Today is our inaugural YouTube first interview ever of our one of our favorite vendors that we like to use with our clients. And that is CEO, Andrew Nasrintay with Mean Pug. So welcome with us today.
Hi there. Thanks.
So again, because we’re just going to be informal about this. I would like to take the next 30 minutes or so, and just talk about Mean Pug and a little bit about how you guys got started. What was the impetus for that, and then what you guys do and how that’s different from other firms out there? You know, because we work across the country, we deal with a lot of law firms that are looking for digital marketing or help in converting their clients. And so I know that you guys specialize in that. Let me let me ask you, so tell me first, what is Mean Pug?
Sure. So Mean Pug is a digital agency that does everything from advertising all the way through the technical nitty gritty. We specialize in illegal vertical specific specifically on the plaintiff’s side. What makes us different though, is we don’t do one thing and tout that as the magic solution that’s going to help your firm. Firms usually have a choke point that happens along the way, and we build out data visualizations that help you basically see the health of your firm and where every firm is different. And they’re going to have different problems that they need solved, but they have the same bones, so to speak and where,
Yeah, that’s such a great point. Andrew is I know that there’s a lot of consulting firms out there that have this sort of plugin play, you know, Oh, here’s the general problem. Here’s the general answer. And what we find in RJ age is that while you’re right, everybody has buckets that are the same, you know, every law firm is different. And so if you are trying to put in an answer and that isn’t specific to them, it’s not going to get as good results. So to hear you say that, you know, that every law firm is different. That’s our really custom solution for digital marketing agency. That’s not average. That’s really amazing.
Yep. And the difference is we’re not just doing digital or just building websites. We do traditional media, we were on TV, radio billboards, any sort of at-home placements. And we believe that there is a correct marketing mix depending on the size of the firm. So if you’re a small firm, digital will probably make sense for you because you probably don’t have the budgets to allocate that are big enough for something like TV, right? So you hit a certain point. There’s this belief in the market that digital is more, more efficient and it’s going to be better. The truth is that there’s reverse economies of scale there. The more you spend in digital, the worse your economics will become there in a lot of situations. And
Tell me more about that. I don’t, I want to understand that more.
Sure. So let’s say you have a half, a million dollar budget as a law firm for the whole year. You might be able to allocate all of that to digital, but let’s say your budget was $50 million, your first million dollars, I’m just using hypothetical numbers. Your first million dollars, you might have an acquisition cost of, let’s say $1,500 for motor vehicle cases. If we’re going to do a personal injury example, but the next million dollars, you might see your acquisition costs go from $1,500 per signed client to 2000, from 2000 to 2,500. And that’s when you know that you have oversaturated a channel and you actually have to adjust your marketing mix. And that’s something that you need to monitor and do in real time. And both every firm is different as well as every market. So the New York city DMA is going to act a lot different than LA.
You know, I think I don’t think that I know of any other firm that leaves with data capture. I mean, you talked about analyzing the data and I’ve actually been really surprised at how many firms don’t actually know if their marketing is effective. And so we’ll say, how are you tracking that? And the answer is well, we’ve just always done it this way. I say, well, how do you know if that’s effective? And so one of the things that we do at RGH consulting is kind of input those initial KPIs is what we call them, their key performance indicators to say, this works, this doesn’t, it sounds like you guys kind of dial in on their marketing efforts specifically. What can you tell them by looking at the data?
Yep. So on our side there’s a lot of KPIs that we would track. Some of the bigger ones are at one. We’re not going to partner with a firm that kind of shoots from the hip and just says, I want to spend a million dollars here. And my is how how we’re doing right. We like to be very straight forward, set the goals, set realistic, realistic expectations. And the way we track that typically is through call tracking on every campaign. So we do typically campaign level call tracking. Sometimes that gets a little bit more difficult as you do more branded media on television or radio or billboards, but there’s a lot of pretty heavy math you could do there for for the media mix modeling to do that.
We have specific numbers that go with different marketing efforts.
Andrew Nasrintay (06:45)
Yeah, we do. So the big thing we look at on the very, very high level is the cost for paying for the media, right? So typically for injury or plaintiffs law, you need to, there’s certain thresholds where if you buy within that range, you are in the right range. If you are buying for more expensive than that range, there’s a good chance that no matter how efficient your firm is, it will be unsuccessful. And that is the very highest level that we look at is the price of the media. And that is different for every case type. So if you’re a firm that specializes in motor vehicle accidents, that’s totally different than mass torts or workers’ comp or employment or any other litigation type. And from there, you then move into the cost to produce an intake or a lead. And from there, that’s all done through call tracking and having an efficient intake process, setting up a CRM. It doesn’t really matter what vendor you go with, whether you go with a specialized one for legal, there’s a ton of providers out there. You’re building out a custom instance either with Salesforce, which is kind of the market leader for CRMs or really any other provider, they’re all the same. It just matters for your use case.
And one of the things that you mentioned was an, an efficient intake process. And I will tell you that in a lot of our firms, they don’t really put a lot of attention on intake, especially if they’re non personal injury, right? Personal injury, there usually is at least something dedicated there, but sometimes it’s just whoever happens to be available, they might have one intake person and a case manager who will answer the phone. And so we like to see a lot more attention put into that because they can spend a ton of money in marketing. But if somebody’s not there to answer the phones and knows how to move potential client through that process to a signed, you know, agreement, then your money is just in the wind. And I know you guys also do calls, you will handle the calls for people. Is that correct? That’s correct. So tell me about that.
Yeah, we can, we do both inbound and outbound calls. The reason we got into that field is because one, we would sign up clients and we would do we buy the media at the right price? The intake cost was good, but we’d realize either a, the abandonment rate was just too high or B they would fail at one of the two components, right? So they might be able to answer all the inbound calls, but they wouldn’t be efficient on outbound calls on form pills or the contact information produced for chatbots or other other means of collecting more paper intakes. So we usually found that clients that would fail at those aspects, it wasn’t within their core competency to fix that area. So it was just a lot easier for us to, to build that out internally and kind of go from beginning to end and let legal clients focus on legal, right. And actually let it go and building up the cases.
So do you have a percentage that you can say, you know, typically if we answer your calls and you get 10 calls, we should expect to be able to convert.
So that depends on the case type, right? That is a hundred percent dependent on case type and advertising channel. So I’ll give a real world example here calls that are inbound calls from, from television or radio for personal injury, typically have a much, much higher conversion rate where it’ll be anywhere from 10 to 25%, if it is a branded, if it is a branded call, it’ll be closer to 25%, 20%. If it is a non-branded call, there’ll be roughly 10%. And the largest reasons for them not converting would be, they don’t fit the criteria right. There either there was no injury or the statute of limitations was blown, but in general, it’s, it’s usually there, there was no injury and they were called.
Yeah. So interestingly, you know, again, we know that lawyers go to law school to become lawyers or actually to learn how to practice law. And then they have to learn how to become lawyers. When you throw a turnaround like branded versus non branded, I can see everybody going on tilt. What’s the difference?
Yep. So a branded consumer journey is how we break them down where non-branded would be, you are advertising for a particular case type. So if it was on paid search so that the paid Google listings on top of search engine results, if someone is searching for a personal injury lawyer, that would be non-branded, they know what they want, they’re searching for a product or a service or something that is branded. That is usually a multitouch consumer journey where you’re running radio ads and they hear you and they’re driving home. They see your billboard along the way. And then they get home, they sit down, they turn on the TV and they’re watching their favorite show. Then they see your TV ad. And instead of calling the number on the TV ad, because they somehow forgot your little jingle online and they write your law firm and they add that you are running other.
So the difference is I need a personal injury attorney. So I’m going to click this as opposed to, Oh, I want the X firm because I’ve seen them around and they look interesting to me. Yup. Okay. And you’re saying, when they, when you, when it’s I need the expert, that’s the better return.
Yep. You’ll have the highest conversion rate, but do deciding to go into branding. Typically doesn’t make sense until you are, you have a large enough budget, right? So in alert by the media, within that range that I was talking about at the beginning of the call, your budget for the market, that you are running, those ads in needs to be pretty substantial because while something like a million dollar budget might sound big, if you are breaking into New York or LA, that’s not enough radio and billboards. And that, that might scare a lot of small firms, but you have to build up to that. And there’s a lot of ways to build up to it. You can build up your referral base, you can start with digital ads, you can have an efficient pipeline and, you know, there’s advantages to small firms or in a lot of instances, more efficient because the people answering the phone have better training because there’s less. And they understand everything the larger you get and you have a hundred person call center. And you’re taking multiple types of litigations training, a employee that’s making 10 to $15 an hour. All the criteria for all those case types is, is an impossible feat. So usually efficiency as firms scale.
So one of the things I know about you know, the, just the different kinds of companies that are out there is it when we talk to our firms and it’s either they need to hire a team for intake, or they’re going to outsource that there’s a number of different companies out there that they can use. What sets you guys apart from say the typical legal intake?
So the most important part about intake is training on the agent side, right? In general, I am vendor agnostic, right? I think any vendor for call center can do a good job. You have to just make sure that the infrastructure that they’re given and the training they’re given is good, right? Because you, when a firm comes to them, they say IDPI, and they expect a vendor to understand that. But again, your firm is going to have different criteria than another firm. You might only take catastrophic cases. And another firm is okay with soft injury or soft tissue. And if they think that this is okay and they are trying to sign all those cases up, and then you, your firm gets bogged down with all these cases you don’t want. And later on, you have to disengage the client, that call center, did you a disservice, right?
The, what we could do, which makes us a little bit more efficient in which is why I think all the things you’re doing are integrated is that as the calls come in, we also allow the call center agent to know where the call came from. Because again, all sources have different conversion rates, as well as different different scripts. They should be given, right. Somebody who want to brand it ad has already probably selected you as the firm and the conversation there is different than someone who was searching for a non branded term which is also completely different than someone who’s still in the shopping phase. So
That’s love that, you know, the difference between those three, because when you do have somebody who has specifically clicked on your brand there, you see there’s an assumption there that they’ve chosen you. Yep.
Phase is typically the phase that no firm has ever invested in training, or know how to deal with those calls, where it’s the person who’s calling because they got in a car accident, but they don’t even know that they need to leave a lawyer. Right. They didn’t call lawyer they’re calling because they don’t understand. And they need to understand everything that goes on. And that script is totally different than somewhere like a law firm and most large vendors, when they pick up the phone, they are saying, you know, law firm, what case type can I help you with?
Beth Slate (17:31)
Oh, yeah. Right.
Respond with that. And a lot of times they hang up, they get nervous and they hang up and a lot of the vendors will say that was a poor quality call. I would say that it might have a lower chance of converting, but it didn’t have a shot of converting with that scripting and that process. So it’s a flawed, flawed process to start with.
Right. Right. You know, it’s so funny. I went to a legal conference about a year and a half ago. And somebody was there talking about intake, not just from a PI or a mass toward or anything like that, but just in general for law firms. And he would ask people in the audience, okay, mr. Law firm, ms. Law firm owner, how do you think your team does in intake? They’re like, Oh, we’re great. We got it. And so he had secretly prerecorded calls with their team and they weren’t good. And it’s like, you know, he says, listen, don’t go back and fire them, but just know that there’s a lot of room for improvement. So unless you have done massive training and do continue check-ins and are constantly working on improving, even if you’re not a PI firm or not workman’s comp, or, you know, a RESA or disability or social security, any of those very consumer driven type of law firms working with you guys kind of shortcuts a lot of that training time. So talk to me a little bit about cost deference you know, differences. So if a law firm has X amount of calls and they need to train somebody, and so they need one person, two persons, five persons, 50 people, how do you guys compare financially?
Well, it depends on where the law firm is located because the labor costs will be different market market, but in general, it’s typically cheaper to outsource that part of your business. We will probably be cheaper than had you hired in house, and there’s also a lot less management on your side. So every minute that they are working up cases is money that they’re losing. On that front too, typically any vendor will be cheaper on a per hour or per minute, or if you want to look at it as a salary cost then had you hired in house because that is what they specialize in and gotten everything pretty well managed there. But I would say in general, a lot of firms like to think of the call center as an expense, but it is actually a revenue generating.
Yes, it is,
Is probably the most common issue we’ve seen in most plaintiff’s firms where they, even if your ads perfect and you have a poor functioning call center it can bring a firm to their knees where they’re gonna end up cutting ads because they’re not seeing performance. And they’re, they’re just going to think that their firm has gotten as big as it can and it’s not worth the stress to, to continue.
I totally agree. And I think one of the biggest problems that small to medium sized law firms encounter is exactly that thing is there’s not enough manpower to answer the phone, not enough training to convert those leads. And they think that’s a marketing problem. And yet all calls sometimes to talk to a law firm. And when I try to get into the front desk, the phone can ring 10 times and either doesn’t get picked up or go straight to a voicemail. And I already have a relationship with this firm if I don’t have, if I’m just a consumer and I dial in and I go straight to a phone tree, or it rings 10 times, I’m done, I’m moving on to the next person. And I don’t think that many law firm managers understand how, how I don’t want to say physical, but really how quick things need to happen for that lead to get picked up before they go onto the next person. I’m sure you have some information on that. Right?
I have a ton of data on that. Actually data, big analysis on about, I want to say it was like four to 6 million calls. And I looked at the average durations and the result of the call and it fit a pretty, pretty standard logistics curve for a dropoff every second. For the first 30 seconds of the call, you are actually going to have 1% drop off. So if you have a tiny bit of inefficiency, let’s say it takes you 10 seconds to pick up the phone and you get a ton of calls every year. If you were 10 seconds faster, you would have 10% more business.
That’s crazy that that’s crazy.
I think almost 20 to 30 seconds to pick up the phone. So their business, again, when you look at the call center as a source of cost, if you had even overstaffed and they’re not picking up the phone all day and you might feel I’m wasting money, cause I have too many employees, that’s not the case because every second that they are not picking up the phone, you have lost 1%,
1%. No, I get it. I mean, it’s the same thing. As in, in law firms, bringing consultations in, which is kind of a different animal and it’s the same thing for every day. You don’t get that appointment, you lose 10% of them actually up. So I think a lot of that is the fact that we are so, so present and now with advertising and our phones and our businesses and everything is there’s no waiting anymore. And so people lose interest. And so how do you keep them at your firm? And that’s, that’s a really big deal. And so the difference between you guys doing this, picking that phone up in record time and knowing exactly how to convert that lead you’re right. They’re missing out on training time that they don’t have to do. They’re getting a better lead capture. They’re probably getting better qualified leads to just because you understand exactly what to ask. And you know, if it’s effective because you are tracking those KPIs, those sound like, like a basic things, but a lot of firms just aren’t even doing that. And so I think that’s an incredible service.
Not only that, some of the things that we’re doing, it takes a large amount of data to prove that let’s say switching the order of questions and how you ask them or changing the, the scripting on how you ask the question will, will change the outcome. It takes a lot of data to see that and most small to midsize firms, it would take a decade to aggregate that level of data to confirm your suspicion. So kind of the big sell that, you know, we’re, we’re not wasting money, client’s money learning. We already know the answer to most of these things.
So okay. So I’m thinking about like, what is your process? So in determining what’s effective in their market, so we’ll just go back to different kinds of advertising. Cause we’ve touched on that a little bit. Well, you’ve talked about billboards and radio and television print and digital. We do have clients right now that do billboards and they do see some good results from that. But again, they’re a lot more expensive than some of the digital marketing that they can do. How do they know what’s going to be more effective? Is that regionals statistic, you know, in general or
So it’s always a moving number, right? So there’s no, what I say today, won’t be true six months because
Into the new millennium.
So I’m going to hesitate and saying, this works for that. And it’s also very, very different for each case type, right? So another quick example, I think television was one of the best things you could do PI and I wouldn’t put all my money in television though. There’s a correct marketing mix in order to get the lowest CPA for your case type. There are other case types where a single channel is extraordinarily effective. One example, there is most math, mass torts. You’re going to be hard pressed to find more effective channels than, than Facebook and programmatic ads, just because of the data sources there that allow you to really narrow in and define your audience that you’re targeting. So it all comes down to what that firm is doing. And I will say though that we have certain ranges for every type of media where we say, if, if you can buy under this range, you’re more than likely. There’s a very, very high probability that you are going to see a good outcome. And if you are above this range, there is a very, very low probability that what you are doing is a value add.
I love that because I don’t think any of our list, most law firms know what that number is, but you’re saying you do.
Yep. And the only reason we do it is because we’ve looked at, I want to say like $300 to $350 million worth of data and spent in most major markets in the U S
That’s awesome. So give me an example of like a success story for you guys with one of your clients.
Sure. So the biggest success story and all the pie is probably Morgan and Morgan. When you see a mega firm in the last three, four years ago, from 160 attorneys to 600 plus now five, 600, they’ve had enormous growth. They’re doing really, really well. And they have kind of gotten the formula down. So I got my like intro to legal through, through Morgan and Morgan. Prior to that, I was an eCommerce guy. So I was helping a ton of brands basically run ads and compete against Amazon, which is a hard thing to do when, when they’re willing to lose money on a lot of products. And then I got my foot in the door with legal and ended up having a small account with Morgan and Morgan, and actually spent three years there as their head of, of acquisition, which gave me really, really good insight because I got to see it from the belly of the beast from, from the largest player in the space.
And it didn’t allow me to see just like one case type, let’s say car accident. They pretty much do everything across the board. Now on the plaintiff’s side with a few exceptions and they are probably the biggest success story. When you look at it in terms of how many zeros there are pegged to the end, right? They’re doing extraordinary things, but at the same time, it all comes down to how you define success. Because we work with solo firms who that is, what they want. They, they, they don’t really want to be a mega player with a hundred attorneys on staff. It’s a lifestyle brand firm for them and a few tweaks here or there changes what ends up going into their pocket at the end of every year.
I love that about you guys, because the truth is, is that I want law firm owners to feel like they can define their own success. And if you guys are willing to work with that definition, what you’re doing is you’re just providing efficiencies. You’re providing a better return on the dollars. They invest into marketing so that they can reach that success at whatever they set that to be. So that’s
Their measure of success is to do no marketing. They want to be a referral firm and they want to focus on litigation. And if that’s what they want to do, more power to them. And we’re okay with that. Right. And do internally on the development side and the flow side that we could help with. And we’re not going to push a product down their throat that they don’t want. Right. So, okay.
So it’s, the process would be, yeah. So the process would be, I’m a law firm owner and I’m going to call you, what’s your what’s your phone number?
So all just like all of our advertising, all of our phone numbers are tracked. So I will just grab the one that’s on our website right now and give that to you because my short term memory is so bad at this point. It’s good to our contact. The phone number that they would call is (646) 461-4213. Okay.
Right. And let’s give them your website. That’s
Yep. The website is MeanPug.com and our mascot is a little pug and we’ve got a dog friendly office.
So my favorite pug in the world, her name is Wasabi. I just think that’s the cutest thing ever. Right. How did you come up with Mean Pug?
So the partner I started the firm with has a little pug named Tiki, and she’s got like this mean look on her face, but she’s the sweetest little thing and that’s great. We, we just went with it, even though it’s kind of funny to use a silly brand for a very professional services in yeah.
Oh no. I think it makes you out actually. It’s awesome. So, so they can go to www.MeanPug.com and get more information. If our listeners can go to that website, they can talk to you also at (646) 461-4213. And you know, let these guys know that you heard about him from RJH Consulting. We expect to have you guys back and talk a little bit more in depth about, you know, things like flow structures or some of those missed calls and what let’s go deeper into what what’s the cost of those to the firm. And, you know, I think one of the things that I want to, to kind of emphasize here is that, you know, especially in small to medium sized law firms, operations is something that we want to streamline as much as possible because operations are lean and we want to make sure that every dollar gets a good return working with you guys.
They are minimizing cost of labor things like benefits, management, time, training time, all of that. And the intake process is only going to be as good as your training and the people that you have in there. You already have that perfected and can get the best return on their dollars. So I love this service, especially for my personal injury, are, are litigation firms that do heavy litigation and toxic torts and mass torts and workers’ comp and social security and disability. Those are all areas. I think that you would absolutely be the perfect answer to, to their issues. So,
Yup. And on our side, we have everything measured. So every dollar you end up spending we have it measured back to fee income that you will generate 12 to 36 months from now. So you have,
She’s awesome. Again, as a consultant, I’m going to be, I’m the one that’s always going. Yeah. But what’s the return on that. So you’ve already had that built in. I love that as a consultant, I’m going to be okay, here’s our numbers. This is what we can expect. Right. So that, that’s fantastic. So I, I want to thank you for talking with me just briefly about what being hugged does. I think there are firms that do some of what you do, but I love that you offer both the intake side, the call center, the capturing those leads, and then how do we, how do we spend those marketing dollars to get the best leads in there? So it’s, it’s a two, two process to, to function company that I think keeps the process in integrity, right? You do those leads, you know, how to answer those calls as opposed to having it broken up. So I, I think this is a great thing. I’d love to see our clients work with you guys to maximize their, their returns and to watch their companies grow. One last question for you, we’re in the middle of COVID and it’s not going away. Have you seen any changes of how you’re doing things differently to get to people?
Yes. So again, another issue that is case by case type automobile accident, which is a lot of the bread and butter for spraying. We’ve seen some firms lose like 70% of where they were previously at the peak of COVID. It’s, it’s jumped back up a little bit, but no one knows what direction that’s going to head in, but at the same time, we’ve seen other verticals that are doing better because people are at home and they have more time to actually pick up the call. So we’ve seen mass torque is doing extraordinarily well. We’ve seen employment actually has some, has some pretty interesting and other areas that we don’t do a ton of work in, but I, but I imagine bankruptcy and areas are gonna do better. Social security has seen a huge pop, just like it did no eight, no nine. Anytime the economy gets worse, their social security disability is a right.
You know, it’s funny. I have a little cottage in town here in Vancouver, Washington, and I’m sort of wondering if the dog bite part of personal injury is going up because everybody’s out walking their dogs all day just to get out of the house. So, you know, it’s, I think the word for 2020 is pivot.
Yup. So you could try another case type if you want. Also it’s a good time to work on, on referral sources because there there’s still a stuff on the market. And you have more time to chat and have webinars. And, but you know, there there’s a lot you could be doing right now and we’re, we’re in the center of it. I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re on wall street. The office here is on wall street in the middle of the financial district of Manhattan. And we’ve seen some local New York firms just get destroyed, but a lot of creative stuff to, to stay in it.
Okay. Well, it is just been fun getting to know you guys a little bit more in depth. I want to talk to you again, maybe do a case study and kind of open up, you know, in a particular case, how did this run through the system for you, but as a general introduction? Here’s what I can say to our clients and to the people in the legal industry that are small to medium sized law firms that we deal with. These guys are the real deal. And as a, as a consultant, I love that they are at keeping track of the performance data. Cause that’s really what it comes down to. We don’t want to do a crap shoot, right? We were, this is not a gambling thing. This is science. And these guys have that part of the data down. That’s going to be specific to what you do the industry and the niches that you are in.
And then they’re going to make sure you get those leads through their intake process and the people that work with them. And it sounds like in most cases, it’s going to be more affordable to do that, then to add a whole other section to your company as you grow. So I encourage you to go to MeanPug.com, check them out call them at (646) 461-4213. And I I hope that this is the beginning of some great relationships for you guys. And so thank you for being a guest with us today. Thank you. My pleasure.