The Concep Team was at PSMG 2019, London

“We are living amazing transformational times. The future impact of the 4th industrial revolution is a future where we are more connected. More connected with data. More connected with systems and processes. Much more connected to our clients. Better connected as people.”

What a great start! Chair Sophie Schwass, Head of Legal Operations at Lloyds Banking Group kicked off the 23rdPSMG Annual Conference in London with this vision of the future.  As a technology business that helps professional services marketers connect their marketing activities, data, systems and processes to create stronger human connections, it’s a vision that resonates deeply with the Concep team. The conference was a perfect opportunity for the team to join clients and partners, to listen, learn and be inspired about how technologies are transforming the sector - and how our clients are responding.

Here are just three of the takeaways from an ideas-packed schedule.

How will you colour your day?

Think of your average day. How much of your day is spent doing tasks that actually create value for your clients?  How much of the day is spent on activities that you find rewarding because they require you to use your judgement, to be creative or have empathy? What part of your day would you 'colour in' for activities that don’t fit into that category? Mike Hobday, VP and General Manager of IBM Automation in Europe gave the first keynote of the day by showing how AI, Robotics and blockchain are disrupting our places of work. The purpose of these technologies is to eliminate human intervention where it does not add value to clients or protect the business.

The fact is that if you can make a decision in less than a second – it can be automated.  If there is a pattern – it can be automated.  This is not just for routine, back office tasks - there is no job, skill or role that AI augmentation won't touch. A new digital workplace is emerging, and the benefits are clear: 10-15% more value creation, fewer errors, more seamless processes, better NPS scores and a huge improvement in productivity.  We need to rethink the way people work and design workdays around work they find rewarding. We need to find ways to lean on technology to create better client experiences. It’s a massive change and it will happen - it’s just a matter of how fast - and how effective the change is.

Embrace the ‘never normal’If technology is shaping our workplace, data-driven foresight can help shape the firm of tomorrow. Matt Meckes and Quentin Ellis from Cohaesus, explained why time may be running out for the old “innovate or die” adage. Not only has the landscape of top corporate brands been transformed, but life expectancy of an average Fortune 500 company has dropped from 75 to 15. The prediction is that only 30% of these organisations will still be around in 2022. Much of change is driven by a new status quo – “the never normal”. This is because the global economy is uncertain, we have more political uncertainty and global consumer trust has declined. More than half of consumers – many of which are our clients -  live in a ‘filter bubble’ created by the information from news and media.

Clients of the future need legal firms to be lean and agile. They want to use technology to solve their problems quickly and at lower costs. Pricing will be based on outcome and value rather than time. We will need to build resilience and develop skills like emotional intelligence, and empathy and nurture those skills internally.

Firms will need to respond by creating a culture and mindset that focuses on continuous improvement, embraces change, practices trial and error and stops doing what is not working. The ‘never normal’ can also lead to a disconnect between what our clients actually value and what we think they value.

The key is to keep asking and never assume their objectives and needs have stayed the same.

Innovation: Big I, Little i

A session with Weightman’s BD & Marketing Director Sarah-Janes Howitt and Stuart Whittle, Business Services and Innovation Director lead to a discussion on what innovation means to legal marketers. For some it meant “doing the normal – but smarter”, “putting ideas into action” or “shifting to focus from the service offered to the problem the clients want to solve.”

From a ‘little i’ perspective, it is about continuously looking for ways to improve processes that solve our clients’ problems better and more efficiently. It’s about finding ways – often using technology - to free up time so we can invest energies where they matter most.  Often firms are prioritising technology in some areas but overlooking their marketing technology when that is what can help them connect with clients by providing insight, intelligence and new ideas. The data we capture is as valuable as the service legal firms provide. Marketing data leads to insightful conversations, collaboration and co-creation with clients.

Marketing needs to be an active participant in client-focused conversations and help set the agenda. For many markeTErs, the barrier to innovation lies internally.  Marketers feel they need permission and time to innovate.

How to get around this? The key to success lies in being able to monetise – or allocate a value  – whether that is better reporting for management decision-making, improved account management leading to increase share of wallet, or increasing the pipeline and acquiring new leads.

The Revolution has begun!

There were many other workshops that allowed us to explore the different aspects that would affect the future of professional services marketing including client attitudes to technology, communication and leadership. Above all the realisation that we need to connect better with our clients and embrace a new mindset. To quote Gavin Edmonds, Head of Experience Design at 6point6,  we should be looking to implement “an experience strategy that brings together user needs, business objectives and measures for success that realise the value of user-led change.”

We came away excited and with new awareness of just how the legal sector landscape will be changing, of how marketing needs to move up the value chain, use data intelligence and start leading the conversations.  We also came away excited to know that we are part of the revolution too, and with the knowledge that Concep has so much to offer to help professional services marketers with the technology, integrations and expertise to partner them into the future.