Last week I blogged about an LMA law firm marketing technology seminar. I was impressed to learn the technology but surprised that BigLaw does not track marketing return on investment (ROI). 

In the Q&A, I asked if and how the panelists measure the ROI of their marketing. By and large, they agreed that you cannot do so.

This surprised me. Big firms spend 2% of revenue on marketing without knowing the ROI. Yet many firms avoid knowledge management spending, supposedly because they cannot assess ROI. Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds – or is it just sour grapes?

Tracking ROI, however, is not that hard. At least not for lead generating activities (in contrast to branding). In consulting to vendors, I have seen sophisticated analysis of the cost per qualified lead. Much law firm marketing – sending e-mail updates, hosting seminars or webinars, publishing articles, speaking at conferences, or writing a blog – is ultimately about lead generation.

Managing partners and CMOs should care about the cost per qualified lead. In my presentation Blogging: Why the Fuss?, I set up an analytic framework for comparing lead generating activities. My goal was to encourage firms to compare alternatives, even if measuring precise ROI is not possible. I suspect that if firms systematically assessed their lead generating activities and the results, they would change what they do.