There’s the old saying that the reason God gave us two ears and one mouth is so that we will listen twice as much as we talk. As marketing professionals we have the ability and experience to create a strategy and a concept that fits with our clients personalities, but listening is an essential skill. So why is it that so many agencies create projects that are a waste of a client’s time and money? Is it the client’s fault that some agencies mutilate themselves by cutting off one ear? A client comes to an agency for our expertise, not to dictate solutions. At least I hope not.
How do you make sure an agency has their facial features intact? By listening of course. See if they really understand your marketing challenges and what you are talking about.
Even if a client only has one ear, there are ways to act professionally and make them do what’s right. In my experience an agency can do that by methodically building a concept and strategy based in a solid understanding of the challenge. Using relevance, originality and honesty mixed with fact based arguments can make a client pay attention and start nodding “yes” from the start of a presentation. Once he or she has started nodding in a positive direction, it is hard not to continue nodding “yes”. Try it. :-) We have rarely been turned down by a client since we also involve him or her from the start in our information collection and fact finding mission. Listening is key. I believe it is important to have the ability to work from the inside out to articulate the essence of who you really are as a company, what you are passionate about, what your competitive edge is and what it is you want to achieve. This perspective, as opposed to only imposing a set formula or signature, is an exceedingly valuable ability.
How does your agency look behind the mask? One mouth or two?