How generative AI can reshape marketing and business development

InterAlia Consulting founder Andrea Miskolczi’s key takeaways from GLP’s Law Firm Marketing Summit

Andrea Miskolczi at GLP's Law Firm Marketing Summit on 10 October in London

By automating routine tasks and enhancing creative processes, generative AI can help law firms optimise their existing marketing and business development services and discover new opportunities to create value for their partnerships. However, not all problems and opportunities can and should be solved by the shiny new language models. Often ‘good old’ technology or simply a process redesign can bring about the best outcome. 

These were some of the key messages of the ‘Tech in Action – How Tech Can Reshape Marketing and BD’ panel discussion at Global Legal Post’s Law Firm Marketing Summit in London earlier this month. Together with experienced marketers and marketing technologists such as Gemma Prescott from Intapp, Jamie Askew from White & Case and Holly Adams from Taylor Wessing, the author discussed how technology can reshape legal marketing and business development functions. This summary is inspired by that discussion. 

Spot the opportunity 

Generative AI, characterised by its ability to create new data resembling a given dataset, is expected to have a significant impact across all areas of business operations. As consulting firms such as McKinsey and Boston Consulting pointed out in recent studies, marketing and customer relationship management could be particularly affected by this new technology. Law firms are probably no exception to this trend, and many business development and marketing teams have already recognised this. 

If nothing else, the ‘hype’ around ChatGPT is used by such teams as a reason to re-engage with lawyers and brainstorm about potential use cases. If constructed thoughtfully, such discussions focus on problems and pains, not on the technology itself. As a result, in addition to collecting potential ideas for generative AI solutions, teams can identify use cases for existing ‘old’ technology or for process redesign. In some cases, simply selling an existing tool or process can create magic. 

However, there are several use cases and opportunities where the power of generative AI, or, as we will point out below, the power of a firm’s own data, can create new value. So, what are the main ideas to boost legal marketing and business development by this technology? We look into two main categories of use cases: content generation and data-driven insights. 

Content generation 

The most obvious use case is content creation for thought leadership articles, client newsletters and social media posts. As one of the panellists at last week’s discussion mentioned, half of the 46 generative AI use cases their team collected were related to content creation. However, it would be a mistake to focus solely on the actual drafting part and let the machine take over. In addition to potentially incorrect statements (‘hallucinations’) resulting from, among other reasons, vague prompts, you risk losing your personal style and tone. As the panel discussed – will all law firm content pieces sound the same in the future? 

So, instead of hurrying to ChatGPT to produce even more content, consider how you can improve the quality and the targeting of your thought leadership articles. An outline, a list of key messages relevant for a particular audience, proofreading the text or inserting certain keywords in an otherwise final draft are all simple ideas that we heard from lawyers and marketers. More creative content can be produced by using certain tools’ multimodal features, seeking unusual combinations of topics or exploring other innovative ideas. 

The use of generative AI can also enhance client engagement by personalising marketing communications. By analysing client data and preferences, personalised thought leadership campaigns can be generated, enhancing client relations and generating new leads. 

Data-driven decisions 

We often hear these days that smart law firms leverage the power of generative AI. What we don’t hear enough yet is that smarter firms leverage the power of their own data – with the help of, inter alia, AI. Law firms have an enormous amount of data and in most cases this data is not harnessed to create new business value. 

However, leveraging generative AI technology combined with experience data can provide law firms with real-time, data-driven market insights, enabling informed marketing and business development decisions. By combining experience data with time and billing information, document management and client relationship management insight, a centralised and singular view of the client experience can be provided. Combining that internal data with external research can take business development and marketing to the next level by spotting previously hidden strategic client opportunities. 

So, is it about placing a language model on top of an existing database? Unfortunately, the journey is not so simple – the reason being the disjointed data infrastructure and the poor data quality in most organisations. Often not recognised as a valuable asset, this data typically sits in disconnected systems, with limited or no quality improvements. That means that if you intend to boost your business development and marketing activities through data-driven decision-making, the first step is not AI, but IA – improving your information architecture and your data infrastructure. 

Human-centric approach 

Conclusively, the integration of generative AI within the legal marketing and business development sphere isn’t a mere matter of “plug-it-in, switch-it-on” magic. It necessitates a human-centric approach where individuals are trained for optimal utilisation, tasked with data preparation and cleaning, and engaged in prioritising the most impactful use cases. As with every technology implementation for a particular area, the journey begins with a thorough evaluation of existing problems and processes to ascertain the extent to which this technology could serve as a solution.  

This demands seasoned marketing and business development professionals possessing the right mindset to spearhead such transformative initiatives. While this might appear as an onerous task stacked atop the customary service offerings of your teams, the dividends are manifold. By automating mundane tasks and fostering creative processes, generative AI enables law firm marketing and business development teams to concentrate on tasks of higher value, and, in synergy with machine intelligence, propel marketing and business development services to new heights. 

Andrea Miskolczi is the founder and CEO of Vienna-based legal consultancy InterAlia Consulting.

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