How To Be A Good Client (aka Top Tips for Marketing Directors)

How To Be A Good Client (aka Top Tips for Marketing Directors)

Having previously written guides for agencies, I thought it was high time I wrote a guide for clients.

Working as an an interim and consultant, I regularly see examples of (often unintentional) poor client practice, so here’s a summary of my Top Tips for Marketing Directors (read the full piece here). It’s not a comprehensive list, just a starter for 10, so if you have any top tips (or horror stories) of your own, I’d love to hear them.

1. Employ people better than you. Or at least with skills you don’t have. This includes your internal team and your agencies.

2. Remember you work in a team. Keep people motivated and involved and don’t take all the glory. There’s nothing worse than a marketing director who claims all the credit for a successful campaign.

3. Treat your agencies as partners. One of the ‘worst practice’ examples I regularly see is senior marketing managers who believe agencies should be kept separate and at arms length.

4. Be the voice of the consumer. Your job is to represent your customers and have their best interests at heart. Ensure you’re providing what they actually want, not just what you happen to sell.

5. Take ownership of CSR. The number of recent corporate scandals demonstrate that morality and transparency are sorely lacking in modern business. Whether it’s problems in the supply chain or tax ‘avoidance’, the crap will hit the Marketing Director’s fan at some point, so take the lead.

6. Be brave. Following a strategy of ‘known limited gains’ won’t deliver big improvements to your bottom line, the customer experience or staff morale. Occasionally your business strategy will need an overhaul. Learn how to recognize that moment and know how to tackle it.

7. Be honest. To your team, your agencies, your board and your customers.

8. Keep current, keep learning. It used to be a lack of media knowledge that was a client’s guilty secret, now it’s digital.

9. Know when to hold your ground and when to back down. In every discussion.

10. Network. LinkedIn is both loved and loathed, but undeniably useful. Keeping track of your contacts, networking and referrals are the backbone of good business, and always have been.

If you have a client – or are a client – that could do with some best-practice advice, I’d be happy to help. Just get in touch.

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Sam Bridger is an interim executive specialising in marketing roles across all sectors.


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