City firms eye up marketing software

Elizabeth Davidson reports

SEVERAL City firms are understood to be on the verge of buying a software program that will help them market themselves more effectively.

The firms have been viewing Market Ease, the UK version of San Francisco company Cole Valley Software's Legal Ease product which has sold to 130 firms in the US, Australia and Canada.

The product is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK in that it specialises solely in marketing. Many practice management systems that do have marketing functions tend to include them into the overall package as an add-on.

Cole Valley Software president Jeffrey Reade said the software, which costs about £14,000 for a 50-person installation, connects directly with e-mail, fax, and word processing facilities, as well as linking lawyers between offices so that information can be shared.

He said one of the features was an ability to estimate the amount of business generated by a particular marketing ploy, such as a seminar held by a firm to discuss an area of law.

Simmons & Simmons marketing director Anne Marie Stebbings said the general perception among UK firms was that they were more advanced in marketing terms than US law firms.

She said that her firm had developed its own software to cope with marketing demands.

IT consultancy Elliott Slone has been hired by Cole Valley Software to market the Market Ease product and is expected to launch officially it next year.