I am proud to be the president of strata-climbing, straight-shooting marketing agency. Like every other business with a dream and people willing to put in an obscene amount of work, we have created something tangible.
We are a trusted firm providing design and marketing strategies to companies seeking promotion and notoriety—the good kind!
Each and every day is gloriously different from the last. The hard work of these last seven or so insane years is paying off in a ton of ways. I’ve got a crazy parade of professionals who stream in and out of my office – all with inspired solutions on a daily basis. There are of course those random, run of the mill complaints. (Although, “we’re out of coffee!” is legit!) But they are amazing, they read my mind and they help me to believe that everything is possible.
We are a team of designers, project managers, franchise specialists, and web developers and all good at what we do. So who’s hurling the curveball, shattering the nirvana? Clients.
As I put down the wide brush with which I am painting them – it is not their fault. The phenomenon is simply the result of an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object…we’re the unstoppable force BTW. So should we be assigning blame when, for example websites don’t launch in the time frame we planned and for which we were prepared? When a client misses deadlines and doesn’t come through with content, images or information critical to the process, it’s nearly impossible to stay on task and within deadline, as hard as we try. Or they don’t follow our we’ve-been-down-this-road-before-we-know-what-we’re doing advice? No. We’re the problem.
Clients come in all shapes and sizes like marketing agencies. There are those who “get it” and those who don’t necessarily “get it” but know they need to. There are those who complain for complaint’s sake, and others who want something for nothing. It’s not that. The unstoppable vs. immoveable action happens when they get in their own way and impede themselves.
And I feel for them, they get frustrated. Having a website built is not something they do every day. Then all of a sudden when they come to the realization their digital presence is woefully outdated, they are barraged with forms to fill out and design and functionality decisions to make – all necessary evils; yet it takes them away from running their business and generating revenue – even though launching this new site will help with just that.
So why did it stop me in my tracks when my favorite professor from back in the day at the Florida State University School of Communications recently made the observation on Facebook: “You can only take your clients as far as they’re willing to go.”? And why is he SO completely correct?
His insight is a lesson for us all. Don’t get in your own way. Like any other stumbling block, seeing that a hurdle exists is the only way to even think about surmounting it.
With that in mind, our professional responsibility is not only to develop strategies that take clients to infinity and beyond, but also to help open up their eyes to the realization that they’re in their own way because they don’t know what they don’t know.
The irony of the agency-client relationship is that, “on paper” it is a solid one. We gather around a conference table to agree on objectives. We shake hands. We share goals that are inherently mutual. When their company prospers due to our quantifiable efforts, they will continue to employ us and tell all their colleagues how awesome we are and we may get new client relationships out of it. Win-win-win.
But you know what I’ve learned (thanks to dear Prof Brill)? “In the end, the best you can give may not win the day. You can only take your clients as far as they’re willing to go.”
Stop and consider the steps you need to take to bring your clients all the way to the end of the line. The rainbow. The pot ‘o gold. Life is good on the other side.
Thanks to Dale Brill who unknowingly inspired this post with just a powerful few words he put in a Facebook post recently. He also inspired my marketing career and life path, probably also unknowingly. But, that’s what good teachers do. Go ‘Noles!