For professional service firm ads, there seem to be only a few options:
1) all about us (who we are/what we do) serving to establish brand;
2) the tombstone (more "about us"; usually self-congratulatory; less relevant to the reader than type 1);
3) problem/solution (call to action, hopefully) addressing an issue common to a buyer paired with a solution; and
4) testimonial (happy customer; usually high-profile) sharing results gleaned.
In professional services, most ads are types 1 & 2. It is a becoming a little more common to see type 3 ads as firms realize that readers respond to demonstrated understanding and appreciation of their problems. Type 4 ads are fairly common by firms who aren't fearful of flaunting their client list. Type 4 can be very effective if done well.
I cannot specifically recall another instance (before Dan's--especially in 1998) where I've seen a firm advertise, in a print publication, a better "experience" to be had when using them--an approach constituting a 5th ad type: the experience.
Dan's firm, Hull McGuire's ad copy was
IS THIS A GREAT TIME TO CHANGE LAW FIRMS, OR WHAT?
Doing business has changed. But many law firms haven't.
They still charge for "services" and overhead no corporate client should have to absorb. Like associate lawyer training. Duplicative conferences. And senior lawyers who will never understand or care about your business.
The product is disappointing. Service and follow-up are only words. And the bill makes you nuts.
Stop being the equipment in games lawyers play. At Hull McGuire, we focus on clients, and solving their problems. We build lifetime relationships with businesses of all sizes.
IT'S TIME, ISN'T IT?
HULL MCGUIRE PC
I'm not surprised Dan would be involved in taking this approach given his blog's client-centric focus. What were the results of his ad? Dan wrote:
Maybe it was dumb luck, but this very basic and somewhat crude ad produced:
- some wildly enthusiastic phone calls from people we did not know (in the first week, one GC, apparently sober, congratulated us from an airport payphone during a layover)
- some catty but entertaining and telling comments from lawyers in Pennsylvania and D.C. we did know
- firming up for us at least one still continuing relationship with a like-minded company fed up with the lethargy and indifference of its traditional large law firm
Dan's blog should be regular reading for his spunky approaches to being successful doing something different from the "safe" approaches most everyone else takes. I love that he's not only not afraid to be different, but he's proud of it and promotes it well.
Dan also hosted a global-flavored edition (#65) of Blawg Review. Be sure to check out the fantastic work Dan has done compliling global legal blogs. There are some real gems in his list.