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Clients get what they deserve

27 April 2010 No Comment

There’s a trend in marketing circles between agency and client. It goes something like this. Client wants to find the very best agency they can to help them market their wares for the best possible price. Client puts out an Request For Information (RFI) to find an appropriate suitor. Client then invites a smaller number of agencies to a Request For Proposal (RFP) that amounts to that agency making their case for why they should be selected. If the client is indecisive, of low moral fiber, or just not very bright, they invite a very large number of agencies back for RFP. The courtship takes place, a suitor is selected, and then the dance around final money begins. The winner seems to be, after all this effort and match making, the one that can screw the other the most. Now if this was a regular courtship between two people, you might think that’s the point of the whole affair. But in this case, it’s not. More to the point, it’s incredibly destructive. Two months later the client has an expectation level for what they going to get that they’re not paying for and the agency starts out looking for new ways to trick the client into paying a premium for additional services so they can at least break even. And this is how the ad industry – in very, very broad-brush strokes does business. It’s quite ridiculous. Call me old fashioned, call me romantic, but wouldn’t it strike more loyalty and more ambition to really go above and beyond if the client actually said “I understand the cost of getting things done in this open market. I’m willing to pay what the work will cost but I expect the very best quality and your full attention on my business.” For that client, you would know it was worth going the extra mile. You’d give it the extra effort. Such a rare beast you would prize above all others. But that’s not what happens. Pity. And, I’m sure that a large part of where one of David Ogilvy’s classic quotes comes from is driven by this: “Clients usually get the work they deserve”.

- David Shearer

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