. The Transom .

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The difference between what companies say and what they want

This probably falls under the 'repeating the obvious' category, but I feel it's worth bringing up.  We have recently been involved with several new business pitches, from very large opportunities to fairly modest.  In almost every instance, what we are told the client-to-be is looking for is in fact not at all what they really want.  This can cause many problems, most obviously hiring a firm that will do what they were told, but not what is needed.  It also wastes an incredible amount of time on both the agency and client side.  When the client is putting together an RFP, it's usually written in marketing-speak.  That is, the client wants this or that from a marketing perspective.  They want to see examples of good creative, they want an understanding of our understanding of strategy, they want to see past media results, etc etc.  

What I see very few, if any, clients doing is really checking references.  Sure, they all ask for three references, but I've yet to run across more than one company that has actually called any of our references.  Not that past performance is a huge indicator of future results, but working relationships and the personal nature of our business would suggest a need for a few questions to people that worked with us previously.  

Additionally, very few clients focus on business results.  Sure, they want to see them, but it isn't usually a part of the discovery process.  They are more excited about what kind of success we've had with which media outlet.  What they should be concerned about is whether or not we made an impact on our clients' business.  The rest is just dressing.  Either we helped a company grow or we didn't.  Sometimes helping a company grow can mean keeping it from shrinking, but that's another topic altogether.  

So this is a call to all potential clients out there asking you to please look at what's really important instead of what's easy to glitz on a PowerPoint presentation.  Everyone has fancy show and tell.  Not every firm has measurable results.  If you're just getting stacks of clips or anecdotal responses to program effectiveness, you're wasting a lot of time and money.  


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home