Client servicing is a funny thing in the ad business. At times, we’re doctors – outlining our analysis and diagnosis, then recommending solutions. Other times, we’re fast food cashiers – taking the order and giving customers exactly what they’ve asked for (even if it’s an artery-clogging Triple Whopper).
Play the role of the doctor too much, and we suits can be labelled stubborn and difficult to work with. Too much on the fast-food end of the scale and we can become order takers without any visible signs of independent thought or expertise.
Worth considering when deciding which hat (or hair net) to don in discussions with your client or agency:
• Are consumers going to care about or even notice what you’re stanchly for/against?
• Has the idea the other person put forward been successfully done in the past – even despite traditional advertising logic?
• Is your argument industry specific, or are you touting some universal “truth” you’ve constructed that may not apply in this case?
• Do you get the idea but are assuming that consumers won’t?
• Have you taken the time to understand the research/experience supporting the other person’s point of view?
• Are you assuming that consumers are going to be spending hours looking at every minute detail of the ad?
• What is the motivation of your determined doggedness? The work? The success of the campaign? Avoiding the wrath of your boss? Or your ego? More importantly, have you told the other person what your motivation is?
• Do you have any new rationale to add to the discussion, or are you just repeating the same points over and over?
Seven years into the business, I’m still not always right when deciding between “I don’t think that’s a healthy path to go down.” and “No problem – you’ll have it your way!”