This is the second installment of my responses to questions by freelance writer John Egan for an article to be published in CPAmerica International’s newsletter addressing “marketing for law firms.” Last time I dealt with suggestions and common mistakes. The next question dealt with budgeting for marketing; to wit:
3. “Is there a rule of thumb about how much money a law firm should spend on marketing?”
No. I am not a believer in putting a dollar amount on how much a law firm should spend on marketing, merely because some firms throw out numbers like 1%, or 4% of gross revenues. It’s meaningless standing alone.
I would rather see firms approach budgeting on a zero-based system. That is, first determined what it is the firm wants to accomplish. Here’s where that planning stuff comes in again. Budgeting should only be done after the firm determines what they want to do, but how they’re going to do it. Only then should they put together a budget for their marketing and business development efforts.
There are certain basic necessities that a firm needs to spend dollars on, such as a website, promotional materials, and the like. But again, even that should be based on what it is they’re trying to accomplish in terms of goals and objectives for the law firm’s practice or practices.