You Know, Clients Can Be Really, Really Helpful

Seriously.  And for far more than mere budgets and fees.  As smart as we advertising people like to consider ourselves, clients know far, far more about their own business, and occasionally, about ours as well.

Ahh Questions: The Leading Cause of Answers
Ahh Questions: The Leading Cause of Answers

At Element 79, we try to tap into that client knowledge with a simple new business exercise called–rather unimaginatively–“What You Want.” After presenting some quantitative findings or syndicated research insights or online survey results, we move to more personal, more opinion-based topics looking for more human gut responses. Anyone can answer questions like “The thing agencies never seem to understand about my business is ____” or “I really hate it when agencies  ____ .”

Just last week, we met with a potential client who gave us a tremendous idea.  When we asked “What was the best thing you ever got out of a past agency relationship,” he replied “One of my prior agencies used to send monthly updates and as a part of them, they would always include a list of things we could do better.”

What a terrific idea: actionable, pragmatic and admirably direct.  If we did that with every client, we would have a regular, scheduled opportunity to both address nagging issues before they blow up, and to introduce innovative ideas that serve the brand, whether or not they lie beyond our scope.  I would love to work with this potential client in the future, but I’m copping his idea today.

Yes, great ideas can come from anywhere.  You just gotta remember to ask the questions. 

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

One thought on “You Know, Clients Can Be Really, Really Helpful

  1. tom says:

    And you know what else that does? It makes us think about our client’s work beyond the last we did for them. We are thinking and not reacting. Clients love it when we come up with the ideas and not them.

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