Measuring the Return on Investment in Marketing

Determining return on investment of marketing initiatives is a constant challenge.  Not every marketing initiative will directly result in a new client.  Therefore, in addition to attracting new clients, marketing success can be measured by:

Client Satisfaction and Retention

  • Duration of client relationships (years)
  • History of increased revenue with client
  • Client has multiple relationships within the firm
  • Percentage of clients who would refer the firm to others
  • Strong base of regular and ongoing client referrals
  • Positive responses to a client survey or focus group

Client Service

  • Very few client complaints
  • Clients pay bills on time
  • Ability to respond daily to emails and phone calls
  • Clients actively refer others to the firm
  • Sought after employer
  • Client service guidelines that are followed by everyone in the firm


  • Clients utilizing many services of the firm
  • Compensation system rewards growing existing relationships
  • Professionals actively introduce clients to others in the firm
  • Firm hosts events where clients can meet other people at the firm
  • Clients are aware of the breadth and depth of services offered
  • Professionals are aware of the breadth and depth of services a given client needs

Referral Source Development

  • Strong base of people who regularly refer business to you
  • Having concise materials for referral sources (make it easy to be referred)
  • Loyalty of referral sources – you are on their “short list”
  • Ability to summarize what your best referral sources have in common (industry, profession)
  • Scheduling at least one meeting per month (coffee or lunch) with various referral sources
  • Your willingness to seek out and make referrals for them


  • Increased referrals of A-level clients
  • Having two to three networking meetings each week
  • Loyal friends and contacts who will always return your call
  • You actually start to enjoy staying connected to great people!
  • You always make time to meet with someone who was referred to you
  • You look for ways to open doors for others on a regular basis
  • You realize effective networking is more about looking for ways to help others (versus what’s in it for you)
  • You stay in touch with people “just because” versus only calling them when you need something from them

Targeted Business Development

  • Having a top ten list of prospective clients
  • Having a plan with each prospective client on what your next steps are to land their business
  • Number of proposals submitted to A-level clients each year
  • Number of new clients you attract
  • Revenue of new clients you have attracted
  • Strong sales pipeline with dates, action items and next steps

Proposal Development

  • The existence of a proposal archive – so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time
  • Current examples of representative experience for everyone in the firm
  • Number of proposals submitted to A-level clients each year
  • Having a client-focused approach to proposals that starts with a summary of the client’s situation and our approach to meeting the client’s needs (not with firm history and bios)
  • Number of new clients attracted from a competitive bidding/RFP process

Market Research

  • By taking the time to research a new client or prospect before the first meeting
  • Keeping an electronic file or “dossier” on top prospective clients
  • Tracking the activities of key clients or prospective clients using Google
  • Alerts or other web-based research tools

Trade and Professional Association Involvement

  • Number of years the firm has been involved with the association
  • Regular attendance at meetings
  • Member of the firm serves in a high profile position within the organization
  • Regular speaking engagements for the group
  • Regularly contribute articles to the association’s publication
  • New clients who hired the firm because of its perceived industry expertise
  • Strong network of contacts within the industry

Advertising (print and web-based)

  • New clients who cite specific advertising as one of the reasons they hired the firm
  • A measurable call to action in the ad (like registering for a seminar, or in other way making contact with the firm because of its advertising)
  • Higher name recognition in the marketplace based on independent market research
  • Increased search engine rankings (due to web-based advertising)
  • Inquiry calls into the firm

Branding and Identity

  • Compliments from clients, contacts and referral sources on the firm’s branding and identity
  • Professional looking materials including logo, letterhead, brochures, and website
  • All materials are consistent and have the same strong visual identity when viewed together; everything looks related
  • Your firm “becomes known” for some element of its branding or identity
  • Higher level of overall professionalism conveyed through the firm’s brand and resulting identity materials

Public Relations

  • Cost of commensurate advertising space – then multiplying that number by three or four
  • Number of media impressions – how many people had the opportunity to see the article, hear the interview
  • Number of bylined articles published per year
  • Number of times firm professionals are quoted in the press
  • Number of reporters each professional knows and has a relationship with
  • How often the firm gets substantive content in publications read by A-level clients
  • Number of news releases the firm proactively distributes each month

Trade Shows

  • Number of new client or referral source leads generated as a direct result of the firm’s participation in a trade show
  • Number of visitors who leave their card or ask for additional information
  • Number of firm professionals who participate in the event
  • Also being a speaker at the event (not just a trade show vendor)
  • Level of proactive follow up after the event

Community Involvement

  • Number of professionals in the firm serving on non-profit boards
  • Number of lawyers in a law firm delivering pro bono work (hours per year)
  • Firm creates an environment and culture where volunteerism is encouraged and rewarded
  • The firm’s good name in the community as a “community leader”
  • Professionals are volunteering for organizations they are committed to and passionate about

Social Networking

  • Number of social networking sites you are actively involved in
  • Number of groups you engage with and participate in online
  • Willingness to share expertise and NOT use social networking to directly sell
  • Amount of time spent each day or week on the one or two social networking activities deemed most worthy of such time
  • Number of new relationships developed because of presence on social networking sites
  • New clients generated, or new business partnerships developed because of social networking involvement
  • A solid profile and status updated at least weekly

Strategic Communications

  • Communications developed for specific audiences – not broad-based “firm newsletters”
  • Ability to target various segments of client base with targeted messages relevant to them
  • Responses from clients to various communications
  • Level of client retention and flow of referrals into the firm
  • Number of direct responses from clients and referral sources because of a communication

Marketing Database

  • Professionals are committed to keeping the data current
  • Database allows segmenting of client type for targeted communications
  • It is easy to make changes and updates to client information
  • The marketing database interacts with other firm data (like client revenue numbers)
  • Billable time is saved by not needing to send individual lists to professionals for updating
  • As a result of the database, it is easy to communicate with various groups of clients, contacts and referral sources
  • The database contains email addresses for each person


  • The content is regularly updated
  • The site provides a steady stream of client inquiries
  • Clients comment on the relevance of the information contained on the website
  • The website reflects the overall branding and identity of the firm
  • The site is search engine optimized resulting in higher rankings on
  • Google and other search engines
  • By using Web-trends, Google Analytics or other programs to track and measure website visitors, activity on the site, direct client inquiries from the website, seminar registrations using the web-based registration option

Client Events

  • Number of clients who attend the event
  • Results of the event evaluation
  • Number of clients who would attend the event next year (from
  • evaluation)
  • Number of clients who have attended the event year after year
  • Number of professionals from the firm who attend and actively build relationships
  • Number of new clients or new matters generated from the event
  • Commitment by all to proactively follow up with attendees
  • Adding attendees to the firm’s marketing database
  • Relationships built from the proactive follow up done by the professionals at the event
  • Clients asking “When is the next one?” and “Can I bring a friend?”


PSM Marketing