Professional “YES” Men (II) – Femi Osobajo Jnr
In today’s business environment, somewhere along the line, the need to maximize profits with minimal investment capital concomitant with a messy agency landscape contributed to the degenerating image credited to client service execs. More often than none, agencies tend to place three accounts or more on one client service exec, expecting top managerial, productive and relationship performance in todays market. A market that changes complexity and dynamism daily, approaches to marketing problems alternate per day, still, the client service exec receives time crunching requests from pressured clients, who demand up-to-date winning marketing solutions for time sensitive brands / business. All these factors make it extremely arduous for top client service execs to function optimally.
When it comes to the advertising business, finding the right balance between giving the client what they want and what they truly need is always a challenge. In otherwords, trying to avoid being just a “yes man” is often a difficult task for client service to overcome.
The Client is Always…
The notion that “the Client is always right” is not always the best solution,It is usually very often than not a recipe for disaster. Clients are driven by a variety of motivations – pleasing top management, managing tight budgets, increasing profit margins / reaching targets, and producing quality work.
Striking the perfect balance makes the Client Service Executives job one of the toughest in the ad business, as they are in the front lines daily, making real-time critical decision while managing multiple accounts. Listen, Client service is never going to be viewed as the most glamorous part of agency life, but getting it right can be as much of an art as anything your creative team might do. To resist being just a “yes man,” apply the following tips, which will help ensure that you build and maintain a solid relationship with your client while delivering excellent client service:
- Be Different: Make an effort to not do the norm, what is expected when dealing with your client. Forget being politically correct for a second, as humans when you give the “expected” you tend to always come off as predictable and boring. Always make sure you bring something fresh and new to the table.
- Know your client’s industry, business and brand as well, if not better than they do.
- Enquire about budget (not for the purpose of increasing profit margins for your agency) to understand what is feasible or other creative avenues to generate value for your client at minimal or no cost.
- Always keep the work on strategy
- Don’t hear, listen
- Understand why the client wants a deliverable urgently. Never push back unless you fully understand the situation.
- Never be afraid to deliver honest answers and feedback. People who are “yes men” fear the client.
In the end, ultimately, Agencies should be held accountable for producing great client service executive by limiting multiple account management responsibilities. Today’s marketplace is evolving rapidly in a fast paced world, with distracted and busy consumers. Market insight is now time bound, it shifts and progresses along side market forces. Client service executive need proper spells in brands they manage. After all, the success of an Agency often lies in the palms of a confident client service not professional “yes” men – and what they (Agency) choose to do with that power is what sets them apart from the rest.
Femi Osobajo, a marketing communications / corporate communications professional with OVH Energy (Oando Licensee), a downstream oil and gas company contributed this piece from Lagos. Femi can be reached @osobajoolufemi