Comment: No Publicity Please, We’re Lawyers !
by Lois McLuckie, Senior Marketing Manager, HotDocs Ltd
As with any other person who is responsible for a company’s brand and marketing, I am always keen to promote the successes that our customers have when using our product. In roles within other business to business organisations, I have found this process relatively straightforward, with customers delighted to benefit from the promotional aspects of being used as a best-practice case study.
Why then, am I finding it relatively tricky to get some major clients to agree to showcase the innovative ways in which they use HotDocs? Or, in some cases, even to publicly admit that they use HotDocs at all?
As the leading provider of automated document generation technologies, with more than one million end users globally, HotDocs software has permeated some of the largest and most well-known corporations, financial institutions and legal firms around today. So why can’t I shout about this and why is there a myth that automated document generation software is a little-used technology?
Talking to clients and a little bit of digging reveals that the reasons are three-fold; aggregation, competitive advantage and the desire for invisibility.
The liberalisation of the legal market has spawned a new breed of legal services firms, those with alternative business structures. By aggregating a number of smaller firms together and automating as many processes as possible using technologies like HotDocs, organisations can streamline the services offered, reduce the time required for qualified lawyers’ involvement, price competitively and enjoy higher margins. One HotDocs client uses our HotDocs Server product to produce in excess of 100,000 documents every day as part of this kind of business model. The reason for secrecy for these types of organisation? They don’t want to share the success of their business model with customers, to retain the perception that they are receiving a service that is tailored and they don’t want to share it with competitors, lest they jump on the bandwagon.
Whilst HotDocs offers all customers a competitive advantage in terms of increasing efficiency and reducing business costs, some customers operate within a business model that fully maximises on the viable edge offered by our technologies. These are legal “process shops” – businesses that are completely focussed on one process, often within the re-mortgaging and refinancing market. These customers are fully leveraging the capabilities of HotDocs by employing several hundred staff who are all focussed on the same task or tasks and, understandably, they don’t want to talk about that which gives them their competitive advantage – charging per transaction rather than per hour for highly systemised, high volume work, reducing the legal process to the sum of its parts.
Finally, there are those HotDocs customer with a desire for invisibility, either in terms of the processes they use or to mask their very existence. Cleverly, some law firms use document generation to aid in value based billing, offering blended rates for services where the customer doesn’t particularly know that their documents have been automated and that this has freed up time to let their lawyer get on with the business of being a lawyer for them, rather than a drafter of documents. Other law firms provide “back office” services to some of the largest banks and insurance companies in the world, acting as a proxy when dealing with mortgages, bank loans or insurance documentation. Using HotDocs provides a competitive advantage in terms of efficiency in providing these back office services and is kept secret to preserve the successful business model that it enhances.
As a marketing professional, I find myself in a strange situation. My company provides a widely-used, valuable business tool that nobody wants to talk about in case their competitors get in on the act. Here at HotDocs, we value integrity in business and respect our clients’ confidentiality. We won’t use their names for our own promotion without their express approval. The unfortunate side effect of this is that I am unable to showcase the innovative and cutting edge ways in which some of our clients utilise HotDocs technologies to improve their overall business performance.
However, as HotDocs continues to grow, bringing on board more and more customers who are seeking to streamline business processes to improve overall performance, I must surmise that the business benefits of HotDocs may not always be shouted about, but are certainly whispered about by those in the know.