In Advertising, The Client Is Always Right…Even When You’re Convinced They’re Wrong.
In the business world, we all know that the client is “always right”. However, to what extent should you willingly agree with everything the client says? In the advertising field, the answer to that question is “It just depends.” Most clients are not marketing and advertising professionals. That’s why they hired you. On the other hand, it’s their money and they can do with it as they see fit.
Ad agencies spend much of their life in a constant state of learning. They spend years perfecting advertising using the highest standards, while still keeping their campaigns unique. Since many clients are not in the creative field, they have not spent much time learning about advertising. Because of this, clients hire ad agencies to create their business branding and marketing campaigns. They implicitly trust their agency to get their business noticed in a cluttered advertising world.
However, this “perfect world” for advertisers is not always possible. Not all clients are willing to trust the professionals that they hire. Many clients control the design and marketing process. They suggest graphical touches such as large red starbursts that say “SALE,” neon purple banners that say “SPECIAL,” and perhaps a random photo of a kitten because it looks cute. This is all well and good except when it’s an ad for…let’s say shoes, not cat food.
As an advertising agency, we are not here to be YES people. We are here to advise. But we are definitely NOT here to argue. We can only push the envelope so far. If you’re so convicted that you’re right to the point of risking losing the client, you might as well go ahead and kiss that client “Goodbye.” And think about this: Do you REALLY know everything? Clients don’t get where they are by being stupid. The client/agency relationship is a partnership. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride, abandon our vision and let the client take the wheel. Sometimes clients’ ideas actually work even though we are convinced they won’t. And believe it or not, sometimes kittens on ads can pack in a crowd at that shoe store. Who knew?