We all define the ideal client in many ways, but essentially it boils down to two things: the ideal client relationship is one in which you make money and have an appreciable impact on your client. Sure, you want to enjoy the relationship, you want referrals, you want prompt payment, you want to work with a decision maker, and a dozen other things. But those two things are the really important ones: money and impact.
We talk about money in various other position papers—here I want to talk about impact.Read More
Whatever convergence means to you, it’s usually spoken of in terms of how your work for clients is crossing media boundaries. However direct the relationship, a fallout from this trend has been the convergence among providers, too. In other words, labeling something as an “ad agency, a public relations firm, a design studio, or an interactive company” is difficult to do without an asterisk to explain how the label doesn’t really fit.Read More
You may think this crowdsourcing movement is like a big trencher, circling closer and closer as you seek to hold the fort of relevance and value to clients.
You may indeed think that, but I believe you’re wrong. I really do think this movement is good, and here’s why. Even if we end up disagreeing on that point, it really doesn’t matter. The change is already underway, and resisting it makes as much sense as promising to hold an inner tube under water forever.Read More
I’m not sure who penned the maxim that “the customer is always right,” but that statement really is too much of a generalization. And lately I’ve seen way too many creative firms caring too much about what their customers think.Read More
Many firms began facing a downturn early in 2001. Though it was immediately easier for them to find qualified employees with the tech implosion, their clients were making more conservative spending decisions. This affected design firms the worst, and public relations firms the least. (Advertising firms seemed to be between the two.) This position paper was written during that time, hoping that the lessons could be memorialized.Read More
The reason marketing firms fail is not creativity, location, or the marketplace. It’s management ability. Your firm is a direct reflection of you, and you must take responsibility for it. Here are the most common dozen mistakes we see marketing firms make. If you are managing a firm now, you’ll identify immediately. If you are an employee, this might give you some context for the decisions you may not agree with. If you are considering starting a company, this will help you learn from the mistakes of others.Read More
The more prospects learn about you on their own, already aware of your expertise and primed to hire your firm, the less time and money you need to spend on selling your services. The easiest way to achieve that is to be viewed as a thought leader among those prospects you serve in the marketing field, which begs the question about your positioning. For example, only about a dozen people can really be experts in “branding,” so you’re going to need to be a lot more niched than that. Once you are, you’ll know what to say, who to say it to, and how to find that group of people who will gladly give you their money.Read More
Which one do you have? The lines are blurred, obviously, and sometimes the answer is not intuitive. If you have less freedom and more responsibility than ever, you might very well have a company. If you enjoy it, you certainly don’t have a job. And if you have visions of getting rich, you might very well have a hobby. Just kidding!
If you want to be taken seriously, you should have a company. And it doesn’t matter if you have no employees or dozens of them. But if you think of what you do as a business, you’ll do more planning, craft a compelling positioning for the marketplace, and think quite differently about the financial component of what you do.Read More
There’s a lot of confusion in the marketplace about hourly rates, and the bad practices in the past don’t deserve emulation now. Let’s think a little more clearly about the function of hourly rates at your firm.Read More
A large percentage of the marketing community works at in-house departments within large corporations. The designers and illustrators and photographers and writers and strategists who choose to work in those settings do so for the opportunity, structure, benefits, predictable hours, career paths, and greater collaboration.
If you doubt that a large percentage of designers, for example, are not working for small firms, attend any conference in this field and just look at the attendee list. But in spite of their large numbers, they are underserved in some ways. All the craft topics are applicable, but there is very little advice on how to run a marketing department. How should it be structured? What systems will ensure good work that is also timely? How should that department be marketed?Read More