Two questions that consistently come up in our business are 1) How much should we spend on our marketing? and 2) How do I know it's working (aka ROI)? The average spend on marketing for high performance professional services firms ranges from 1-4% of gross depending on objectives. The answer to the second question is going to be different depending on whether your business goals dictate a marketing campaign focused on raising brand awareness or a campaign targeting a specific audience. A further complicating factor is the lack of firm-side tools to connect marketing efforts and analytics with actual client acquisition. 

It's easier (although not simple) to measure the results of a defined campaign because you can set up specific conversion goals using analytics tools (Google analytics anyone?). However, the number of clicks through to your website, forms submitted, calls to a designated number, or minutes on a call may measure interest but unless they are connected to the file intake process you cannot determine which of these activities resulted in an opened file. So, figuring out how to resolve the disconnect at your firm is indeed a worthwhile goal in my view. 

And what about brand awareness? In retail areas of practice like personal injury, family and criminal law, the events leading to the need for legal counsel are (usually) not planned. The objective of this type of campaign is to keep your firm top of mind for those occasions when a potential client decides he or she needs a lawyer. Measuring the success of those efforts in a concrete way (i.e., not based on anecdotal evidence about where people found out about your firm) is tougher. Always ask your clients how they found you. But even this is not always useful when the answer is "I saw you on the internet."

So, totally agree there is work to be done and the first step is to make sure you have the right tools in place to measure what you've got going on at your firm. Good luck...and if you discover some useful ways to resolve the disconnect...please share them.