How Are You Buying 'Runs' for Your Firm?

Author:Weber, Jill S.
Position:From The President

You won the exact same number of games that the Yankees won, but the Yankees spent $1.4 million per win, and you paid $260,000 ... anybody who's not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they're dinosaurs."--John Henry, Boston Red Sox owner, to Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics' general manager, in the movie Moneyball.

While baseball and legal marketing may not have much in common, many legal marketers can empathize with Beane, who had to build a winning baseball team on a very limited budget. As depicted in the movie Moneyball, Beane hired a mathematics whiz Peter Brand, who used statistics to "find the value of players that nobody else can see." As Brand observed, "People who run ball clubs, they think in terms of buying players. Your goal shouldn't be to buy players; your goal should be to buy wins. And in order to buy wins, you need to buy runs. It's about getting things down to one number." Beane leveraged statistics and analysis to build a successful team and fundamentally changed how baseball teams approach recruiting.

The lessons learned from Moneyball are relevant to the legal marketing budget process. Each year, I analyze prior year activities and ask myself which expenses helped me buy the numerous business development "runs" our firm needs to gain "wins" for our clients. I focus my annual budget on the strategic investments most likely to deliver meaningful results for my firm--business...

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