Marketing effectiveness is indeterminable if lawyer business development time is not formally tracked
August 25, 2011
A law firm must track the time its lawyers spend on marketing. The reason: you can’t evaluate and manage what you don’t measure. It is an old management adage that is still accurate today. Unless you measure something you don’t know if it is getting better or worse, and you can’t properly construct your law firm marketing budget.
Firms invest hundreds of thousands of dollars of lawyer time on marketing. However, the majority do not create a record of what activities have occurred, what out-of-pockets expenses are associated with each so they can make informed decisions on the return on various investments made.
When writing law firm marketing plans or developing a personal business development plan as part of an attorney coaching program, we often are told firms can’t handle the additional burden of timekeeping and expense tracking for marketing. These firms manage to accurately and daily track time for billing purposes and costs for reimbursement on every matter they handle. How is marketing different or burdensome? I understand contingent fee practices will find this a bit difficult, since most do not diary time related to cases. However, that’s not true at the corporate, transactional, defense and family law practices with which we’ve worked.
So, tracking hours devoted to marketing is a best practice, all of your internal firm, association and outside bar meetings, writing, research, entertainment, community activity time. Really, it’s an essential element of business management.
If you read related articles on our website or my book, Marketing In Brief, you’ll see independent surveys exist revealing how much time successful rainmakers spend on marketing to obtain maximum results. It’s a significant amount of time every week– eight hours weekly being the number to target. (Note, those eight hours include all of your formal networking efforts, time spent coaching a youth football team, at book club, on your HOA board, church committee work, lunches, charity dinners, attending trainings, writing blogs, speeches, reading this blog post, etc.)