2016 Canadian Legal Digital Survey – Yep. That Digital Stuff is Still Really Important!

October 4, 2016

For the second year running, my colleagues and I at fSquared Marketing showed our insanity commitment to the Canadian legal industry by undertaking research related to client focused digital tools.

And so we’re happy to present the second annual Canadian Legal Digital Survey report which includes analysis of data gathered from in-house counsel at medium to large Canadian companies and from the chief marketing officers and other senior legal marketers of national and large regional law firms. The survey documents the usage and importance of websites and social media as well as digital content marketing, client feedback programs, electronic billing, client portals, and directories.

From our research it’s clear that Canadian in-house counsel are increasingly reliant on social media and online portals for their legal information. This tells us that it is critical for legal marketers to understand the best ways for their firm to use digital tools. It’s even more important for them to be able to persuade the lawyers they work with that this is the case.

As for lawyers? They need to know that a lawyer’s online professional presence is now under constant surveillance. This gives lawyers a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on digital tools for their business development. It also means that these days it’s much easier for a potential client or referral source to compare you to a competitor. The stakes have been raised.

1. Responsive, user-focused law firm websites are essential.
76% of in-house counsel use the internet daily or weekly to find legal industry information. Increasingly, they’re using their mobile phones and tablets. The importance of blogs and client portals are also growing.

2. Online Profiles are a lawyer’s resume
83% of in-house counsel (up from 78% from last year) ranked lawyer bios as important when researching outside lawyers and law firms. Website bios and Linkedin profiles need regular updates to stay relevant.

3. Thought leadership counts
71% of in-house counsel use articles and speeches written by lawyers to research outside counsel. 46% use blogs published by lawyers, on topics relevant to their business.

4. Firm-Wide Social Media strategies are being implemented at larger firms
73% of CMOs report that their firm has a social media strategy in place. 78% of survey respondent’s firms have a social media policy that concerns all lawyers and administrative staff. In addition, 78% of respondents say that their firm provides training for social media tools.

5. Content Marketing is on the rise
89% of CMO participants either have a current content marketing strategy, or one in the works. 94% say content marketing is important, and 78% anticipate an increase in content marketing in the next year. 39% of respondents indicated their marketing department spends 20 or more hours per week on content marketing.

6. Social Media’s stature is growing
An increasing number of in-house counsel view LinkedIn (61% up from 49% last year) and Twitter (29% up from 20% last year) as credible sources for legal industry news.

7. Email is still alive
80% of in-house counsel read newsletters and/or client alerts sent via email somewhat often or very often. 78% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) respondent’s firms publish client alerts, and 56% publish a firm-wide newsletter for clients.

8. But CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislations) greatly impacted law firm marketing
55% of CMO’s reported that 25-74% of their e-mail marketing subscribers were lost due to CASL compliance.

Lynn Fitzpatrick Foley
Fitzpatrick Foley

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