ALM taps Pierce to drive digital expansion

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Scott Pierce
Company: ALM
Location: New York
Title: VP-digital product development
Big move: Consultant for ALM's soon-to-launch Virtual LegalTech show joins a media company preparing to dig into new digital revenue streams.
Core responsibilities: Develop new online products and markets; oversee legal conference business

When ALM hired Scott Pierce, the company signaled that its planned step this month into the world of 365-day-a-year online trade shows will not be a one-off.

Pierce, a former consultant who helped ALM prepare the launch of the virtual companion to its popular LegalTech event, has much bigger plans for the development of the company's digital lineup.

“The markets are not fully mature; the products are not fully mature,” the new VP-digital product development said. “There are areas and opportunities for growth almost everywhere I look. That doesn't happen in a lot of companies.”

Virtual LegalTech marks Pierce's first expansion since he joined the company in October. The event goes live Nov. 19 at virtuallegal It will create a year-round online trade show and conference kept fresh through an expanding library of on-demand webcasts as well as one day of live content produced each quarter.

The launch unveils a new venue for ALM, one that will house multiple events and that allows more audience interaction than a traditional webcast, Pierce said. Attendees can network, exchange virtual business cards, browse booths, watch presentations and chat via Web cam.

“Basically we're establishing an online environment, a community and an exhibition and conference center that we're going to use all of the time,” Pierce said.

Pierce, who also oversees ALM's face-to-face conference business, said the company will create additional virtual complements to existing shows. “You're extending current brand assets into a virtual footprint,” he said. “You can take content and repurpose it, which is terrific because you don't have to reinvent the brand or the audience. In the next three to five years, you'll see that most physical events will have a virtual component.”

The virtual auditorium will also provide a flexible home for e-learning products that are broader in scope than the traditional continuing legal educational courses offered through the company's CLE Center. “This opens more opportunities for us to do custom learning programs and certificate programs,” Pierce said. “To add a broader set of curriculum delivered in unique ways is one of the opportunities I'll be exploring.”

The company also will work to diversify advertising revenue streams. “We're looking at new ways to monetize video,” Pierce said, ticking off plans to place video of sponsored seminars on the Web, while also incorporating video commercials and developing studio shows of moderated panels.

Pierce will also be partnering with ALM publications, working to diversify and extend the existing digital offerings of brands such as the New York Law Journal. “We have terrific columnists, great subject matter—but [content is] predominantly delivered right now in print,” he said. “There is great opportunity to take that brand and do some new things.”

He expects the company's audience, vendors and advertisers to embrace digital products.

“It's accessible, and people are looking for new ways to communicate, new ways to learn, new ways to get information,” he said.

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