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I have never once had a client come to me and say, "My doctor thinks I sprained my ankle, what do you think?" Good thing, I'm not a medical expert.

So it puzzles me when a client will say, "I showed the draft of the brochure (fill in your own blank here -- logo design, tagline) to my accountant (again, choose your "expert" of choice -- cousin, sister, the HR director, babysitter, lawyer, wife) and they don't like this word (pick a variable -- color, shape, phrase, tone)."
I get the psychology of asking for second opinions. And I understand that marketing is not a precise science like medicine. But it also seems to me that if we are going to engage a company for their expertise, we need to actually give them their due.
So if my lawyer says "you should file this report with the state" but the woman who cuts my hair says I don't need to bother -- shouldn't I give the lawyer's opinion a bit more weight?
And if I were going to disagree with the lawyer's advice, I'd sure come up with something better than "my hair stylist said..."
I don't tinker with the lawn guy's fertilizer formula or recalculate the tax computations that come from the accountant. So why is it that marketing clients often let emotions, their own response (whether they are the target audience or not) and other people's subjective reactions jerk their agency partners around like a puppet on a string?
Here's why I think this is worthy of some discussion.
Because we let them. As marketers we are so driven to deliver a good customer experience that on a rare occasion, we forget that we were hired to do what they could or should not. I doubt there is a marketer practicing today who has never given in or compromised to make the client happy when they shouldn't have.
Another reason why it happens is because marketing is not a precise science. It's sometimes difficult to articulate a rational reason for each and every nuance of a campaign because let's be honest here, some of it is based on intuition and experience, not cold facts.
Which is probably why the client can't come up with anything better than "my daughter says the logo is too small."
So once in a blue moon, we give in when we shouldn't.
In the short run it feels like good customer service. But in the long run, and we know it in our gut, it is cheating our customer. We owe it to them to say no.
On occasion, you need to remind them that they came to you for a reason. Because this is what you do every day and you're good at it.
Otherwise, they might as well let the babysitter do it.

Continue reading "Second Opinions: Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning" ... Read the full article

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image of Drew McLellan

Drew McLellan is the CEO of Agency Management Institute, a company serving 250+ agencies to help the owners build profitable agencies that evolve and scale.

LinkedIn: Drew McLellan

Twitter: @DrewMcLellan

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