“Marketing is an investment” is a true statement in the same way that “Elon Musk is well-off” is a true statement. It’s not wrong but it’s also misleadingly understated. Just like you’d need to say a little bit more than “well-off” to describe Musk’s wealth, you’d also need to say more than “marketing is an investment” if you want to be accurate.
A series of diversified investment portfolios would be a better description of what marketing really is. Just as is true of robust financial investing, a complete marketing plan includes growth portfolios composed of high-reward, high-risk options and value portfolios of more reliable, albeit potentially less lucrative, composure. In marketing, the former would refer to aggressive, well-timed, resource-heavy campaigns aimed at big gains while the latter would mean steadier strategies that provide longer-term benefits. Both have their place but in marketing, just as in finance, but this is only true if you accurately track trends. You wouldn’t blindly buy stocks without knowing which sectors are likely to take off (or tank) and you shouldn’t blindly throw dollars at marketing initiatives without measuring key metrics in your field. This is why law firms need to stay on top of the following.
Four Key Metrics to Guide Your Marketing Investment
- Lead Sources
Knowing where your leads originate is essential information for directing your marketing tactics. This means employing call-tracking tools, web analytics, and legal customer resource management (CRM) tools to gather information about everything from website and social media traffic, to referrals, in-person interactions, and newsletter success. Often, when you invest in gathering this information, you discover that leads come from sources more varied than you had previously known.
2. Lead Consistency
Identifying lead sources is crucial but perhaps even more important is lead consistency. Just as researchers do not draw conclusions based on singular results, marketers would be foolish to design a strategy based on a single data point. Gaining this information means having both robust systems and taking the time to consider the information they provide. While this can seem tedious for busy attorneys, stock picking can also seem tedious for busy investors and yet, naturally, it’s the effort invested that provides returns.
3. Client Sources
Leads are only as valuable as your ability to convert them which is why it is crucial to also gather data on current clients. Understanding how interested parties became paying customers allows you to refine your marketing strategy and make the greatest return on your investment. After all, it is not uncommon to discover that your greatest source of leads is not the same as your greatest source of clients.
4. Client Costs
Finally, you can’t make a calculated investment in marketing without knowing the cost of different types of clients. Average client value is essential to measuring the true value of your marketing investment. Acting in ignorance of this number would be like buying mutual funds without knowing the fees, loads, and expenses—something no investor would ever do.