Mistakes Clients Make: Part 4

Written by Ashley Smith

We’re back with another installment of our “Mistakes Clients Make” blog. Here’s a quick rundown of the previous blogs you may have missed:

  1. Thinking Everyone is your Target Audience
  2. Thinking There is Plenty of Time Before the Deadline
  3. Thinking Change Happens Overnight

The next blog might sound a little out there, a little off the wall… but don’t click out just yet, hear us out. Mistakes we see out Clients make part 4 is:

“Thinking That the Client is Always Right.”

That might sound strange. The client pays the bills, so they make all the rules, right? Well, yes and no. See, at 5ivecanons we don’t like to waste any time. Just ask Adam, our resident time manager. Each and every one of us has worked previously at agencies where no one gave a second thought to time, including but not limited to these (over-embellished) circumstances: “Sure, go ahead and spend 3 days on this pitch that everyone knows we’ll never win.” “Oh yeah, this project looks good enough. Let’s send it through for approval.” “Wow, (CEO of company name), that is really a GREAT idea! We love it.”

These are all examples of wasted time — on behalf of the agency, the client, and all individuals involved; which translates to a serious loss of revenue.

But we’re not here to inflate any egos, make false promises, or tell any lies. We’re here to do the best work for your company that we can do. We’re here to challenge you, your team, and ourselves with fantastic, award-winning work that drives real engagement, not just likes generated by robots on a page. We’re here to help you succeed. And sometimes, that may mean an honest conversation about what we believe is right.

We’ve lost work from clients before because of our honesty, but it’s not something we regret. When we finish work with the 5ivecanons stamp of approval, that really means something to us. Putting our best foot forward with perfectly manicured toes, pained nails, and lotioned heels… not just some nasty foot fungus wrapped in a pretty shoe. We will tell a client when we think something is a bad idea, even to our own detriment, because we honestly believe in our product.

We won’t sit to the side and tell you your idea is great just to watch it fail; we’ll counter with ideas of our own, and work as a team to keep the bare bones of your concept and build it into something stronger. As everyone knows, good work costs money… and the worst thing you could do would be to spend all that money and see no change at all.

Oftentimes clients may be so used to one way of doing things that it becomes a burden on their future products and impacts their bottom line. But we truly believe in open collaboration between the 5ivecanons team and our clients. If you’re going to spend money hiring an advertising agency, make sure it’s one you can trust and rely on to tell you the truth — not just say ‘yes sir’ to anything thrown on the table.

Let’s make an analogy. Your company sells frisbees, and you’ve always advertised in the kids’ section at toy stores. Kids love frisbees, always have, and you’re making pretty decent sales, so you must be doing something right. So you hire an ad agency to market a new campaign for your frisbee to more kids in the toy aisle. Except, after looking at the data, we found out that while your frisbees ARE making sales, the people that are actually buying the most of them aren’t parents of children, but dog owners. Turns out dogs love your frisbee more than kids, and market research shows that kids favor electronics over frisbees. Who would have known! Now the advertising agency is selling a whole new campaign of ‘the perfect dog frisbee’, and they’re flying off the shelves, literally. You’ve just increased your revenue tenfold by selling the exact same product to a different audience.

Now, we’re certainly not saying every company has a story like this. But this is a prime example of letting your agency take the lead, do the market research and discovery, and find out what you REALLY need to do. If we kept the age-old rule of “The client is always right”, you’d be making the same annual revenue you’ve been making for years. If the agency had just said ‘yes ma’am’ without a second thought, you wouldn’t have any growth.

At 5ivecanons we have a motto: “Without challenge, there is no growth.” We’re here to challenge our clients to get the BEST possible outcome for them, even if that means digging a little deeper and realizing that what the client thought was right, was actually wrong.

The moral of the story is this: no matter what advertising agency you choose, make sure it’s one you can collaborate with. One that will explore all of the options and find the best fit, not just the quickest, cheapest, or prettiest. And if any of them tell you ‘Sure thing, right away’ without asking any questions, ask yourself some questions about why you hired them in the first place.