This week we asked you…
Where are you spending your law firm marketing budget?

Most of my legal marketing budget goes to:
1. Firm events – 42%
2. Advertising – 7%
3. Public Relations – 18%
4. Pet Projects/Community Organizations – 21%
5. Entertaining clients (lunch, dinner, sporting events, etc…) – 12%

My Thoughts:
As I mentioned on Tuesday, I usually advise clients to allocate about 3 to 4 percent of their gross revenue towards marketing and business development. But I always stress that firms and individuals spend cautiously, there are many traps that even the most marketing-savvy lawyers fall into. Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts…

  • Events—a great way to build relationships (think seminars, open houses, political events) but be sure to keep it small and follow-up is a must if you want to see results.
  • Pet Projects—make sure to differentiate between sponsorships and contributions that fit into the firm’s strategic plan and those that simply take up time, resources and serve a small percentage of the firm.
  • Advertising—hold on to your cash unless you plan to devote significant planning to design, messages, and most of all, frequency.
  • Public Relations—Set a course and stick to it! It can build credibility if done right (see my Black Pearl below).
  • Golf, Lunch, Etc.—make sure you’re devoting that money to the people who make decisions… either to hire you or refer you business. As my friend likes to say, “Random acts of golf” are not marketing initiatives.

The key once again is to plan and stay true to that plan. It’s the most important piece of advice I can give.

Glenn Callison of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harrs looks at his budget this way:

We have a zero-based budget approach that allows for special requests from individual lawyers. We start by asking, ‘Okay, how many exposures do we want out there and where do we want to be?’ We pull that information together, develop a media plan, and then look at sponsorship opportunities and event marketing. Then we pull all that together and analyze where we are as a percentage of total revenue, compare it to what we were doing in the prior year, and then plug it into the budget – knowing full well that there will be special requests from individual lawyers throughout the year that need to be accommodated.

Black Pearl: Need a little help with your public relations initiative? Here’s a great article I found on JD Supra by Jordan Furlong to help you get in the right mindset to write powerful articles about your cases.