Law Firm Marketing Investment Decision Process
While some law firms over-analyze marketing investment decisions (paralysis by analysis) and never spend enough money, the great majority fail to spend sufficient time answering critical questions that ensure a balanced and effective mix of business development products and services.
Below is a brief outline of the decision-making process I recommend firms use for large marketing investments. (Small ones – such as a donation to a charitable cause – don’t require analysis.)
1. Review the current one-page marketing budget to see how much the firm is spending monthly on marketing services as well as what the firm has spent YTD on one-time cost items.
2. Separate the products and services into “Branding” verses “Direct Lead Generation” investments to see what percentage of the total spend is being devoted to each.
3. Decide what the firm needs today (i.e. right now). Is it more phone calls and emails from prospective clients? Or is the current new business lead volume such that funds can be devoted to building the firm’s brand in the target market(s)? This is where many firms miss the mark. If the business needs new clients now, any money spent on branding is sure to fail… regardless of how effective it may actually be at accomplishing its goal.
4. Decide how much money is available to spend and over what period of time. This can include net new dollars that will increase the overall budget, OR discontinuing current investments that are failing to provide a strong ROI and reallocating those dollars. (This is only possible if you have all of the investments on an easy to review, one-page marketing budget… AND you have accurately tracked the ROI for each of those current investments.)
5. Now that the firm has decided on how much is available and what goal it should be devoted to, you are ready to look at specific products and vendors.
Example of Decision Process:
- Firm reviews current marketing investments and sees it is spending $55,000 per month on marketing products and services.
- Firm determines that $40,000 of the $55,000 is being spent on Direct Lead Generation products such as Google ads, top spots on online lawyer directories, and lead-buy services. The other $15,000 is being spent on Branding products such as billboards and banners at local sports fields.
- The firm decides it can spend an additional $30,000 over the next 6 months on other products and services, and that it should be devoted to further enhancing the firm’s brand in the community.
- The firm reviews its previously developed list of potential Branding investments, which includes:
- More billboards or banners
- Print ads in the local newspaper and community magazines
- Firm decides it wants to do a radio campaign for 6 months. Evaluation of potential options begins which includes:
- :30 spots on the largest, most listened to station in the area during traffic reports
- :10 spots on the local high school or college football broadcasts during Official Replay Reviews
- Hosting an hour-long show on legal topics on Sunday afternoons