Lawyers are often uncomfortable with investing in their firm’s image. First, they see marketing in general and image in particular, as somehow “slick” or “deceitful.” What should matter, they say, is how good an attorney they are. Not all this marketing stuff.
At the same time, attorneys are taught to think of themselves as “professionals,” and as such, they need to look professional. For most, this means putting a Doric column or the scales of justice on their business card.
Image is frustrating for attorneys in another way, as well: Investing in image costs money, yet rarely provides a measurable return on investment.
When attorneys spend money on direct marketing, say a public seminar, the results are very measurable: we spend $5,000 dollars on the advertising and promotion, and $1,000 dollars on the venue and refreshments, and we know the results — 45 people attended, 15 made appointments, 10 became clients and the revenue to the firm was $25,000.
Even if attorneys find it difficult to live with the risk of putting on a seminar (What if no one shows up? What if no one makes an appointment? What if no one becomes a client?), they are at least comforted by a measurable outcome.
Investing in image is much more difficult. Nobody ever says, “I hired you because you have a great brochure.” There is only rarely a measurable return on investment.
You can almost hear the conversation within the law firms’ walls.
“We’ve been going along okay without a brochure.”
“We have to spend money for stuff we need, not stuff we want.”
“We can get it done at Kinko’s”
And my personal favorite:
“My brother-in-law is good with computers, he says he can do a logo and website for us for free.”
Like paying for an estate plan and many other legal services, investing in image marketing is elective. You don’t have to do it. And when confronted with all the other things you might need or want, like a new employee, or a new computer system, it’s easy to see why an investment in image goes to the bottom of the pile, never to be seen again.
I hope to convince you that you do have to invest in image, if you want to grow your firm.
My point, in a nutshell: if you wanted to invent a machine to frustrate and anger every single person who called your office, you could not do better than one of these answering systems.
Smart Marketing client Jan Copley (who helped me give a presentation on this subject earlier this year) spotted this rant in The Los Angeles Times. (Unfortunately, this site requires registration.)
As a news reporter, I was an adreneline junkie, always after "the story" and having fun doing it. I had encounters with the rich and famous (I was once punched by Muhammed Ali) and the soon-to-be famous (an Austrian body-builder with a thick accent and an unpronouncable name told me his master plan for becoming the biggest star in Hollywood, an idea I considered so hilarious that I never wrote a word about it).
And I had my share of drama, and confidential sources.
In 1981, I was instrumental in revealing the contents of a sealed Grand Jury Report on politcal corruption in Collier County, Florida. I eventually was supoenaed and dragged into court, where the attorney for The New York Times Company (my employer) succeeded in having the supoena thrown out.