How the CMO of LegalZoom Led a Brand Shift
I got the chance to talk with LegalZoom's CMO, Laura Goldberg, about her journey into the marketing world and what that meant for her. We focused on brand awareness, business challenges, and what is most relevant in 2017 in the digital marketing world.
What drew you into marketing in the first place?
I started my career in finance but did not particularly enjoy it. I really wanted to get into the Internet, and into eCommerce in particular. When I started, it was more of a product and consumer facing role, but interestingly I always ended up with marketing, particularly in eCommerce. I tended to start with performance marketing, and my background is with numbers and products, so pulling an audience from a Google search term or a banner ad, or later in my career things like podcast and television to a website that converts to an interested user that eventually converts to a sale. I would say while I grew up in product or general management, I always either had strong influence or directly managed performance marketing.
How have you approached the rebranding of LegalZoom?
Rebranding has been a big focus. LegalZoom was started over 15 years ago as an online document company, and it was formed to take things like business formations, estate planning, intellectual property, things that are very form heavy in terms of creating that instrument, and ask, "Why are you paying a couple thousand dollars to an attorney to fill out these forms? We can do it for you and we can file them for you!" That was very successful, and we really got a strong foothold in the market with that, but as we looked to expand and we looked at who we weren't addressing, it was those people who didn't necessarily need to go to an attorney's office, definitely didn't want to pay $200-$300/hour in attorney consultation, but maybe their estate plan, business formation, or their intellectual property was a little more complicated.
So, five years ago we started to offer legal help, and shift the business model from an online documents company to a legal services company. With that shift in our business we really needed to take our brand and say "this is a legal brand that people trust" - which is great, but how do we make sure that brand is associated with actual attorneys and not as an alternative to an attorney. My focus has been bringing both the product experience and the brand over to that in LegalZoom. If you see the tagline in our ads now it's "Legal Help is Here," and we want to deliver on that promise.
What would your advice be to any marketer or leadership team that is thinking about redefining their brand?
Define the plan for everyone. LegalZoom has a very strong brand, we have around 70% awareness. When you come in and say, "Hey, we're going to do some brand work," sometimes the next question is, "Why? People know who we are, what do we need to do?" Really understand what you want to get out of it. I would say we positioned a lot of "we want to refresh what our core messages are, what our voice is, what our values are, what that core promise is that we're delivering." We did that and we engaged in an extraordinary collaborative process. We pulled people from every department and every level in the organization and we conducted surveys about what people thought about the brand, and what they like about coming to work at LegalZoom. For our customers - what do they value in LegalZoom? We had workshops to really talk about what that North Star is. Why are we here? What are the values that fall from that?
Lastly, how do we infuse that in everything that we do? We definitely relied on some outside help, however, we did not use a big brand firm, we used consultants. They were the most helpful as facilitators - it's good to have someone who doesn't have skin in the game to facilitate the conversation in order to pull out the value and really guide the discussion. That has been extraordinarily helpful, because for us, we've been around for a long time, we have a strong brand, people have very strong opinions about what we're trying to do. You just need someone to tease out that conversation. Something that was really helpful was that once we really figured out what our mission and vision was, we charged our CEO with advertising that to the organization. I felt pretty strongly that it couldn't be just a marketing thing, it had to be from the top down.
How would you say that he helped spread that throughout the organization? Was it throughout his daily conversations with employees or was that more external facing - press and PR opportunities?
We actually have all-hands meetings, they just take a number of days over different locations. We do two things: firstly we have an off-site with our VPs and directors, and he really presented the platform there, then he did an abbreviated version at the all-hands meeting, and he recorded a walk-through of that which we disseminated to everyone. So it was just him saying what it was, why and how we got there... and then I think it's been words that we use in all aspects. So, in the management team, one place that it's been really impactful is in HR. When it's recruiting - we talk to candidates, we talk to new employees about our vision and why we're here, so, I think it was more of an internal than external campaign.
From a marketing standpoint, how are you thinking of capturing the attention of consumers on mobile?
We think about mobile all the time, and we're looking at two things. Our mobile website is that acquisition platform and content platform, and we're trying to get people to what they're looking for as fast as possible. We've definitely found that page load speed, sleeker navigation, and easy to read pages are what move the needle in mobile. We also have a pretty large call center in Austin, and part of that call center is our sales team, so really using mobile as potentially a way to get them to a salesperson to help them through that process and really tracking different acquisition paths on mobile. It is a constant testing platform, and trying to understand the behavior of mobile to desktop. We think a lot of people start on mobile, and then finish on desktop. So making sure we remember who you are from one platform to another, so that we let you pick up where you left off. Making it easier for you to make that transition is very important to us.
In the digital marketing world of today, what opportunities in the next few years are you most excited about?
I am excited about a couple things. In the TV world, how can we really capture that on-demand audience? People are consuming content through their television but not necessarily through their cable box. So whether it's Apple TV or they're streaming Hulu or Netflix, how do we reach that audience in that moment? I think the other thing that we're very excited about is the machine learning "Alexa world." When you think about a virtual assistant, is it someone who reminds you, "did you take pictures of your receipts and upload them to your bookkeeper this week?" or "you're in California and your franchise tax is due before December 15th" or "did you pay your property taxes this month?" How do we have a more natural conversation with someone about the needs of their business or their estate plan? I think that's a really exciting opportunity moving forward.