Apparently Bill Clinton, when he was president in residence, had a sign on his desk. It read, “It’s the economy, stupid”.
Agencies should take note. Knowing what’s actually important can make the difference between a bonus and no bonus. (Oh, and getting good work approved as opposed to crap.)
To that end, we have compiled this handy list for you, entitled…
9 THINGS AGENCIES SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THEIR CLIENTS: To help get your scripts (and other stuff) approved more efficiently.
1: Quite often, advertising isn’t the thing most affecting your client’s business. When you discover what is, suddenly everything else makes sense. I was working on a big Japanese car account. Some days the client was happy. Some days, not so much. I thought it had to do with how much or not they liked the advertising. Not so. During the course of a seemingly innocuous conversation a brand manager inadvertently commented on what was troubling him. It was the fluctuation of the Yen against the Aussie Dollar. A one Yen movement either way meant a million dollar adjustment to the company’s bottom line. Everything was suddenly much clearer.
2: Advertising isn’t all clients do. It sometimes takes up as little as 10-15% of their time. They have for example, sales forces to manage, overseas based factories to remonstrate with, lawyers to consult, supermarkets to appease, conferences to attend, R&D departments to encourage, and head offices to report to. That’s why they are, at times, difficult to contact. Be seen to arrange your schedule according to theirs not yours.
3: Only senior decision makers are worth talking too. Ha! Many agencies for example, especially big multi-nationals handling global clients, are subject to ridicule from junior brand managers who would rather be dealing with more fashionable, multi-award winning hot shops. Sometimes their bosses take note. Give everyone the respect they deserve.
4: Clients like being asked intelligent questions. If you don’t know something about a product / market / competitor / previous campaign / past research / budgets / media schedule etc…ASK! (Even if you think you’re supposed to already know what it is.)
5: Clients love their brands. I was once sharing a cab back to the agency with the managing director of a large client, (a credit card) and the senior account person on the business. When we reached our destination the account guy pulled out a competitor’s card to pay the fare. Luckily he immediately realised his faux pas. He snapped the offending card in half and with great aplomb produced his clients. (I think he got away with it)
6: Clients (and client’s wives, husbands and children) love awards even if they say they don’t. Sprinkle that glory all over them.
7: Clients don’t need to like the work. They have to recognise that it is the best way of communicating with the designated target market. The best thing a marketing director ever said to me about a TV campaign we had just run was, “I still hate the commercial…but keep airing it, I just sold another 39 cars.”
8: Clients do not like surprises. If your agency is merging or is being bought out, don’t let them find out about it in the trade press, or worse, from a colleague or competitor. If the work is going to be late, tell them before the deadline is up. If it’s over budget, confess and have an alternative. The surprise clients hate most is finding out you have lied to them.
9: Clients are human.
So there we have it! Simply engage with these 9, easy to follow points for instant award winning ads, increased billings, countless new business wins, salary rises, bonuses and a harmonious lifestyle.*
* Conditions apply. Afore mentioned outcomes are not guaranteed.