Behind the Bench Podcast for Lawyers Welcomes Marketing Veteran CMO Keith Dyer
Behind the Bench Podcast for Lawyers Welcomes Marketing Veteran CMO Keith Dyer
by Daria DiGiovanni | Aug 7, 2023
JUPITER, Florida—Josh Konigsberg, Partner & Co-Founder of Law Firm Marketing Pros, an award-winning digital marketing agency offering the most cutting-edge, efficient and cost-effective digital marketing tools available for law firms, recently welcomed marketing and advertising professional, Keith Dyer, Founder of LawFirmBuilder, to the Behind the Bench Podcast for Lawyers.
Konigsberg begins the interview by asking Dyer about his background. Dyer explains that he founded LawFirmBuilder about four years ago but started an ad agency around 21 years ago after working in corporate America. He shares that his “fun job became a cubicle job,” and he’s “not a cubicle guy.” Since his mom had spent most of her career in marketing and advertising and knew he wanted to launch a new business, she invited him to join her in founding an ad agency. In 2001, they launched Necessary Marketing, Inc., which was a traditional agency back when traditional agencies made a lot of sense. In this role, Dyer did a lot of media buying and media production for car dealerships, tobacco companies, PGA Golf Tournaments, and, eventually, law firms.
“I kind of backed into the whole law firm world because I had buddies that were attorneys, and they needed help, and they wanted somebody they could trust,” Dyer explains. “I got started doing that with them about 15 years ago. Over time, it’s grown to the point where I decided to niche down to it because we’d been successful.”
Konigsberg replies that Law Firm Marketing Pros decided to niche in the fall of 2019, noting that it took about 90 days to put the brand together, build a website, and launch. “We officially launched in January 2020. When did you make the decision to put the brand together?” he asks.
Dyer responds that he decided to niche first. “I was somewhat niched into it probably around the same time – 2018, 2019,” he says. “But LawFirmBuilder, the actual brand, was built in 2020 in conjunction with one of our mutual clients, Clarke Speaks. He’s the one that convinced me to go in this direction. It’s been a really good scenario.”
Konigsberg asks, “In terms of services that we offer, you’re in the marketing space, we’re in the marketing space. How do we differ?”
Dyer responds, “We differ in that I am almost an employee of the law firm in looking at their entire marketing strategy. Digital is obviously a vital, key part of that. I’m not specifically doing digital services, such as SEO (search engine optimization), pay-per-click. I’m more on the strategic side. We are skilled and able to buy traditional media, including billboards, radio, television, print…whatever is required. We can end up saving law firms money because we’re not commission-based. It’s fractional, so it’s more affordable. More money can go back into the law firm’s budget, so they save money that way. But we also do not take agency commissions on media buys. That allows a substantial amount of money to go back into the ad budget, allowing firms to buy more cases.”
An impressed Konigsberg notes, “That to me is huge, what you just described. You’re a fractional CMO that analyzes the entire strategic plan, both analog or what I’ll call traditional and digital. Bringing them together, and at the same time, you’re fractional, so it’s affordable for the law firm, and you also don’t take a commission, which is normally about 15 percent on media buys. The law firm is saving about 15 percent on all their media buying from using a traditional ad agency, so basically, you’re free.”
Dyer agrees. “Technically, yes. It’s a great business model in that sense. That was one of the key pieces to it, but also to make sure that they were getting marketing advice from an objective source. I’m not telling them the answer to getting more cases is spending more money. Because that’s not always the case. It’s hard for people to trust someone when they know they’re going to make more money by spending more money. But you also brought up another piece there, the power of combining digital media with traditional media and branding. Law firms make huge mistakes when they ignore branding and the power of traditional media. It does come with a price tag, but hopefully, the way I work, the way we work with you (Law Firm Marketing Pros) can help them save money and help them afford that faster than they might be able to in their growth stage.”
Next, Konigsberg asks, “If you were to give the audience an idea of the percent of, let’s just say, a law firm that’s generating about a million dollars a year in fee income. What should the marketing mix be in terms of percent of spend?”
Dyer explains, “Twenty percent of it should be branding for a firm of that size. Eighty percent of it should be digital because they’re going to get to cases faster and get more revenue because they’re uncovering the existing demand in the market. They’re putting themselves in line to have a chance at that business.”
“That’s the three percent of the buyers’ pyramid that’s out there right now, looking at services. Which leaves 97 percent of the market that is still learning about you,” Konigsberg says.
“Let’s talk about a transition of the marketing mix, to let’s say a three million dollar firm to a five million dollar firm to a 10 million dollar firm. How does it transition?” Konigsberg asks.
“It transitions to where, over time, more money is spent on branding, so that you become the obvious choice, and people know about you before they ever search on Google. Of course, they’re still going to look for you on Google, but with a different mindset. Without getting into direct percentages, because every firm is different and practice areas are different, over time, the larger you get, the more you spend on branding. It’s vital for firms that are start-ups and firms that are making in that lower million tier area to continue to invest in digital. Over time, they can build the brand, and they should be building it all the time. Those that are successful are willing to do things others are not. That means you may have to work a little harder and think a little more strategically about how you’re building your brand,” Dyer says.
He then offers a historical analogy using the Vietnam War. “The Vietnamese knew they could not compete with our overwhelming firepower. The United States had overwhelming firepower. So, their whole mantra was ‘fight ‘em by grabbing their shirts.’ If they were fighting that close to each other, the big weapons didn’t matter anymore. The analogy I’m making toward the business growth is you have to get out there and get right up with your customer. They’ve got to see you in ways they don’t see the big guys. That could be sponsoring events, it could be doing charity work, it could be guerilla marketing tactics, or all kinds of different things that are effective and can help you get started on building that brand. Getting the groundswell, if you will, before the air power comes in. Air power, meaning the TV and billboards, etc.”
“What you’re describing is a gradual progression of getting clients now through a variety of methods, so you can continue to grow your firm over time and eventually get from the $1 million to the $3 million to the $5 million, and so on,” Konigsberg replies.
Dyer agrees. “Most law firms, most businesses don’t have access to large amounts of capital. Sometimes they do, and that’s great. But if you don’t and you’re more interested in stair-stepping your growth without going broke, that’s where someone like myself and your company as well, can come in and help and make sure we’re building the business in a way that doesn’t waste a lot of money.”
Konigsberg then asks Dyer to describe his ideal customer.
“I do have a platform available for very small start-up law firms and law firms that are doing less than a million dollars. They can learn how to do this and get a good idea of what they’re up against. I will talk to any firm, any size. I like working with the large firms because they have the budget, and we can do a lot of damage in a good way with a budget like that. My favorite, though, are the firms that are seven figures that want to get to eight; that’s the sweet spot because they’ve established a brand. We can enhance that brand. They have the capital to do what they need. They also have the ability to borrow if they need to, and as you know, we have some connections there where we can help them in that process. The loan institutions that we work with know that we have a plan and are more likely to help fund these firms. So, to answer your question, I love working with the firms that want to go from seven to eight figures. That’s probably the best client for us.”
Watch the full interview below.