Ask the Marketers: LegalTech Vendor Virgins
Even the most experienced veterans can get overwhelmed at LegalTech New York, here's navigating advice for vendor newbies.
LegalTech New York 2014 kicks off Tuesday at the Hilton New York midtown (6th Ave & 53rd St). Even the most experienced veterans can get overwhelmed at show, so here's navigating advice for vendor newbies and some reminders for show veterans.
Whether you’re a newcomer to LegalTech New York or a hard-core veteran, the question is—"What’s in it for you?" If you want to generate leads for your products and services, you must make and enrich contacts. If it’s your first time, try to set up actual appointments with prospects, customers, potential partners and consultants, rather than leaving things tentative. The show is so enormous that you may not cross paths unless you plan ahead.
Between appointments, walk the exhibit hall floors—all of them—and attend keynote sessions (and others if you can), to get a full flavor of the show. Tweet with the #LTNY hashtag to push out news and magnetize new followers. Both rookies and old hands can take advantage of free ALM events. The Editors Breakfast and Bloggers Breakfasts are at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. respectively on Weds. Feb. 5 in the Petit Trianon room, and are great opportunities to mingle with reporters and editors who cover the legal/technology industry. Introduce yourself, learn what their publications cover, exchange business cards, and follow up post-show.
Actions you take after the show are important—write notes on the back of contacts’ business cards to record what you discussed with them and also anything you committed to send them (datasheets, articles, etc.). Be sure to send them what you promised. And please remember to give others—and yourself—a chance to catch your collective breath after the show before pelting them with emails.
First time LTNY attendees are often surprised at the pace of conference business and are not as prepared as they could be to make the show work for them. Here a few tips:
Multi-task: Often, vendor plans for industry events begin and end with "working the booth." To maximize your investment, take advantage of all the opportunities available to network and/or promote your brand. Connect, not just with clients, but also partners, media, bloggers and industry associations on-site (e.g., the International Legal Technology Association, and ARMA).
Scheduling is paramount: By now, you have surely glimpsed at the show schedule to see what is happening when. What about your own company’s schedule? Who is working the booth when? When are the executives onsite? Have you pre-scheduled product demos and client meetings? You get the idea. Without an internal schedule for your LTNY team, prepare for chaos, frustrated colleagues and lost opportunities.
There is no cone of silence!: You wouldn’t believe the things we’ve heard in the common areas of the Hilton during our 14 years of attending LegalTech NY. Consider the property a hot spot—you never know who is at the table beside you or is sharing the elevator, so be discreet!
Booth workflow: Designate a "traffic coordinator" in your booth to organize the flow of foot traffic and quickly qualify attendees who are interested in your product/service so you can engage them. Remember: Treat everyone with respect as they may later be hired by your largest client.
Tip #1 Have a plan and stick to it! There will be lots of different people walking by your booth. Before you get there, know specifically whom you want to talk with and what you want to talk about. It’s easy to get sidetracked and spend time talking with folks who will never have a reason to do business with you, while real, legitimate leads are walking past you.
Tip #2 Make certain everyone manning your booth knows your purpose at LegalTech and can speak intelligently about your products or services. If necessary, use one person to "direct traffic" to your more senior staff.
Tip #3 Pay attention and look like you’re happy to be at LegalTech. There’s no greater turnoff than walking past a booth with staff sitting down, checking their email, or talking to each other. Remove any tables that create a barrier between you and the attendees and make certain that all of your booth staff know and appreciate the investment you’ve made in the show.
LegalTech is the prime opportunity for legal professionals and vendors to meet, conduct business meetings, network with others and investigate new products. It is easy to get wrapped up in the buzz or lost, literally, if you are a vendor newbie.
• Plan ahead: Going to LegalTech is like a day in an amusement park with lots of people and rides. Set goals on what you want or need to accomplish at the show, then pick your “attractions,” make a plan and schedule yourself by the hour. Remember to schedule meals or they just won’t happen!
• Download the LegalTech mobile app: Its nifty tools provides the information you need and help keep you organized.
• Find your packages: Get to the exhibit hall early on Monday and make sure you have all of your boxes and booth packages. Bring tracking numbers, as hunting them down can be an all-day event! Note that poor weather conditions often delay shipments.
• Get your bearings: Use Monday to get the lay of the land. The exhibit hall is spread out over three areas and two different levels. Explore it, and find the keynote and session rooms.
• Track leads: Have a system and plan for gathering and tracking leads in your booth. (Here's our webinar on the topic.)
• Attend sessions: Before you arrive, scan the agenda and pick one or two programs that will give you a view into the world of lawyers and corporate legal departments. Learn about their issues and how they are solving problems with technology, which can help you position your product or services in the future. Better yet, participate in the session conversation and demonstrate your thought leadership on the subject matter.
• Interact: Go to the editors’ and bloggers’ breakfasts. The face time with important ALM editorial staff is priceless. Be sure to have talking points about your company ready.
• Tweet: Use hashtag #LTNY; harvest the Twitter feed to learn about last-minute happenings, session highlights and buzz.
• Wear comfy shoes.
• Network into the night: Go to parties or events with plenty of business cards in hand. Or if you prefer to not venture too far, just hang out at the Hilton Lobby Bar or Bridges Bar and you will see everyone…eventually.
Compiled by Monica Bay, editor-in-chief of Law Technology News. Twitter: @LTNMonicaBay