Earlier we this month, we wrote an article focused on local law firms facing new competition from national power players entering their market. Among other things, we covered the importance of leveraging data to make smart, well informed decisions.
While there are various ways to collect competitive data, the two extremely valuable, deep-dive methodologies that our lawyers rely on are: competitive market analyses and media audits.
But what are market analyses and media audits, exactly? And how do you know if you need one? Truth be told, these two assets are useful to just about any legal practice. However, they are vital to:
- Longtime advertisers facing new competition or needing to shake up a tired campaign
- Young attorneys or new law firms looking to break into a market for the first time
- Any firm facing an outlier, coming in to amass market share
You may have noted that “competitive market analysis” and “media audit” are terms we’ve used in previous articles, and today we’re taking a closer look at exactly what they mean and why they are important to your firm.
What Is a Market Analysis?
A competitive market analysis provides a clear overview of the legal services advertising activity currently happening within your local market — both yours and your competitors’.
Among other things, the market analysis will show you:
- Who the top spenders are in your market
- How much they spend per month / per year
- What kinds of ads they are running
- Where they are running those ads
- What their creative looks like and what their messaging sounds like
- Market Share of Voice (SOV) for all legal advertisers
The very fact that this information is available comes as a huge surprise to many lawyers who naturally aren’t always plugged into the depths of the marketing resources.
But while it unfortunately takes more than a simple internet search to get your hands on this data, it’s certainly worth digging for (or hiring someone else to dig for), because it reveals many avenues of opportunity available to you as a legal advertiser.
If you are a current advertiser, the “competitive” part of a competitive marketing analysis will also show you:
- How much you are spending relative to your competitors
- How your creative, messaging and branding differ from your competitors
- Where your advertising overlaps with your competitors
- Market Share of Voice
So far, we’ve only talked about television, but note that you can also run a competitive market analysis on your digital properties (e.g. website, social media, PPC, etc.) to see how you rank and how competitors rank as well.
What Is a Media Audit?
A media audit is a deep dive into your current advertising efforts.
For example, a media audit might ask:
- Would your ads have performed better on different days of the week? Different times of day? Different channels?
- Are there television programs that could be a better fit for your overall strategy (i.e. produce better results)?
- Are you running spots of different lengths? When you compare cost vs. return, what’s getting you the best ROI?
- Is there a better combination of :15, :30, and :60 spots that would improve your overall ROI?
- Did the station deliver what you paid for? Did the programming deliver the ratings negotiated?
Television advertising dollars are finite and precious. A media audit can help you make sure you’re investing each dollar in the most effective way possible.
The information discovered in these audits has helped many law firms realize real savings in their annual budget.
Often, it’s a good idea to partner with an outside agency — different from the advertising agency you currently work with — to perform an objective, third-party media audit. This way, you can confirm that your agency is making wise choices in the way they invest your money. (And that they are efficient in their negotiations.)
There’s a whole science to media audits, and not everyone approaches them the same way. We’ve written more about our own methodology here.
Talk to Our Experts About a Market Analysis and Media Audit for Your Market
Information is one of your best weapons in the ever-increasingly competitive world of legal advertising. It’s a crowded market, so let insight be your battle plan.
Ultimately, if you’re doing it right, attorney marketing is about smart and effective investment, not necessarily big spending. We can help you and make better use of every penny.
Network Affiliates is a team of legal marketing professionals with more than 35 years of expertise in the field of attorney advertising. We’re able to perform a competitive market analysis and/or media audit for firms in virtually any market, and our eye is always on improving your bottom line.