unreasonable clients? – well, they *are* the customer

I came across this post from agency Sell!Sell! today, which basically says that agencies create unreasonable clients by consistently capitulating to unreasonable client demands.

Which is all very well, but as an agency you have to be in a pretty strong position to consistently say No to clients – you need a cash flow that doesn’t depend on the client’s next job coming your way or their account remaining with your agency. Or you need your client to think you’re so brilliant at what you do that they couldn’t find a comparable service elsewhere. It doesn’t really matter if you ARE brilliant or not, the client just has to believe that the grass isn’t greener at another agency.  How many agency types can say that they’ve ever worked anywhere that either didn’t need the work or were so good that they could throw their weight around?

The fact is, that in the majority of cases, marketing communications is a buyer’s market.  Some clients admittedly abuse this with moon-on-a-stick requests needed yesterday or briefs asking for caviar on a fish paste budget, some clients come from organisations where treating suppliers like dirt is part of the corporate culture and some clients are just unreasonable people full stop.  But we still have to recognise that the relationship between buyer and seller is never going to change, so you’d better try and move yourself and your agency towards ‘trusted partner’ status if you want the power to occasionally push back.

And for those individual clients who are simply bullies – we’re watching you.  And we’re probably bitching about you to our local agency mates too.  If you ever decide to move agency-side you may find your employment options somewhat limited as your reputation precedes you…


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