Strangers In A Strange Land - Advertising As A Marketing Tool That Sometimes Works


Advertising, in professional services, has a strange history. More words, and more dollars, have been wasted on it, and less seems to have been learned from its mistakes, than from any other marketing tool.

In the early days – the few years post-Bates (1977) -- advertising was still anathema to law and accounting firms. Arthur Young was probably the first to do it after Bates, which was an exercise in courage (I was there – I remember) and then came Deloitte’s Beyond the Bottom Line campaign. The more likely scenario at the time was typified by the then-managing partner of Price Waterhouse, who said, about advertising, “Over my dead body.” Now they spend millions. Marketing for professionals, as we know it today, didn’t come easy. I’m not so sure it’s much easier today.

As more firms now advertise, it becomes increasingly important that the advertiser, as well as the advertising agency, understand the process. To be passive in the process, and to allow the agency to guide the decision, is as dangerous as eating unidentified mushrooms, simply because the process is so different for professionals than it is for products. Your agency may be a good one, but if they don’t understand that difference, then your ad may be clever, and attractive, but irrelevant.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Bruce W. Marcus | Attorney Advertising

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