I Could Buy A Car For That

eDiscovery, like most complex industries, offers a variety of marketing, advertising, and communications venues. As is the case in every business, some are more effective than others, and methods that work beautifully in other industries simply don’t work at all in ours.

Discount Codes For Brand Recognition. Hard to Discover. 

Take discount codes, for example. Excellent for e-commerce of all kinds, from clothing to housewares and even beauty products. Virtually every website you can think of offers a special Black Friday code that’s good for 15% off all their products. Even large items like lawn mowers can be had for 50% off with free shipping: just Google “lawn mower promo code” and you’ll find a bunch of different offers (some of which are actually for an electric razor, but we’ll attribute that to an error in the algorithm. Hey, nobody’s perfect, right?)

And then there’s e-Discovery. “Enter code BIGDATA19 and get 25% off concept analytics” said no eDiscovery marketer, ever. The industry just doesn’t work that way – relationships take a long time to build, and projects are far too complex – with price tags that are way too big. Instead, service providers offer a discount on volume, bundled pricing for managed services, “burst rates,” and a range of other options…and in a terrible irony, the sheer variety of pricing models becomes one of the biggest challenges consumers face when selecting a provider. It would be so much simpler if everyone would just send out a coupon code.

Advertising For The Price of a Car

But alas…in eDiscovery, brand recognition is generally earned through advertising. A dozen or so specialized publications targeting various practice areas and regions offer digital and print ads, ranging in price from a few hundred dollars per thousand impressions on a small banner ad, all the way up to twenty thousand for a full page print spread. However, marketers in all industries realized that to have any real impact, you need to advertise repeatedly, so get ready to watch your budget explode. 

Sponsorships at industry events are another great way to get your name out there, but you’ll quickly realize that cost is a major factor in this approach as well. Putting your brand on the lanyard will cost upwards of five thousand dollars at most trade shows, but that’s not even where most of your spend will go. After you’ve shipped your booth and a metric tonne of swag to the event, paid for hotel rooms, meals, and airfare for a contingent of Account Reps, hosted a couple of dinners, and bought cocktails and coffees for potential clients, you’ll be lucky if you’ve only spent twenty-five or thirty thousand. 

Have Car, Will Advertise…On a Budget

For the major players in eDiscovery, this kind of money isn’t out of reach. Nobody in their right mind drops eighty grand on a show without tearing up a little, but when it’s well-planned and calibrated against a steady pipeline, it’s doable. However, for smaller eDiscovery companies, a $20,000 print ad is just insane. Much less one that you need to repeat six times a year in order to gain any traction. Spending fifteen thousand for a ten-by-twelve booth space in some corner of an overcrowded ballroom is only barely more palatable.

These small to mid-sized companies are the ones who can best benefit from alternative kinds of advertising. Social media offers some exciting opportunities for very little coin, and has been steadily gaining in popularity among attorneys and law firms for the last eight to ten years. Live streaming at a trade show or conference is a great way to put your firm right in the middle of the action, without the expense of a booth and full contingent of Account Reps. And hosting webinars can work wonders if you want to establish knowledge leadership – but be prepared to invest time and expertise to develop the content, prepare your presenters, and potentially file for accreditation from the appropriate State Bar.

In short, brand recognition costs – but all is not lost. There are plenty of alternatives to the spendy print ad and the money-pit-that-is-conference-season. Plus, many of them give you better ways of measuring ROI than a magazine ever could. For small shops, the challenge is all about thinking outside the box and looking for opportunities to cause a splash without breaking the bank. But hey, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.


Need help with digital marketing? Let us know how the OnCall team can help. Our marketing programs start at $200/month for social, video, and article.  

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