Posts tagged ‘clients’
Re-reading Victoria Routledge’s chick-lit debut Friends Like These, I found the most brilliant letter from the heroine PR exec to her client:
I am delighted to enclose the proof of your Spring/Summer promo brochure. We are thrilled with the finished version and hope you will love it as much as we do. Everyone here at Dunleary & Bright is sure that this will be the breakthrough season for Detritus and that this dynamic promo will be the clinching factor in securing excellent magazine and TV coverage.
I would be amazed if you could be bothered to cast your eye over this proof and let me have any of the myriad and pointless corrections you might like to make. I will need to pass this on to the printers by August 31st, so I won’t expect to get any indication from your office that you have actually received this until it is far too late to do anything, that is to say, late September.
When your directionless and inarticulate PA does get round to it, I will, of course be here on my direct line for personal abuse and blame-apportioning. Please do contact me if there are any further questions I can answer, or more likely, if you require the whole thing explained to you, with diagrams.
All best wishes, Rachel Sanderson, Dunleary & Bright
New Business is turning into a bit of a farce at the moment.
A client I pitched for in November (who announced within 24 hours that we were down to the final two agencies) let us know today that they’d finally made the decision to appoint the other lot. That’s three months it took them to chose between agencies A and B. How hard can it be?
Then there’s the never ending PQQs, ITTs and other tendering related, time vampire red tape, the client who took so long to decide on which agency to appoint that they went bust in the meantime and the clients who are seemingly incapable of returning calls or emails politely enquiring if a long overdue pitch decision is imminent.
Pitching is an incredibly expensive way of doing business and most clients don’t seem to realise that the agency ‘overflow’ resources which have to be redirected towards time consuming pitches are becoming increasingly scarce in businesses that are running a tight ship in order to stay afloat in this stormy economy.
Fortunately my place is winning new business as well as being messed about a lot (otherwise I’d be worrying about my job), but in the meantime, may I present the New Rules For Clients Upon Calling A Pitch:
- Underestimate the budget you have allocated as it will almost certainly have reduced by the time you get round to appointing an agency.
- If you think your company is about to go bust, now is not a good time to hold a pitch.
- Pitching is very, very expensive from the agency’s point of view. And it takes up a lot of your time and resources too. There may be agencies hungry for work and desperate to get on the pitch list, but limit creative pitches to as many agencies as you can count on one hand. And tell them how many they’re up against so they can make an informed decision on whether to proceed or not.
- Keep in touch. Honestly, we understand that your company’s circumstances might unexpectedly shift and you’ll need to re-evaluate. But only if you actually talk to us.
you can run, but you can’t hide, Mr Client
On my newish extra ‘day off’, among other things I’ve recently been working on a submission for a horsey magazine. I have to report that (based on this experience), magazine editors are much better than the average client at understanding and communicating their brand effectively.
This particular editor managed to condense her brand and its values into six words. I’m sure she has brand onions, pyramids and/or personalities knocking around her office somewhere too, but it’s a nice change from most clients I come across who cop out and send you a 10MB powerpoint presentation instead…
Email today from Mr Big Shot Client asking to move some of his groups from viewing to in-home as he would like to actually sit in on them.
I can only assume that he’s never spent three hours crammed into a corner of a suburban living room, precariously perched on an ancient velvet pouffe while trying to balance a cold cup of tea on one knee before…
This is Chris, Cornish horseman extraordinaire and thoroughly decent chap.
Thanks to his gentle encouragement and laid backness, I ended up doing all kinds of things last week (like riding a dressage test on a stallion) that I’d never have dared to on my own, while feeling safe, confident and secure.
So I’m thinking that we need more people like him (account directors?) agency side to encourage (NOT bully) clients big and small to be that little bit braver when approving strategy and creative and to feel that they are doing so in as risk-free a way as possible.
I guess even more so in these wobbly times, in the end its all about people.
Why can’t some marketeers grasp that they need a business strategy in place before they start worrying about a marketing plan, or a comms plan, or an ad campaign?
I keep coming across marketeers who will quite happily let you present insight driven concepts for creative work (as per their brief), before suddenly admitting that they don’t actually know which market sector they’re aiming at, or what their NPD strategy is, or in one memorable case, what the blumin company is going to be called next month.
I appreciate that in an ideal world some of this could or even should be led by the brand positioning itself, but I’m increasingly frustrated by senior client-types who put the advertising cart before the business strategy horse.
Perhaps its something to do with the relative ease of briefing an agency compared with the complexity of putting your own house in order. In some cases, in the absence of an immediate role for communications, I’ve ended up becoming more of a business consultant and coach to my clients stuck in Multinational Bureaucracy Hell than their Planner.
I suspect that sometimes there’s some kind of desperate hope from clients that the agency will wheel out their hitherto unmentioned top-level management consultants and offer their services as part of the fee…
So I suppose I’d better add Coach, Consultant and Strategic Guru to my list of alternative job titles for a Planner.
that’ll be me then…
A bit of a work in progress this one, but here’s the beginnings of a handy guide to sussing out your client’s management team based on their choice of offices:
Portakabin next to the factory
Our business model is based on making things, not selling them
Soulless serviced office space in business centre miles from HQ
The Marketing Director refused to commute and this is an experiment
Funky Soho open plan workspace with café, pool table etc.
Our MD really wants to work in an agency
I honestly think that big integrated agencies are coming round again (this obviously has absolutely nothing do with the fact that I work for one).
Client’s budgets and the size of their in-house teams are being squeezed and increasingly they’re asking my lot to become an extension of the marketing team - even to the extent of managing their relationships with other agency suppliers.
As the communications landscape becomes more complex and more fragmented, clients face a choice to:
- either employ upwards of a dozen agencies and manage those relationships, ensuring strategic and creative consistency
- or appoint a lead agency, give them the bulk of the work and have them ‘police’ the rest of the roster
For clients who want to go home before midnight, the second option seems increasingly the way to go.
It means that integrated agencies will really have to ensure that their offering is all about not only being integrated and an authority on the changing comms environment, but also as a circus ringmaster.
No small feat.
We, the clients, promise:
- not to call any agency contact before 9am or after 5.30pm unless it really is actually properly urgent
- to ask no more than five agencies to take part in any creative pitch and to make clear at the outset the number of pitch stages involved
- to provide hot/cold drinks and (preferably chocolate) biscuits at all meetings (note: anything out of a drinks machine or served in a chipped snoopy mug does not count)
- not to schedule meetings before 10.30am or on Friday afternoons if the agency is based more than 60 miles away
- to give honest and constructive feedback on creative and to adhere to that feedback in all subsequent emails, phone calls or meetings
- to pay our bills on time
- not to expect the moon on a stick in now-minus-five-minutes
We, the agency, promise:
- not to try and sell you geo-targeted PPC or a 60 second TV ad when you really need a decent PR campaign
- to have an office in an easy to find location with adequate parking and good public transport links
- to have a non-scary receptionist
- to tell you what all the focus respondents thought, rather than what the four most easily led said
- to create work that will win awards and therefore impress your boss
- to create really effective work that will really impress your boss
- to make your life easier, not harder
Client at inter-agency client meeting:
“Thank you all for coming today, but there are quite a lot of you and its crowded, so can we just have one person per company and the rest of you can leave”.
Yes, it really happened. Can anyone top this?