Around 2016, regulated industries, along with Big Tech, began transitioning away from tracking internet cookie data. Recycled cookies were unexpectedly creating security and discrimination issues for consumers.

During this transition, ALM, an information and intelligence company that produces more than 30 leading B2B media brands, decided to transform its approach to marketing because it publishes content that attracts major audiences in the legal industry and six other markets—and therefore has access to customer data.

“As business and data privacy evolves, we have to be very careful about who we reach and how we reach them,” says Matt Weiner, President of Marketing Services at ALM. “We need to understand our audiences better so that we can preserve their data privacy rights and serve them more relevant content and commercial offers.”

With the world moving to Web 3.0—a permissionless, decentralized and open-source internet—ALM needed to continue building revenue with advertising and lead generation, while securely using data to help connect businesses. ALM also wanted to incorporate AI into its marketing, so the company reached out to IBM Business Partner Sherloq, Inc. to help seamlessly integrate Lawyerpages, a new consumer-facing website and internet data.

Sherloq’s bridge application for hybrid cloud systems is designed to increase the speed of digital transformation. The solution, which is also named Sherloq, enables an organization to store valuable internal information in a data fabric with a fully auditable custody chain. It also supports the deployment and production of profit-generating AI applications.

“ALM, like all media companies, continues to go through a digital transformation process to gain a competitive advantage. This requires managing enormous amounts of data. So now, how do they deal with Web 3.0 and use the data they have?” asks Jacob DelHagen, Chief Technology Officer at Sherloq. “How do they evolve from just relying on ads and banners as a revenue source? They must continue to modernize and make their data actionable.”

The answer is to build an AI-driven solution with Sherloq and IBM Watson® technology.

Predicts the origin source of consumer data to a

99.8%

level of accuracy 

A law firm customer of ALM sees an approximately

45%

rate of increase in signed intake compared to the previous 6 months

A 360-degree view into data

Sherloq and ALM worked together to collect and filter internet data, scrub and secure it into a blockchain compliance ledger, and interlace it among departments and publications. The team implemented a Sherloq permission and cognitive fabric to act as the middleware web layer between the business side and the consumer side of the internet, making it easier to add IBM Watson technologies and IBM Blockchain™.

As an entry point into the fabric, Sherloq built Lawyerpages (link resides outside of ibm.com) to sit on ALM’s web layer. Lawyerpages creates a directory with advanced features that capture website, phone call, publication, chat and email data on the fabric. This provides a comprehensive fabric for both lawyers and their clients, plus a 360-degree view into the data.

Businesswoman analyzing data from home office

Sherloq uses IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding and IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier to automatically read, process and categorize data at scale and in real time. The platform seamlessly integrates the user data into IBM Watson Machine Learning Accelerator and IBM Watson Studio, which helps Sherloq more rapidly develop models with complex predictive analytics, algorithms and logarithms. With IBM Watson Studio, a developer can set up APIs and build and test models, then spin instances off the best models. After making the data usable, Sherloq built a directory—a revenue channel—that makes the data actionable.

In a matter of weeks, Sherloq was able to install IBM Watson technology and data models for ALM. By placing the internet layer’s website directory into an IBM Blockchain compliance ledger that sits on an IBM Cloud® Kubernetes Service cluster, ALM begins to gather valuable insights. Data scientists can use actionable insights to repackage the data and build AI-driven apps. This model integrates with Google APIs and allows for targeted advertising without using cookies. Next, Google scores the data and provides ALM with secondary intelligence such as keywords and geographies.

Realizing exponential value from AI

Data privacy is critical to ALM’s operations and customer service. With this solution, ALM can predict the origin source of data to a 99.8% level of accuracy. The company addresses permission, compliance, security and custody for current and prospective regulatory concerns.

“At our core, we need to protect the privacy of our readers,” explains Carlos Curbelo, Vice President of the Legal Market at ALM. “Therefore, we take security to the next level. For example, the blockchain component of this technology helps us know exactly how we’re using our data, who’s touching our data and that we’re compliant with our security measures.”

In addition, the solution improves cost savings and monetization of data assets now and in the future. “With IBM Watson Studio, it just comes down to numbers,” explains DelHagen. “You can do things instantly with one developer that it would have taken 10 data scientists to do otherwise. ALM is saving millions in payroll by not having to hire 10 additional data scientists.”

With such targeted, insightful data and AI, ALM provides exponential value to its customers. “We use AI to build marketing programs to target the right person,” explains Joann Kropp, Vice President of Product and Data Strategy for Marketing Services at ALM. “With artificial intelligence embedded in our organization, we can improve ROI when customers spend money with us.”

Female programmer at laptop

Growing revenue at much higher rates

ALM and its clients are seeing significantly higher rates of revenue growth. In just 60 days, the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone saw an approximately 45% rate of increase for signed intake compared to the previous six months. “Since you’ve connected Sherloq and Lawyerpages to my firm’s website, both our new case counts and case values have risen to levels we’ve never seen before,” says Mark E. Salomone. “We are now contending with the stresses of an historic run for our firm. But, please, keep it up.”

In addition, the ALM Law.com Lawyerpages website has experienced year-over-year growth rates of at least 50%. In one key metric, Lawyerpages almost doubled total impressions to 5.29 million during the last six months. Renewal rates have also exceeded 95%.

Time savings have been significant. By using the Sherloq with IBM Watson platform as a compliance and cognitive tool, the Lawyerpages development engineering cycle was compressed by at least 1.5 years, enabling the solution to go to market and start earning revenue much faster.

The team at ALM is equally impressed with the AI solution’s speed and results. “The business of the legal industry has complexities and nuances around how lawyers in certain practice areas get business,” explains Kropp. “They are dependent on search and can spend millions of dollars on a strategy to bring in new clients. ALM is part of the evolution of how lawyers are going to grow their business and see results. ALM has the opportunity to change search authority within thousands of companies. It’s crazy exciting.”

 

Solution components

ALM logo

About ALM

ALM (link resides outside of ibm.com) is an information and intelligence company that provides customers with critical news, data, analysis, marketing solutions and events to successfully manage the business of business. ALM serves a community of 7+ million business professionals in seven markets including the legal industry where it produces more than 20 leading media brands such as The American Lawyer and Law.com.

Sherloq logo

About Sherloq, Inc.

IBM Business Partner Sherloq (link resides outside of ibm.com) powered by IBM Watson, is the first platform that allows marketers and agencies to seamlessly integrate AI and machine learning with data from their website and ad campaigns. The company revolutionizes the way websites and ad campaigns work, while driving increased performance of digital marketing efforts.

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Produced in the United States of America, November 2022.

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