A Closer Look at Advertising Response within a Guaranteed Cost Structure

The three co-founders of Amicus Media Group: George Young, Bill Tilley and Chad Nell.
The three co-founders of Amicus Media Group: George Young, Bill Tilley and Chad Nell.

By George Young, Partner, Amicus Media Group

In a world where consumers are presented with an overwhelming choice of television, radio, and online platforms, how can a law firm be assured that media time purchased to generate cases will perform? What if media time is purchased and no one calls or responds?  Performance media addresses ROI concerns, as this model to media depends on paying for the responsive results, instead of the media time itself.

Performance media addresses ROI concerns, as this model to media depends on paying for the responsive results, instead of the media time itself.

By taking a closer look at performance media, we can begin to understand why law firms use this model to reach potential clients at a guaranteed cost and improve profitability with less risk.

Performance Media as a Model of Predictability

Comparing the cost structure between different models of media buying, a more predictable model emerges through performance media campaigns. In the traditional model of dedicated media purchased for attorney advertising, the law firm provides a budget to the advertising agency for buying media time to drive calls or leads to the firm from people who have been harmed by a dangerous drug, medical device, or any other type of injury case.  The typical cost to media for generating a call will likely fluctuate from week to week, as media spot cost, call response, and other factors will ultimately affect the lead cost and unpredictably impact the campaign effectiveness.

While the performance model for attorney advertising similarly requires the law firm to provide a marketing budget to the media agency the key difference is that the cost to generate a call or lead from advertising is secured at a guaranteed rate for an actual response.  As the financial risk is shifted from the law firm to media, the onus to perform is placed squarely on the media running the campaign. The risk of budget burning for subpar results is mitigated for the law firm, due to the potential client response cost being known.  

As a clear example, consider the traditional media cash buying model of advertising where the law firm commits to specific times and networks and is required to pay for media time regardless whether the target audience responds. In contrast, if the same advertising spot runs as a national or regional performance campaign and no one responds, zero dollars are owed. Certainly, performance media offers a reliable model by guaranteeing a more predictable cost of advertising.

How and Why Networks offer Guaranteed Cost Structures

While only a few agencies can offer performance media, this type of advertising holds several key advantages for the networks as well as law firm advertisers.  Performance media provides stations the capability of adding revenue spots to the daily inventory of avails on demand, where they can fill unsold schedule openings, or replace last minute cancellations.  These media avails can be provided to law firms at a much lower cost compared to advertisers that buy specific media time slots.  Consequently, performance media allows networks to monetize inventory that historically would likely go unsold and therefore air non-revenue broadcasts such as public service announcements or promotional spots. Performance media offers a flexibility in programming that ensures every possible commercial break is monetized.

Where Performance Media Campaigns Work Best

Performance advertising is also called “Opportunity Media”, as television and radio networks may place the spot during any time of day where an open avail (opportunity) in their schedule exists.  As such, traditional prelogs (schedules indicating when spots are expected to run) and post logs (schedules showing when spots went live) are not provided by the networks.   Instead, each week the networks bill for the total number of calls or leads generated by the previous week’s advertising.   While performance marketing can deliver significant cost savings to law firms compared to specific advertising time purchased, there are instances where traditional media cash buy may propose a more reasonable option. An example where a traditional media cash buy might be strategic would include instances where a law firm requires complete control over spot placement or online display of the advertising.

Considerations when Launching a Performance Media Campaign:

Each year law firms across the country use performance media to save millions of dollars in acquiring mass tort, personal injury, and other types of cases.  

Performance Media Attributes include:

  • Campaign Launch Timeline:  Expect about 2 weeks to get the phones ringing and 4-6 weeks for full call volume to emerge.  
  • Refundable Deposit:  A refundable deposit is typically held on account equal to about three weeks of billing.
  • Billing:  Television networks bill each Monday for the previous week’s calls/leads. The marketing agency remits same day payment.   
  • Cancellation: 21-day notice is required to pull a campaign for any reason.

Another necessary consideration for the success of either a traditional cash buy or performance media advertising campaign is managing the intake of audience responses. Although most of the avails (and thus most of the calls and leads) will be generated during daytime hours, and correspond with operating hours of the law firm, the intake center activity extends beyond business hours.  Commonly, the law firm engages a 24/7/365 legal intake call center solution, as potential clients often see or hear an advertisement during the daytime hours, and later decide to respond by calling at any time of day or night.

For competitive law firms, performance media provides a cost-effective solution for finding new clients through a marketing channel that removes much of the risk of lead generation performance from the law firm and shifts the risk of results directly to media. Its unique combination of scalability, favorable cost per intake economics and predictability makes it a powerful strategy in the face of fierce competition for case acquisition.


Amicus Media Group is a full-service media agency comprised of some of the nation’s most respected professionals in media, communications, marketing, finance, and practice management to offer law firms the highest level of expertise in case acquisition and practice growth. 

Amicus Media Group offers direct response marketing services for lead generation campaigns. Agency services span from negotiating rates, broadcast planning and scheduling, media buying, campaign management, performance marketing, intake and creative production. Holding key relationships with top media executives throughout the nation, Amicus Media Group establishes a combined multi-decade prowess in legal marketing.  

To contact Amicus Media Group call (888) 700. 1088 or email George Young at GeorgeYoung@AmicusMediaGroup.com or Chad Nell at ChadNell@AmicusMediaGroup.com


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