This week Pierce was named VP-group publisher of ALM's magazines division. Digital Directions asked him about the increasingly central role digital experience plays in running magazine brands, among other questions.
Digital Directions:When did you join ALM and what was your initial responsibility?
Pierce: I joined ALM a year and three months ago. I had originally been hired as a consultant with my old company (Virtual Events Media) to make some recommendations on their virtual (trade show) business. I did that, and they asked me to join the company. I did and launched Virtual Legal Tech, which is a virtual event that is a little bit different in that the environment is there 365 days a year. We do it live once a quarter. So when I came on board I was given those responsibilities. And in addition they gave me the legal conference group, the online continuing education group and all the webcasts in the company.
Digital Directions: How well have the virtual shows performed?
Pierce: We had an initial registration (for Virtual Legal Tech) of just over 3,000. That number has grown to over 17,000. With the success of it, we launched a second virtual event called Virtual Corporate Counsel. We have Corporate Counsel magazine. That was also successful in so far as it had nearly 1,000 registrants and about 440 attendees for the day in September.
Digital Directions: How much of your new job's responsibilities will be digitally oriented?
Pierce: A great deal in fact. (The job) is certainly running the magazine group, but it also includes all of the associated websites. I didn't relinquish any job responsibilities. Not only do I have responsibility for the magazines but I have responsibility for the websites, the related conferences and the content. A lot of what we do is repurposed in the continuing education online area. My new responsibilities have an awful lot to do with what we're trying to do digitally.
Digital Directions: What are your plans for mobile?
Pierce: We are coming out just this month with an iPad app for American Lawyer. The thinking was that once we launched that we would probably look to do the other magazines. But even though it hasn't already come out, we're accelerating the plans to do an app for Corporate Counsel and The National Law Journal. We've got quite a few exciting things planned, but the overall plan is to transform and transition a lot of the brand and brand equity to more digital products.