It has always been true that for an agency to do good work and make a fair profit at doing it, the client has to be a “good” client. The client has to be enlightened, has to appreciate good advertising, and has to feel that you should make a fair profit on the work you do.
Listed below are some of the most important qualities shared by good clients, which you can use to judge both your present and future clients. You should strive to apply these criteria to every potential client: if they don’t fit the criteria, better think twice about taking the account.
Without exception, and based on my experience throughout my long advertising career, if the client and the agency do not share some common values at the beginning of the relationship, the relationship will not last. Don’t waste your time on clients that don’t fit your criteria. Spend your time looking for clients that do.
Here are the criteria to look for:
1. The client must believe in advertising, have a sense for what is “good,” and want the best they can get.
2. Advertising must be important to the client’s business success.
3. The client must be willing to share essential marketing information.
4. The client must be willing to set numbered, dated and attainable marketing objectives, and to measure results.
5. The client must have the potential to grow.
6. The client’s product should be a good one.
7. The client’s principles, policies and personnel must be compatible with the agency’s.
8. There must be a minimum of people at the client with approval authority—preferably one!
9. The client must want the agency to be fairly paid for the work performed, and paid on a timely basis.
10. The client must deliver to the agency a reasonable amount of gross income so that the agency in turn can devote the time needed to service the account.
One more: You need to like each other. If there is no chemistry between the agency and the client, the relationship is ultimately doomed.
Gauge Their Worth
Try these criteria the next time a client comes running in offering your agency the moon (if you’ll only show what you could do for them if they were to give you their account). Maybe it’s worth doing all that speculative work to get the account… maybe it’s not. The “perfect client” criteria gauge helps you to make that decision.
Constantly prune your client list. Make sure each of your clients meets the client criteria formula. If you do, you’ll be much better off.
Listen here, agency presidents. This is your job. It’s what you’re being paid for. If you pick the right people to work for you, and pick the right clients, you’ve got it made. Award-winning advertising is a cinch. Profits are almost assured. If you don’t do those two jobs correctly, I assure you you’ll never be very far out of the deep muck.
See also our client/prospect evaluation form in Resources.