My colleagues and I in the marketing agency business are always debating the definition of a “good” client. Our opinions are as different as we are individuals. The truth of the matter is that many times the decision to stay with a specific client comes down to income. Mary-Lynn Bellamy-Willms of Function Fox and Suburbia Advertising wrote an article entitled, “Bad Clients are Easy to Find” that hits the nail on the head.
Ms. Bellamy-Willms created this quick check list you should ask yourself before you embark on a new client relationship:
Will this be a bad client? The Four-Point Checklist:
- The client’s brief is unclear and unfocused. Yes____ No____
- The client claims they don’t know what their budget is, but for some reason, they think you can define one. Yes____ No____
- The client asks for free strategy, free creative and cost estimates before they agree to pay you for any of it. Yes____ No____
- The client’s timeline is ridiculous. Yes____ No____
For any of you in the agency world that read this list, I’m betting you burst out laughing (I admit I did!). It’s rare to find a client that you can’t say yes for at least a few of these. If you’re a client, be honest, can you say “no” to these questions? If not, you should fix that before you go on an agency search.
The author also outlined a number of tips for spotting a good client. Here are what I consider to be the top three:
- Provide you with thoughtful, clear direction
- Provide you with a realistic budget
- Provide you with a reasonable timeline
At the end of the article, the author pointed out what I consider to be the most important point – a client/agency relationship (or any relationship for that matter) is based on mutual respect. The agency must respect the client’s business and the client must respect the value the agency is bringing to the table. If those two things are missing, run for the hills.
Bravo and thanks to Ms. Bellamy-Willms for so clearly articulating what all of us in the business talk about regularly. Click here to check out the full article for yourself.