In the haste to run a more profitable agency, never forget: the client is king! Sometimes we lose sight of this, focusing on our role as agency mentors, helping you to earn more, run your agencies better, and get as much bottom-line profit as you can. But then we remember… and where would we all be without King Client? At heart, we’re really agency people.
Our founder, Tony Mikes, spent the first twenty-five years of his career as an agency employee and then an agency owner. He wrote from an agency principal’s viewpoint, not as an editor or as a reporter trying to noodle out the business from a third-party perspective like the guys at AdAge. All of us at Second Wind are “the real deal.” For what it’s worth, we have been exactly where most of you are today, regardless of your situation; most likely we've faced your situations personally. That helps us produce more relevant, empathetic training materials and advice.
With that in mind, let us impart seven secrets for helping clients to become, and remain successful, so they can truly become “the kings” they so richly deserve to be. As busy as clients are today, it’s important to make time to discuss these higher-level issues. Most of the questions we answer on any given day deal with getting paid, improving delivery time, or other concrete issues.
Here are the seven secrets:
Always know the desired outcome of the work you do for the client. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else,” said Yogi Berra. We’ve said this about a thousand times in the past thirty years... you need to be sufficiently respected by your client to be privy to their marketing plans. If you are not, you are no better than your last job or your next price. Make it a habit to ask clients exactly what the project is being used for, where it comes from, and where it is going. That way, you’ll be a partner in the results.
Know your target audience. This is easier said than done. There has been an incredible shift in the past two decades in terms of demographics, media proliferation, user access, and increasingly sophisticated consumers. From the days of mass marketing, we moved to advertising in segmented markets. Today the buzz is all about cross-cultural, or mosaic marketing... and developing a message that resonates across many consumer groups. But the basics remain true: you need to know who you are marketing to, how to reach them, and how to get their attention.
Reach them often. We have a friend who calls this “brainwashing.” He insists that “You must brainwash people before they will respond.” This means repeating messages at appropriate times, in the most appropriate media, allowing your client’s products or services to be top-of-mind when individuals are ready to buy. People are inundated with messaging directed at them; only carefully timed and attuned reminders will move them toward your client's product or service. Understanding reach, frequency, recency, and how customers use media is critical. One of the most important things agencies can bring to clients is media expertise.
Use multiple media. Integrated marketing to some extent means that a consistent, cross-channel message is more effective than a single-media message. Exposure to multiple media also helps assure consumers that the message is valid.
Don't cut creative corners. One dollar properly spent on marketing can be worth thousands in revenue for the client. Good work shows. People are very attuned to high quality graphics, typefaces and language. Make sure you don’t commit the mortal sin of ugly work.
Be consistent. Why does the Hertz sign stand out at the airport? Because Hertz has spent a lot of time and millions of dollars to make sure each and every marketing execution is done in black and gold and has the same Hertz typeface. Consistency counts when time-poor consumers are being barraged by thousands of messages each day.
Create a brand for your client. All of the above leads to brand creation for a client. Having a strong, distinct brand differentiates your client’s product or service from the competition, and leads to a better, closer connection with consumers.
So there you have them—seven secrets of success for you and your clients. Tack them up on your wall, follow them closely, and hey! This business is easy!