On the 11th Day: I'm Embracing the Marketer of 2017 in Me, Are You?

By Jessica Aries posted 12-23-2016 06:06


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As the close of this 12 Days nears, I wanted to take a moment to thank the LMA Social & Digital Media SIG for allowing me to help co-chair this amazing group. I have learned so much for this SIG throughout my time as a member of LMA, and I hope the 12 Days leave you all with a bit of joy and good cheer as this year comes to an end and we welcome the new year.

What has shifted in the last 12 months in social & digital media?

1 (1).pngFor me, it has been all about video. As a business development manager, I think every day about how we can use video, whether it be in the form of a webinar, strategic storytelling, or just brand messaging to demonstrate the expertise of our firm and attorneys. Tools like Periscope and Facebook Live have made video streaming immediate and accessible to the masses. In the future I imagine, we will not only be able to become the narrators, directors, and producers of our own lives but also allow others to step into our personal reality with VR headsets.

I recently picked up one of those VR headsets that straps onto my phone. While using it, I managed to climb a mountain, explore a cave, and trip over my coffee table more than once. Needless to say, VR in a safe space.

Nevertheless, the experience of exploring a new world with was as easy as downloading an app and strapping my phone to my face. The accessibility and ease of transporting someone beyond their living room has not been this great since the invention of the TV. Thus, I see VR impacting not only marketing but all areas of business and professional services, from marketing offices to courtrooms to hospitals. Change is coming.

What has caught your eye recently as a smart use of social & digital media?

Again, I am going to have to say video and live streaming. I think Matt Parfitt really hit the nail on the head when he said that not everyone can attend a conference, but allowing people to take part via live streaming apps has really changed the game.  I also agree with his assessment that the Live Q&A sessions for live video are creating more avenues for connecting social media users to social media content creators and in turn feel like they are part of the brand experience.

I think the brands that use social media well, keep their content relevant, timely, and appropriate for their audiences. I am thinking specifically about those brands that embraced the Mannequin Challenge and used it to convey a message, not only to promote their brand. I am thinking specifically of the Hillary Clinton Campaign’s Don’t Stand Still Mannequin Challenge,  the Black Lives Matter Mannequin Challenge, and the Cleveland Cavalier’s NBA Championship Mannequin Challenge featuring First Lady Michelle Obama. All timely, on-message, and appropriate for their audiences.

What’s the biggest challenge for law firms trying to be active in the social & digital media space, and how can they overcome it?

The greatest challenge law firms face right now in the social and digital media space is a lack of resources, autonomy, and time dedicated to producing a message beyond the typical, and, quite frankly, boring. To overcome this challenge law firms will need to commit resources in the form of time, talent, and budget, as well as provide greater autonomy to their digital marketers. If given the opportunity, I know these marketers can help craft, execute and implement a digital strategy that will be meaningful to law firm clients, adds value to their channel audiences, and moves their law firm brand forward.

What's the next big thing in social & digital media marketing for law firms for 2017?


As I mentioned before, I think video is huge. But also rightfully huge and worth mentioning is data analytics and customer journey mapping. As a business development professional, my passion is connecting systems, data, and digital information together to answer questions, craft vision, and inform business decisions in a visually informative way. 

I find satisfaction in being able to identify that the general counsel of a Fortune 100 company received a webinar invitation, signed up and attended, was sent a follow up email, which prompted the GC to download a white paper, which led to a phone call, which turned into a lunch that resulted in new business for the firm. What does this mean? It means knowing where your clients come from matters. It means there is an opportunity for data-driven marketers to grasp the information available to them and make it mean something beyond a click-through-rate. It means we are data sleuths providing background and information that would otherwise be undiscoverable without the tools, resources, and knowledge we provide. It means we can help our attorneys and our law firms be better prepared for future interactions with potential clients. This is the type of marketer I am looking forward to embracing in 2017 and beyond.

Parting Words

As a  final farewell, I'd like to say it has been an honor. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as the LMA Social & Digital Media SIG co-chair. I leave you in the very capable and wonderful hands of Stefanie Knapp and Karen Cariello. May all the members have a wonderful holiday season. I look forward to 2017 and all the great things to come for this SIG! 


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Jessica Aries is a technology-focused legal marketer and business development professional with a relentless appetite for efficiency, smart goals, and big initiatives. She currently serves as a Business Development Manager at Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. In 2015 she was named the Legal Marketing Association’s Rising Star. She is involved at various levels in the LMA, where she currently serves as the co-chair of the LMA Social & Digital Media SIG, a co-chair for the 2017 LMA Rising Star Committee, a board member of the LMATX Chapter, and an incoming board member for the LMASW Region.

In case you missed it:

The 1st Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Karen Cariello of JD Supra

The 2nd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Stefanie Knapp of Allen Matkins

The 3rd Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Matt Parfitt of Vuture

The 4th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Ryan King of Ogletree Deakins

The 5th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Deb Dobson of Fisher & Phillips

The 6th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Jennifer Simpson Carr of Lowenstein Sandler

The 7th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Jon Holden of Forward Level Marketing

The 8th Day of Social & Digital Media, featuring Gail Lamarche of Henderson Franklin

The 9th Day: Be a Smart Firm & Focus Your Team on the Digital Space by Molly Porter of Seyfarth Shaw

The 10th Day: Lessons For Law Firms in 2016's Top Video Trends by Oliver Thoenen of Hinshaw & Culbertson

Save The Date! 

Save the date for Tuesday, January 17, 1 PM CT/ 2 PM ET as the Social & Digital Media SIG is kicking off the new year by tackling an important issue. "Conquering the Generational Content Divide: What You Need to Know to Reach All Generations with Your Digital Content," with presenters Molly Miller, Chief Content Officer, ALM, Helen Bertelli, Vice President, Infinite Global Consulting, and new Social & Digital Media SIG co-chair, Karen Cariello, Vice President, JD Supra.  Register early so you can get this important webinar on your calendar!