When your client is just plain wrong

The dust has settled, but over the recent holidays, a colleague of mine had a particularly tough client. (I’ll not mention names for obvious reasons.)

We’re talking about  a client that is unorganized with resources, inconsistent with direction, unfocused on objectives, and not particularly open to taking advice from the marketing experts she had hired.

What do you do when you find yourself in these situations? After all, she’s the client. She pays the bills. How do you live with that?

I like the approach shared by The Mad Ad Man in his recent blog post. He writes that once you realize that drastic changes have to be made – yet your client is unwilling to upset the status quo – you have two options.  There really are three, but the last is unacceptable.

“You can radically challenge the status quo,” he writes. “You break down the house, clear it out completely, and then rebuild it from the ground back up. This will require a lot of schmoozing, and diplomatic relationship management on your end, but this has a chance of success.”

The other option is “slice by slice change” – “For you, this means, being extremely patient, and starting with smaller projects, making her part of the process, making her buy into the process, and hence, get her support. Then, you will move on to larger projects, until you have gradually changed the status quo.”

The third option is to simply surrender, give up, and wave the white flag. But our author reminds us: “You should be ashamed of yourself though, and I am sure you will feel like a prostitute, only doing it for the money, not for the love of your profession. You won’t last long this way. So no, it’s not an option.”

 

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Robert Hyndman

can be reached at his Laguna Beach studio, 949.497.3179, or by using the form on the Contact Me page.
March 2011
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