Let’s be honest—your agency’s clients probably don’t like marketing as much as we do. Paying you for marketing help is (at best) a means to an end—and at worst, it’s an expense they resent paying.
Now, we all know that companies need to invest in marketing to grow. But most people aren’t enthusiastic about marketing as we are—that’s especially true if your client contacts aren’t full-time marketers themselves. If they’re the owner of their business, they’ve got a million other priorities. They really just want peace of mind.
What your clients tell me they really want from your agency: Not having to worry about marketing
I recently did reference checks for a friend who’s hiring a web agency in a niche industry. Sure, the references confirmed they like how the website looked, but the clients spent more time on soft skills.
It was really all about peace of mind:
- “Not the cheapest, but they didn’t nickel-and-dime me throughout the process.”
- “They were the most responsive.”
- “My plate was really full—[they] took this on and made things so much better.”
- “She went above and beyond. [Her agency] did more than she originally agreed to.”
- “One of the cool things she provided was full, in-depth [WordPress] training after the site is built. I can update everything myself.”
Your clients will remember how you made them feel, not your technical expertise or marketing brilliance. Help your clients feel good, confident, and successful.
Your agency’s clients don’t care about marketing as much as you do
Think about your own experience as a business owner—sure, you know your agency needs to do its own marketing, but you have other priorities, too. You’re also worried about the account manager who’s missed a couple client deadlines, the stupid 401K plan renewal paperwork, and your child’s latest report card. Even as a professional marketer, you’re not constantly thinking about marketing. Imagine what it’s like when marketing is #6 on your list.
As an agency PM, I once inherited a new client after a colleague resigned. I’d heard the client contact was hard to reach and slow to share feedback. When I called to introduce myself, I asked how the project—a user research study—fit into her priorities. She laughed and said, “About #9 in the list.” That information was really helpful—I scaled-back the project pace to match her expectations and everyone was happy.
That’s not to say your clients don’t care at all about what you’re doing for them—they want results—but your specific marketing projects are one of many things on their work checklist.
If a client is slow to respond, don’t take it personally—it’s usually more about them than you.
Question: How do you handle clients where marketing isn’t their top priority?