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Comment: Greg Bufithis on how to run a Legal IT conference – the lessons for ILTACON & LegalTech

The message is not whether or not ILTACON and LegalTech are dead but that the world has moved on and both of these tech conferences need to get out into the wider world. But more importantly: law firms and in-house counsel … and legal technology vendors … need to break away from their safe, cloistered view of the market.

Greg Bufithis on legal technology events… we particularly like his conclusion…
The message is not whether or not ILTACON and LegalTech are dead but that the world has moved on and both of these tech conferences need to get out into the wider world. But more importantly: law firms and in-house counsel … and legal technology vendors … need to break away from their safe, cloistered view of the market.
As noted in the beginning, given the extraordinary recent technological innovations … in particular, the explosion in information volumes along with the computing power and analytics applications now available … these events and players need to expand their horizons and incorporate the truly outstanding technology out there that will effect, does effect the legal technology market.

How to run a technology conference: lessons for LegalTech and ILTACON (the shorter version, with photos)

Given the extraordinary recent technological innovations … in particular, the explosion in information volumes along with the computing power and analytics applications now available … you need to expand your horizons and attend real technology events or otherwise you’ll miss out on the truly outstanding technology out there that will effect, does effect the legal technology market.

3 replies on “Comment: Greg Bufithis on how to run a Legal IT conference – the lessons for ILTACON & LegalTech”

Spot on, Greg. As I stood on our booth at ILTA this year, all of these points came to mind. I always ask myself the question – ‘is this the best return for a vendors marketing $?’.
Is the exhibition hall the best way to engage with delegates? I guess that maybe 20% of the 2000 delegates tour the booths and are bombarded by sales people. It’s a hard environment to navigate. There are two kinds of booth visitor – the informed shopper (those who have a list of existing and potential vendors that they already identified to speak with), and the bingo player (who’s really happy picking up the hand-outs and moving on quickly). The ones that want to talk with you, will. So why not change the model to having meeting booths for this which are not a zillion miles away from the delegate sessions? And then make the exhibition hall more of a speed-dating place, 1 minute pitches, a gift and a gathering of data.
But you’re right about the size of the market influencing the event. The MAGIC fashion event was being held at Vegas at the same time as ILTA. They target the fashion industry. 10’s of thousands of delegates attend, imagine the size of their event budget and the room it gives them to innovate. ILTA, in comparison, has maybe 2,500 attendees. What this means to me is that, whilst it can’t spend hugely, it can be more agile and creative to deliver better value to its members and its supporters from these events.
Everything is being turned upside down now. Even the legal sector and it’s technologists. These events can move to benefit from this upheaval and now is the time. Otherwise members will drift away to more useful platforms and vendors will take their investment elsewhere.

Trade shows fascinate me. Typically underwritten by vendors so buyers get in for free. In return the vendors are given strictly controlled access to buyers.
Another money spinner for the event organiser is sponsorship of a keynote which is usually vacuous and basically states the bleeding obvious, things such as “law firms need to be more efficient.”
Then there are the gold, silver and bronze sponsorships where you may get a mention on the cover of a brochure that people rarely read and use as a coaster for their vendor-underwritten skinny flat white. Perhaps there is a (generic and usually very vague) white paper inside that can be used during a tedious talk in a non air conditioned conference room?
Oh my favourite line I used to get from organisers, “please don’t be too ‘salesy.'” WTF! It’s a trade fair, where people trade! Buyers aren’t idiots they come to buy or at least get a measure of what’s out there. Do organisers not realise that if we ‘push’ then people avoid us? Far better to create a ‘pull’ effect for the buyer.
Morning!

I’d be interested to know how many delegates ever access the sales bumph included with the free USB drives vendors give out – and do they think “What a bunch of cheapskates – only a 2GB drive”

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