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By Matt Starosciak
For most attorneys, there is nothing more discouraging than a bad revenue year. It generates lots of negative thoughts, uncertainty, and a lack of confidence. It creates questions such as: Am I still a good attorney? How long will this slowdown continue? What went wrong?
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a marketing consultant is not putting more pressure on my clients to increase their marketing budgets every year. It’s led to some disappointing year-end meetings… when revenues were lower than expected.
Here’s what typically happens. Firm A is successful and has enjoyed a run of strong revenue years. Because business is good, Firm A has kept their marketing budget the same… essentially adopting the “not broke, don’t fix it” philosophy. Unfortunately, there are two things happening as Firm A stays stagnant. First, new competitors are entering the market and devoting new dollars to pull available clients away from Firm A. Second, existing competitors are getting better at choosing and maximizing their marketing investments. If either type of competitor is successful, even a little bit, Firm A will lose a chunk of their business.
One of the most difficult things to do is increase your firm’s marketing budget when business is good… or when your firm is at capacity. But this is exactly what must be done to avoid downturns in your revenue.
Here is a second way to view this situation. If your firm is already at workload capacity, consider the budget increase as an effective way to become more selective in the cases you take. After all, there is always a better client available than your worst, even if they are pretty desirable.
And a third way. NO firm increases their marketing budget when revenues are down. It just doesn’t happen. If you want to grow, you must do so when things are firing on all cylinders.
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