Part 2 – Understand ALL the costs before hiring your own marketing coordinator
Whether or not you are actively marketing your firm, I’m sure at one point or another you’ve considered doing the marketing work yourself – or maybe even hiring (or assigning) an administrator to do it for you. Part 1 of this article compared doing your own marketing to painting your own house. While it’s certainly possible, you may get better results with a professional. Another option that many attorneys consider is hiring your own small law firm marketing person. Here are some factors to consider before you start interviewing candidates.
I’ll save money by hiring my own marketing person
That’s a good thought, although the going rate for decent marketing talent is about $40K. You’ll also need to allocate time and expertise to hire and manage that specialized employee. Add in taxes, benefits, and 401K (that’s what we’re used to) and this can be downright expensive!
For all that expense, you’ll get one of the following:
- Novice marketer. At his level marketers have little to no strategic experience, so they will need to be told what to do. This is the most common mistake that firms make. You need someone who can plan, develop, and execute new ideas, and then track results.
- Specific area of expertise. You’ll find that these folks can write blogs, or plan events, or build websites, or buy yellow page ads. But rarely do they know how to do more than one thing. They probably want to learn, but are you the right teacher?
- Part-time consultant. You can spend your budget on a VP-level consultant, but is 2-3 hours a week really enough time for someone to plan, execute and monitor your program? Probably not. Many solo consultants are strategy experts, but they are used to hiring others to execute.
Once you hire, you’ll need to equip your new marketing coordinator with the tools required to be efficient and effective. Marketing rules and tactics are continually changing, so allocate a little more money for ongoing education and training. Is this still the most cost-effective solution?
It takes a village…
As I mentioned in Part 1, there is no magic behind law firm marketing. The magic is in the quality of your planning and execution, and you really can’t do it with a single person. Sometimes, especially with more advanced marketing programs, it’s ultimately more cost effective (in terms of dollars and time) to just “rent” the team and tools of a professional law firm marketing company. You get to practice law full time, learn from your expert team, and then decide at any time to bring some or all of the skills in-house.
There’s a point at which hiring a marketing person, or even a team, starts to make betterfinancial sense. With 20+ attorneys, firms will often have enough marketing activities in place where they can start bringing the planning and execution in-house to save money and gain control.
If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.SM
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