Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Law Firm Advertising -- Meet the Tombstone

I will confess that on this blog I have been an advocate against tombstone advertisements for law firms. In short, a wall-to-wall page of graphics and words that show off everyone else better than the law firm placing the ad is not my idea of a good spend. Of course, I am happy to stay on record that any advertisment that is wall-to-wall layouts (words and graphics filling as much white space as possible) is an aboration and a waste of money and message.

But -- yesterday I was talking with a marketer from another professional services category about their press releases and what will get picked up in media, and what will not. This firm (not a law firm) completes a ton of transactional type assignments that are not "news worthy" but certainly have value in proving the worth of their expertise... Much like law firm transactions and cases on behalf of clients.

Here's the kicker: I recommended that he/she buy ad space and display the names of companies they're working with as a means of demonstrating their value (when entering new markets). Essentially I had recommended a none-law firm version of a tombstone ad! A few hours later was my head spinning or what!

OK... so I might have been hasty is judging law firm tombstone ads as completely useless. BUT -- the current practices employed by law firms in advertising transactions cannot possibly be right. Look at my last post on eye-tracking and you'll know I'm mostly right. The truth revealed to me is that there are things a law firm does that have incredible marketing value and will not be revealed through traditional public relations activities. I actually need to spend some advertising budget on promoting accomplishments that will not get picked up as a press release.

(Last BUT) But, the traditional practice of wall-to-wall tombstone ads will not do! There HAS to be a way to use accomplishments such that they fall into a great layout AND reveal value. This is my task. Find the right combination. If you have ideas let me know. Or, just keep an eye here for a few months. I'll post what I discover.