking real-time updates on what is happening on major legislation and regulation. Also look carefully at the demographics of your end user – are they really on the move enough to warrant a wireless alternative?

Unraveling Banner Ads and Buyer Behavior

iProspect®, the search engine marketing company, just published a study on buyer behavior and banner ads. iProspect’s analysis confirms a hunch that we have long held. (Forewarning: the study results favor the sponsor’s core business of search engine optimization but the study is  based on work done by Forrester Consulting.]

Internet users who respond to an online ad don’t just click on the ad. 27% use a search engine to search for the product or brand. And then 21% type in the company Web address into the browser and then navigate to the site. (And if you are curious – 31% who respond do go ahead and click through using the ad.)

So what does this mean? You need to make sure when visitors do a Google search that your law firm or company actually shows up in the results.

Unraveling Banner Ads and Buyer Behavior

iProspect®, the search engine marketing company, just published a study on buyer behavior and banner ads. iProspect’s analysis confirms a hunch that we have long held. (Forewarning: the study results favor the sponsor’s core business of search engine optimization but the study is  based on work done by Forrester Consulting.]

Internet users who respond to an online ad don’t just click on the ad. 27% use a search engine to search for the product or brand. And then 21% type in the company Web address into the browser and then navigate to the site. (And if you are curious – 31% who respond do go ahead and click through using the ad.)

So what does this mean? You need to make sure when visitors do a Google search that your law firm or company actually shows up in the results.