To be politically correct, I should say that all marketing clients are good clients. After all, they contribute to our revenue. So let’s just leave that some good clients are better than other good clients.
My partner and I serve a Canadian injection moulding manufacturer. Sounds exciting, huh? They are in the packaging business and their marketing need is to generate/accelerate sales leads. No surprise.
However, our first assignment was to help in creating a sales presentation they were making to a large packaged goods company in the States. The client was smart to bring communications people in to help with the presentation from structure and content to look and feel. In this process it was suggested that a video would add to the impact of the presentation.
Of a factory? A creative person’s nightmare, right? Shots of the factory and talking heads.
However, when we were being introduced to the company by the CEO (our client), the more he talked, the more I wanted to do the factory tour. He’s a natural. He is a sales person.
On the factory floor, I knew in less than two minutes what I wanted to do. (That’s one of the reasons I don’t like billing by the hour.) “Two minutes plus thirty years” a colleague responded when I told him the story.
The basic idea was to anthropomorphize the factory robotics and use type to deliver capabilities. You can see the video here. And the cost? I am embarrassed to tell you how much this didn’t cost him.
He loved it. And so our relationship began. But it wasn’t just that he loved it. You don’t think there were revisions and re-cuts? Of course there were. (I was surprised/impressed at how he took to the nuance of editing.) And what once cost thousands and thousands to do, I do in Final Cut Pro. Often on a laptop.
It was not just that this client liked our work. That’s pretty thin. He would often say, “You guys are the experts, I leave it to you” and the surprising thing about remarks like that is that it puts a lot more pressure on you to do the extraordinary. The result? You work harder. You work smarter. You bend over backwards to make sure that never once does this client ever doubt the trust they place in you. And you are always looking for ways to add value. Because the client is also willing to listen to new ideas. He will test ideas. He does not rubber stamp everything we do but when there is something that needs to be re-thought or revised, we are not treated as if we have done something wrong or failed but rather it’s like we have a collaborator.
Anyone who earns their living writing, as I do, will know there is no such thing as writing. There is only re-writing.
From a sales presentation and video we have re-engineered on online presence with a strong, benefit-oriented website (what’s in it for his customers rather than chest thumping). We are segmenting potential customers by industry and geography to tailor relevant messages to each of them.
We’re experimenting with numerous channels and tactics to do what needs to be done: find relevant leads.
The client is a delight to work with. He is respectful. He has common sense (alarming how quickly that can vaporize in some organizations). And he has energy and passion for his business the way we do ours. It’s a nice marriage.
His name is Adam. And I have no idea if he will see this post or not. No matter. If one CEO or one Marketing Manager reads this post and recognizes how they can get more for their marketing dollars by adopting Adam’s approach, I will have done some good here.
I am not the only person who recognizes the wisdom of Adam’s approach. He has won many business awards for both the work he does and the way he runs his company.
At the end of the day, each of us are humans interacting with each other. Some believe in negative re-enforcement and others believe in positive re-enforcement. I am a professional. If I have a client who subscribes to negative re-enforcement I will still make sure they get their money’s worth when working with me. For those who believe in positive re-enforcement I will by instinct ensure they get far more than what they’re paying for.
As for Adam, he should be cloned. Remember Molly, the cloned sheep? Move over, Molly.
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