Do Not Fear Marketing Technology Platforms

JD Supra Perspectives

...the technologies you deploy today will help your firm remain competitive in the future.

The challenges facing senior leaders of marketing and business development teams at professional services and law firms today are enormous – particularly if you are not at an enormous firm. Staying ahead of the marketing technology curve has never been more difficult and, to steal a phrase, it takes a village. And, if you are not at a firm with many inhabitants, budget and staffing fears may make it seem like a road you just cannot go down.

The truth is it is the exact road, and these are the exact initiatives that you, on behalf of your firm, must be evaluating.

Whether it is a CRM, a website CMS platform, personalization, an outbound email platform that integrates with the first two, automated pitch tools and libraries, a comprehensive matters database, a relevant pipeline opportunities database, or a lead generation program, the technologies you deploy today will help your firm remain competitive in the future.

Since the future starts today, think about these points:

Partner with other internal departments. Now is not the time to silo.

Your CIO, CTO, CISO, CFO, to name a few, frequently focus their budgets on technology initiatives, all of which are easily understood by leadership. Join that thinking and position your platforms based on the value they will add to the leadership of your firm. While marketing technology platforms may be the tools of your trade, you must make those tools responsive to the needs of the management team and other firm leadership, not just your team.

For marketers, you need to know what you do not know – embrace it – and solve it.

Ask lots of questions, participate in forums, study, and learn. Start with the inside departments at your firm – and then move on to your network. The time spent doing this by yourself – and your more senior reports – is most beneficial. Do not delegate this research to an intern but to those with significant business experience.

Beyond your internal team, make sure your budget includes outside help on multiple levels.

These platforms, initially, may seem complicated – but the good news is that there are many external consultants who can help you and your team master them. And not just in the implementation but in deciding what to implement. They’ll also help you determine the ‘must haves’ from the ‘might as well’ haves – the latter of which often result in delays, cost increases, and a product that is more complicated than it needs to be.

Plot and plan and plan and plot. The more time and effort you put into these projects in the beginning, the smoother will be your implementation at the end.

Your end game is to deploy initiatives, not discuss the initiatives. Make sure your timelines are realistic. For instance, if you need others to revisit their contact lists, give them sufficient time to do so – and give them context that lets them see what is in it for them.

We are drowning in information and starving for knowledge.

So do not forget dashboards and analytics. Too often marketing technology platforms are set up for use without thinking through the dashboards that will knock the socks off your leadership team. Know what is important to them and the things they look for in their decision making. Make sure your dashboards present not just data but meaningful insights. Never leave this to the end – your CRM platform needs to be developed with foresight and with data situated and organized, so dashboards are seamless, organic, and update in real time.

Most importantly, each of your marketing technology initiatives must tie into your firm’s strategy. They must be properly branded. And they must be easily used across the organization. Only then is the platform investment, and your team’s value, proven.

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear (Nelson Mandela).

So, do not fear marketing technology platforms.


Paula Zirinsky is an accomplished chief marketing and strategy officer, now consulting. Her marketing, communications, brand-building, business development, and technology platform expertise, and ability to create infrastructure and growth opportunities is extensive and spans professional services, legal marketing, and well-known companies in consumer-packaged goods, fragrance and cosmetics, home furnishings, and the automotive industry. She can be reached at

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