The following article was originally posted in August 2016. The article was removed on because I received a cease and desist letter from the company. I stand by my evaluation of their service 100%. I believe that my evaluation was through and fair. The name of the marketing services company; it’s products, and brands were redacted and the article was re-posted on November 30, 2016.
Update to previous article: REVIEW: XXX’S XXX: EVALUATION OF ATTORNEY GROUP PUBLIC MEDIA ADVERTISING SERVICE
I always like to be honest and transparent with sales people about how I analyze opportunities and what sort of conclusions I have drawn. I believe that this kind of dialog is helpful for two reasons. 1-) to make sure that I have not misunderstood any information that they have shared with me—because I don’t want to miss out on a good opportunity, and; 2-) because my feedback may help the company to develop a better product or service offering in the future—one that I might actually want to take advantage of.
After I reached my decision about the XXX offering, I sent the following email to the sales representative at XXX to let him know that I had decided against a possible marketing investment with the company.
“Attached is my ROI analysis of the XXX program based on the information that you and [director of product] provided to me.”
“The analysis coupled with my concerns about some of the contract language—specially the open ended term in which the ‘guarantee leads’ would be delivered—have caused me to reach the conclusion that the current RWL offering is not the best choice for our firm at this time.”
“Thank you so much for spending time helping me understand the XXX offering. If you believe that my analysis is flawed or if there are changes to the offering in the future then I am open to further discussion.”
The sales person contacted me a few days later to say that he and the director of product would like to discuss my analysis. This morning we had a 30 minute phone call where they offered new information.
The director of product said that she didn’t know where I got the information about the average number of leads per month being between 11 and 21. She said that the information was completely inaccurate. She said that she believed that I would get anywhere from 26 to 48 leads per month based on a $10,000 per month investment.
This is a DRAMATIC change. I know that we discussed the 11 to 21 range (coming to an average of 15) many, many times. I don’t know why they would suddenly change the numbers so dramatically.
She also did not agree with my assessment that only 39% of the leads would be within our practice areas. She spent a great deal of time explaining that she thought that the slip and fall/premises liability cases were extremely valuable/profitable and she did not understand why our firm rarely accepts such cases.
Yes, from time-to-time there may be a large case against a business. But the vast majority of premises liability case inquiries that we receive are he-said/she-said ‘fell at a friend’s party’ or sidewalk cases. So I am not inclined to add those ‘leads’ back into my analysis.
She thought that making a $50,000 settlement value and 25% attorney fee the basis for the value portion of the analysis was unfair. She said that she knows that XXX customers get a lot of “big cases”.
However, XXX does not collect value or fee information from many of their customers. And the ones that do share such data do not do so on all cases. She admitted that they have data on only a small percentage of the cases that XXX-participating firms accept—so they don’t really have a valid statistical sample from which to draw any meaningful conclusions. Her feeling that $50,000 and 25% are relatively low is based solely on a ‘gut feeling’.
She offered to raise the number of leads in the ‘guarantee addendum’ from 600 to 650. I told her that increasing that number is not really meaningful given that the contract language makes the time frame that those leads would be delivered completely open-ended—they could take years to fulfill the obligation.
I asked if she would be willing to alter the language of the contract to require that the guaranteed number of leads would be delivered within 12 months of the contract term end date. She said that she would be happy to revise the contract in that way. As of this moment I have not seen a revised contract.
So, editing the data in my analysis tables slightly to reflect the new number of estimated leads per month (I used the low end of the range); the new number of guaranteed leads; and a higher average settlement value and attorney fee resulted in the following:
See REVIEW: XXX’S XXX: EVALUATION OF ATTORNEY GROUP PUBLIC MEDIA ADVERTISING SERVICE for a complete explanation of my analysis assumptions and methods.
However, I am still much more comfortable using much more conservative case value and attorney fee numbers for an analysis of this kind. As I stated in the previous blog post on this subject, I think that it is always better to be conservative.
So using the new minimum number of projected leads per month but returning to the $50,000 and 25% numbers produced the following result:
I can’t say that the new information is going to change my decision. I am a little suspect of the fact that they have so dramatically changed their lead projections. The previous numbers were discussed numerous times on several calls. And I repeatedly asked for verification of the numbers. They had ample time to make a correction, if one was necessary, long before today.
I don’t know if they just changed the projections to make the opportunity look better OR if they perhaps decided that they would put more effort into attracting cases in my state should I choose to invest. Or if they just bungled things up from the beginning and gave me the wrong information. There is no way for me to know.
A few minutes ago I sent a follow-up email to everyone on the XXX team that was on the call. I recapped the information that they shared with me and gave them copies of the tables shown above. Here are some excerpts from the email.
“I just wanted to put into bullet form what I understood from this morning’s call. Please let me know if I misunderstood anything…..please let me know if you believe that this data is not accurate.”
“I am not in a position to discuss this information any further or make a decision or a commitment at this time as I will be out of the office on vacation starting this afternoon and will not return to the office for 10 days. When I get back to the office I will be happy to review a revised proposal from you and reconsider the opportunity. I can make a final decision then.”
I am going to finish this blog post now and forget about all of this for the next 10 days—because it is time to begin my vacation. If I have any additional discussions, receive any new information, or come to any new conclusions I will provide an update in the future.
For now I am off to enjoy a week of rest and relaxation.
This blog post is an update to a previous post: REVIEW: XXX’S XXX: EVALUATION OF ATTORNEY GROUP PUBLIC MEDIA ADVERTISING SERVICE