Distinguishing Qualities of a Great Client

  • Inculcate a spirit of partnership
    • Avoid a superior/subordinate relationship, characterized by
      • Atmosphere of mistrust
      • Lack of respect for the expertise of the agency
      • Undercurrents of intimidation
    • There is no doubt to an agency that a client is and can be ready to exercise the option to dismiss them
      • (some clients even use this tool for dealing with their agency)
      • fear, intimidation and disrespect have no place
    • The best advertising is often only created within the absence of fear
      • The by-product of real partnership—a joint effort—based on mutual respect of intelligence and expertise
  • Be wary of change for change’s sake
    • Imitating a trend fails by definition to achieve the first purpose of adverting which is to create a distinctive image for a client
    • We think that success in advertising is achieved by finding a long-term positioning and sticking with it
    • Tune in, instead to the changes in the consumer
  • Make sure your agency is making a fair profit
    • If an account is unprofitable to an agency, that account will be less important to the agency
  • Give the agency the opportunity to be totally absorbed in your product, the people and
    your culture

    • Great clients totally immerse their agencies in the product
    • It costs more money and it involves risks in exposing agency people to its weaknesses and to know its secrets
    • When an agency team thoroughly understands a client corporate culture, it will more likely create campaigns that last
      • If a campaign precisely reflects the culture, there’s a better chance the client will stick with it
      • If it articulates a corporate mission, the client will give it longer to work
  • Create an environment of experimentation and be prepared to pay for failure
    • Nothing predicts mediocrity in advertising quite so precisely an environment of risk-aversion
      • Natural to want to conform to rules and formulas in quest for a measure of certainty the outcome of development process will be viable adverting
      • Great clients want advertising that stands out
  • Treat the agency people well
    • Great clients know it is human nature for people to work harder for their friends than for business acquaintances
    • The happy consequence is that the great client gets more out of the agency
  • Agree on a clearly defined objective of the advertising you wish to create
    • The failure to define or agree upon the precise purpose of advertising dooms the creative process from the start
  • Keep approvals simple and disapprovals kind
    • Nothing saps energy more than an agency presenting the same work over and over at succeeding layers of the client organization
      • The best system for approval of adverting is to have as few layers as possible
    • Three simple axioms to remember:
      • Be honest. If you don’t like something say so
      • Be specific. Don’t ask for a new execution just because this “one doesn’t do it for me”
      • Be kind. It helps to think of commentary as if are evaluating the person
  • Make the agency responsible for the advertising and give them the authority it needs to
    do it

    • Involvement in the process is an exceedingly difficult line to walk
      • Often, lack of involvement is just a way for the client to avoid sharing responsibility for the end result
      • Too much consistent involvement denies the approval that empowers the agency to realize its vision
    • Great clients state precisely why they disagree and then challenge the agency to find a solution that both parties can agree to
  • Perform evaluations of each other at least annually, and more often in the beginning of the relationship
    • A good agency wants to know if there is a major problem before reading about it in the trade press
    • Great clients draw up the terms of evaluation in partnership with the agency

About The Bedford Group

The Bedford Group is an Atlanta based Marketing Management Consulting firm that has been in operation since 1986. It has built its reputation on marketing organization supportagency search and relationship management and strategic marketing consulting.  Unlike traditional advertising consultants, The Bedford Group looks beyond traditional marketing disciplines to solve complex, enterprise-wide issues for efficient resource management and improving marketing ROI. For more information about our services, please contact Kerry Kielb at 404.237.4565 or kkielb@bedfordgroupconsulting.com.