Walker Advertising: Los Defensores and 1-800-THE–LAW2

8 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2019

See all articles by Michael Albert

Michael Albert

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Saul Yeaton

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

While organizations have been collecting data for years, not all businesses have the talent, culture, and systems in place in order to take advantage of their data. This case uses Walker Advertising, a company that partnered with law firms to advertise their services, to discuss broader themes around the role of data science in a traditional business. Predictive modeling is a crucial function of business to gain insights around allocating and utilizing resources. The material in this case allows for an exploration of building a digital team, leveraging data collection, and optimizing business processes through data science tools to better inform decision-making. It includes data for students to work through. The case begins in 2019 when Walker Advertising plans to grow a national presence, a shift that meant developing an attorney base outside of California. To do this, the company would need to shift from a subscription-based revenue model toward a pay-per-lead model. An important piece of the growth effort was building a digital team. Management wanted to forecast how much the business needed to spend to drive a certain number of leads. While Walker Advertising had been collecting data since its inception, there was not a process in place to leverage those data. Yet the jump to data analytics and machine learning in a firm with a strong brand and purposeful mission was not simple. CFO Quentin Kluthe understood the importance of gaining acceptance for a major change in how the business ran. It was crucial to provide clarity and transparency so others in the organization would embrace the shift from the old approach to new methods. How could a business that traditionally had not been data focused make a pivot to use data science in decision-making?

Excerpt

UVA-QA-0912

Oct. 11, 2019

Walker Advertising: Los Defensores and 1-800-THE-LAW2

In 1984, Mary Ann Walker launched Los Defensores (Spanish for “the defenders”) in the city of Los Angeles (LA) to connect Spanish-speaking consumers in need of legal services with bilingual attorneys. Shortly thereafter, she expanded the business model to connect English-speaking consumers with attorneys through 1-800-THE-LAW2. Before long, she built a reputable local advertising firm called Walker Advertising, which was trusted by consumers and attorneys alike. Located in San Pedro, California, Walker Advertising partnered with law firms to advertise their services. Its business model worked as follows: the marketing department generated inquiries; the contact center filtered inquiries by geography and law type to match them to participating attorneys' practices; and then the intake departments of the law firms turned leads into retained cases.

After more than 30 years of success in and around LA and parts of Northern California, Walker partnered with a private equity firm called ClearLight Partners to further build the business. The firm brought in several new members of the executive team, including Quentin Kluthe as CFO in 2017. The goal was to grow the firm in additional markets around the country. That meant developing an attorney base outside of California. In addition, the company would shift from a subscription-based revenue model toward a pay-per-lead model.

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Keywords: data science, R, Python, time series, attribution modeling, reporting tool, indicators, trends, optimization

Suggested Citation

Albert, Michael and Yemen, Gerry and Yeaton, Saul, Walker Advertising: Los Defensores and 1-800-THE–LAW2. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0912. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3475942

Michael Albert (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Saul Yeaton

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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