LexisNexis shifts strategies, courts lawyers

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LexisNexis last month introduced new products under its Client Development Solutions banner that it says will help customers drum up new business. The move is part of a larger strategic shift by LexisNexis to offer more marketing-based solutions for its customers rather than focusing primarily on providing content for research purposes.

The new products are LexisNexis Corporate Intelligence Subscription for InterAction, which combines external information with the company's existing InterAction CRM product, and LexisNexis atVantage, a business development tool.

LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier, provides research and information to professionals in the academic, accounting, corporate, government, law enforcement, legal and risk management markets.

The professional services industry has changed fundamentally in the past decade, and companies can no longer rely on relationships and word-of-mouth to grow, said John McDonnell, VP-general manager, InterAction at LexisNexis. "They need sophisticated marketing, and new business techniques and tools to increase revenues," he said. "Professional services organizations are becoming increasingly sophisticated."

Combining content with CRM is what makes these new products stand out, according to one client that has been beta testing Corporate Intelligence Subscription for InterAction for the past eight months.

"Having one tool with a complete set of information is really where LexisNexis has hit a home run," said Blain Banick, CMO at Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, a Philadelphia law firm with 500 attorneys.

The single tool also helps provide a more seamless integration internally, Banick said. "We're probably the first ones in the nation to make this work the way we'd envisioned it," he said. "A lot of law firms have been focused on CRM for some time, with mixed results. Finding the right mix of data to bring into a CRM system has been difficult."

Banick said the most important thing is that lawyers at the company's 10 offices around the country are actually using the new tools. "Lawyers don't like to take orders and follow bureaucracy," he said. "The content subscription provides value to the attorneys the moment they turn on their computer."

Banick and his marketing team?Ballard Spahr has a 21-person marketing department?spent time on the front end matching up every client of the firm with the information on that client that was available through LexisNexis, and recorded that information in a standardized format. That information is available to each attorney on each PC within the law firm.

In the past, the lawyers would request information through the library or marketing department. After using the tool for a few months, those requests have declined by half, Banick said. That decline has enabled the marketing staff to devote more time to "bigger-picture strategic initiatives," he said.

To promote the new products, LexisNexis is running print ads this month in legal and business publications, including ABA Journal, Law Tech News and The Wall Street Journal. It is also using three-dimensional direct mail pieces that will target about 2,000 CMOs and business development executives at 600 law firms. Direct mail promotes a road show LexisNexis will kick off at the end of the month to introduce the products to customers and prospects. The road show will visit four cities: Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.

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