May 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm #162753
For decades I’ve been told that we don’t advertise because it’s unethical. There is no law prohibiting advertising by professionals so why is it percieved to be unethical? Many other professionals advertise.
I’ve had a very nice practice so far from “referrals” but with today’s economy and competetion from “designers” that do advertise landscape design services, I’m wondering if I should try the so called “unethical” approach.
Please let me know what the current thinking on advertising is……..May 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm #162814
Huh? I never knew of any such thing…we definitely do advertise…I mean, does putting your name in the phone book count? In our small ethics class nothing was taught about advertising…so I have never heard of this. Our biggest challenge is knowing HOW to advertise…what will be worth the money. We certainly do advertise.
Heck, nearly every firm has a website…that is a form of advertising in my mind.May 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm #162813
http://books.google.com/books?id=ptCw_WcphbkC&pg=PA265&lpg=PA265&dq=advertising+landscape+architecture+services&source=bl&ots=hOrIF50e02&sig=cPBG5S0kM3ERsTd9FqT0qmowOp8&hl=en&ei=vMLaTdKwC87WiAKg_7z4Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CEsQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=advertising%20landscape%20architecture%20services&f=falseMay 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm #162812
I agree about the website…however when did you see a LA firm advertise on radio or in newspaper?
I think one problem with the publics misunderstanding of what we do may be related to the fact that we don’t advetise in the commercial world.
In the past it has been seen in very bad taste for a professional to advertise….after all, we are so much better than that….I personally never saw the issue….so you don’t see a problem either.
thanks for your op Heather.May 23, 2011 at 10:04 pm #162811
Yeah I could see it as a ,”we are too good for that”…sort of thing. haha. But unethical? Nah. haha.
Wanted to add we do advertise in a local Co-op paper but we are design/build with landscape architecture.May 23, 2011 at 10:42 pm #162810
…so do you mention LA in your ad?
and do people respond because you use LA in the ad?May 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm #162809Ryland FoxParticipant
I don’t know if it is advertising but self promotion on sites like Landezine can’t hurt.May 23, 2011 at 11:29 pm #162808Jason T. RadiceParticipant
I’ve seen print advertising for design/build LAs here (around DC) in newspapers for home landscaping, but there is serious money and a lot of competition here. The status of “A landscape architect designed my yard” is part of the game for the pseudo-riche around the beltway. For the most part, high-end design firms don’t advertise on TV or in newpapers. its not thier target market.Their clients know where to find them. Occasionally some do a Home/garden shows or place an ad in a local lifestyle magazine, again, for the residential market. For other types of practice, I’ve seen ads in UrbanLand, the ICPI magazine, the local AIA publication, and other industry specific publications. Many of your well know firms don’t, they feel they don’t have to.May 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm #162807Douglas M. RooneyParticipant
I am not sure what the history on the ethics for LAs has been, but I did read once that the AIA had made advertising for Architects an ethics violation starting in 1909, however by the late 1970s that was no longer true. I do know that the ASLA code states:
R1.106 Members shall not mislead through advertising or other means existing or prospective clients about the result that can be achieved through use of the Member’s services or state that they can achieve results by means that violate the Code or the law.
Mislead about the result that can be achieved? Sounds like a potential slippery slope to me.
But, so as long as your advertising does not lie, exaggerate, mislead or break the law it appears to be ethical.May 24, 2011 at 12:10 am #162806
Jason, you always have well thought out input here in the lounge and I enjoy reading your posts…..
Do you think the “Corporate Firms” are avoiding a percieved sleeze factor by avoiding crass advertising?
Many of them do have big marketing departments with big budgets…May 24, 2011 at 12:45 am #162805Jason T. RadiceParticipant
No, not avoiding a stigma, just not an effective use of money. If it made them money, they would do it. Marketing depts are supposed to troll for RFPs and foster/maintain client relationships..something an ad in the newspaper cannot do. As I had stated, I’ve seen large firms advertise in print, but only in trade mags. Direct mail is also quite effective for advertising to a potential client. Another thing I forgot to mention is trade shows. I know the firms I had worked for who did marketing would often get booths (or suites) at shows related to their practice focus and advertise there with the booth and marketing slicks. You get exposure to a very targeted clientele in very short period of time, often with good return on investment. Keep in mind, once you are established, you get to know a lot of people, and they get to know of you. Its a small community.
Even for residential LAs, there are some general observations.Many firms just are not interested in the type of clients a general ad in a newspaper would bring, and those who would see the ad often are not willing to spend the extra money for an LA on top of material and labor costs. Thats why so many design/builds write off the design costs when you have them install or at least buy the plants from them.May 24, 2011 at 1:29 am #162804Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
My understanding from the civil/survey end of things is that it is unethical for them because many of the services are required under certain circumstances and aggressive marketing could easy blur that fine line between letting people know you’re there if you need them and implying that they have a situation that requires the need for such services (ie, looking for violations or encroachments,pointing them out, and soliciting work to “help them”). I don’t see much of that type of situation for landscape architects.May 24, 2011 at 2:17 am #162803
So, I guess if I’m just a small firm and advertise it apears that I’m just small time….I get your point.
I do wonder if tasteful ads with an educational point or two would help inform the public what we actually do …..May 24, 2011 at 2:19 am #162802
this is what I mean though….how to you pull it off without coming off as a huckster?May 24, 2011 at 2:49 am #162801Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
I don’t see it being at all the same for LAs. It really is not any different than a landscape contractor to advertise. It is not like you are going to blackmail someone into hiring you because their circulation doesn’t flow.
I see LAs advertise in high end home magazines all of the time. My belief is that you don’t hear radio or see tv ads simply because they generate too many dead end leads that take too much time to service. It is very difficult to sell design work to the masses as it has a minimum cost to produce that becomes a higher percentage of the overall cost as the budget gets smaller (and the design tends to be simpler and the lower the threshold is for “qualified designer”) . That can translate into – the more visible you are, the more dead end leads you deal with.
Have you looked into regional “home & garden” magazines in your area, either to see if others are advertising or for your own inquiry? It might be worth a look.
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