By: 28 June 2023
Marketing and the measure of success

Andy Cullwick, head of marketing at First4Lawyers 

Law firms must speculate to accumulate, but they must also evaluate their marketing successes if they want to emulate them—and data is a key

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” 

This quote from marketing pioneer John Wanamaker in the late 19th century is remarkably still true of many businesses today. 

Despite the wealth of data and analytical tools at our fingertips, marketing decisions are often made—and campaigns repeated—without first measuring the success of previous activity.   

The legal sector is a good example. Research for our 2020 whitepaper, ‘Choosing a Lawyer: What Drives Consumers’, found that half of law firms don’t look at the previous quarter or even year when allocating marketing spend, basing it on gut instinct or anecdotes instead. 

As a marketing collective, First4Lawyers is accountable to our panel firms that trust us to make the right decisions for them so it’s a no-brainer for us and should be for others, too.   

Peak performance

Just as elite athletes analyse their previous performances in order to try and do better in future, any good marketer should do the same.  

People often think that you have to be an IT whizz or invest in expensive software to analyse data, but starting small and simple is better than not starting at all. 

Set objectives for what you hope to achieve from each campaign and then measure your performance against them. For example, following the launch of each of our whitepapers, we will look at the number of people who downloaded it, who they were, how long they read it for and compare the data to previous years. On social media, we track the reach and impressions of each post to work out what content generates the most engagement. 

You can spend hours gathering and analysing data and these days there are a multitude of online tools to help, many of which are free. The main and most established is Google Analytics, which is free and can track website performance and measure a wide variety of metrics, such as how many people are visiting your website, what they’re looking at and how long they’re staying for. However, from 1 July this will stop processing data and effectively become redundant. As such, if you’ve not yet signed up to its replacement GA4, then you really need to take urgent action now.  

Hotjar also allows you to experience your website through a visitor’s eyes so you can identify any drop-off points and dead ends. This is a subscription-based tool but if you are looking for an entry-level free option, then try Microsoft Clarity. 

A powerful commodity

Data tells you what your customers look like, what messages they respond to and how they like to be communicated with. It is, according to Netflix film ‘The Great Hack’ about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, now considered a more valuable commodity than oil. 

Equally important to analysing data is doing so regularly. At First4Lawyers, we constantly review it to inform our marketing activity and any changes we could make, which could be something as simple as trying different messages or communicating at a different time of day. We have dedicated data analysts who do this in real time so that when customers are searching for legal services, we’re in the best position to get in front of them first. 

While marketing is valued much more than it once was, budgetary decisions are often still made by those outside the discipline and the evidence data provides can also influence that. Management are always likely to be swayed less by a gut instinct and more by hard evidence. 

As another saying goes, you must speculate to accumulate, but you must also evaluate your success if you want to emulate it and data is a key part of that. 

Image source: Canva and First4Lawyers