SURVEYS: Marketing spending down, staffing and personal effort up

Nov 7th, 2016 | Company News, Law Firm Marketing, Legal Marketing in Brief, Uncategorized

Local and regional corporate, transactional and defense firms are hiring full-time in-house marketers while reducing their firm’s out-of-pocket marketing expenses – moves that align with drops in marketing budgets reported recently at much larger competing law firms.

Our just-completed 2016 National Marketing Effectiveness Survey of more than 100 local and regional law firms (median size 35 lawyers), reveals that nearly 70 percent now have a full-time in-house marketer, up from just 29 percent in our last survey completed two years ago.  At the same time, spending on entertainment, advertising, printing and postage have dropped dramatically as firms embrace and generate files and referrals through more labor-intensive tactics such as LinkedIn®, blogs and electronic announcements, alerts and newsletters.  Labor-intensive tactics were much less used two years ago, our prior surveys reveal.

BTI Consulting recently revealed the law firms ranked 101 to 200 in size in the country “cut their budgets to 2.54% of revenue now from 2.8% in 2014.  Law firms outside the largest 200 law firms dropped to 2.71% from 3.1%.”  Our survey confirms that trend extends to smaller firms and reveals spending levels as a percentage of fee volume at local and regional law firms.

The spending reductions may be an opportunity for your firm.

“The pressure is on … to increase funding and focus on those activities which protect and grow clients first, and attract strategically targeted clients second,” BTI observed, adding that “The reach for new, unknown clients is third.”

Law firms still have time to adjust their marketing and business development budgets for 2017. “So many law firms know they are operating in a predator’s paradise- the law firms who take business from others will win,” BTI said.

Our bi-annual survey, now in its 24th year, reveals what tactics firms report actually bring in work directly and by referral, what tactics don’t generate files, what percentage of firm revenue is being spent on marketing and business development, what tactics firms plan to spend more and less time and money on in the future.  It also reveals the success rates of formal succession planning, cross-selling, coaching programs and training.

If you are interested in a presentation of the results of our survey for an upcoming firm retreat or partnership meeting, contact us.

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