As a marketing consultant with over 35 years of experience, I often work with extremely opinionated clients who have seemingly missed their true calling in life as a marketer. While their credentials can be impressive (doctors, lawyers, executives), they usually have nothing to do with marketing. Yet they approach the task of marketing as one for which they have all the answers. Even I, after 35 years, don’t pretend to be so lucky. After all, marketing looks a lot like an investment. You can never really know what’s going to happen. There are many variables and markets can be fickle or even downright unpredictable. Strategies that worked for one product or service may not work for others. In my experience, diversification is one of the safest strategies of all. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Maybe this may sound cowardly, coming from a seasoned marketing expert. Where is my conviction? Where is my resolution? Well when the economy overwhelmed I left them both on the back burner where they simmer until the bulls come back. Until then, I advise all my clients, humble and stubborn, that prudence is a virtue, regardless of the “certainty” of the strategy.
So, is it also cowardly to allow a client to “harass” me to implement their marketing strategy, often using their own untested marketing concept, or worse yet, that of their offspring? To this I have a few possible answers:
• 1. He is the customer and it is his money that we spend.
• 2. I told him my opinion and he chose to reject it.
• 3. If the effort fails, he can’t blame me.
• 4. The customer is always right.
Let’s go a little further in these points. What kind of marketing expert lets a client waste their hard earned money on something that may not work? Is such a business practice ethical or even moral? First of all, none of us know for sure if their strategy and / or concept is worthless as a marketing effort. In fact, I am aware of a lot of homemade marketing efforts that have been quite successful no matter how amateurish they may seem at first to professionals like me. In addition, marketing often relies on creativity, using fresh, new and original ideas. And, in an industry teeming with obnoxious and contemptuous marketing “gurus”, I happen to consider myself unique in that I rarely insist that my path is the only one. In all modesty, I don’t believe it and never insist on anything.
On the contrary, I believe that he, as a successful business client, and I, as a successful marketing consultant, are approaching his marketing goal as equally competent and intelligent human beings – in fact, business owners. business – with common results as a goal. We both want to come out of this experience with a positive result, a profit, hopefully, with a winning teamwork to thank for the effort.
But, I am not naive. While that may be my take on the situation, with some clients the truth is quite different. Why such clients seek my services in the first place often escapes me. What I usually decide is that they need an accomplice to do the visual “dirty work” while they are directing. In my experience, the ‘dirty work’ usually consists of a ‘bundle’ of graphic design or marketing which, for many clients, is totally worthless, perhaps because they have no expertise in it. exercise of this function. Ironically, for me, this is the most important piece of the puzzle. Without a professional and attractive presentation, all the effort should have stayed on the shelf.
It’s funny (peculiar) that clients like this usually don’t seem to have the ability to discern great presentation from imperfect presentation, so they rarely object to the part of the work I’m most proud of. It’s lucky for me, because while their concept or strategy may be far from ideal in my opinion, packed with my strong and winning presentation, it has a good chance of success.
However, as I hinted previously, this type of client is often the one who likes to dominate the others with whom he works, which blinds him to the benefits of collaboration. Since I’m not possessive about the work I do, it doesn’t matter much to me that this client appreciates my contribution. The bottom line is that I run a business where clients of all kinds are respected for their opinions, goals, and implementation ideas. I work very hard to guide them to a successful experience regardless of the obstacles. Although I prefer a client who respects my experience and advice, and basks in those who give me free rein to handle the work without their input, I am always ready to work with any client despite the possibility of humiliation. or personal insult. What matters is that clients feel good about working with my business and pay me accordingly. In business, this is the real indicator of value.
Reiterating the question of the day: who is best qualified to decide on the marketing strategy, the marketing expert or the client? From the point of view of experience, it would seem that the expert is more qualified. But, in light of changes in the economy that have thrown precedents out the window, the client may be just as valuable as a marketing strategist, if he can accept that the expert has talents and ideas. that bring more value to the table than the customer does as a unique actor. The best answer is both. The client knows his business and his client’s behavior intimately, while the marketing expert knows marketing (which is his job) and market behavior. Together, client and marketing expert make a great team. It’s how they play together that will determine their success.