June 28, 2018
John Mulder

The Client is (NOT) Always Right

There has been a phrase used in retail for decades that had become a veritable truism in customer service and yet it’s completely wrong. The customer is always right. It has of course evolved into the client is always right in service industries. I don’t believe that’s true and have never really embraced it as a business owner. I believe the client isn’t always right. I do believe however, the client is always the client. Let me explain my meaning.

I believe it is our responsibility to do what’s right for our clients at all times. And that includes telling you that you are wrong when you are indeed wrong. It’s the reason you hired us. To offer insight, advice and guidance rooted in experience. To only do what you want, to be an order taker, simply doesn’t work. Especially if we know what you’re asking for is detrimental in some way.

You see, most of the time, clients are too close to their business to look at it objectively. That’s why they need our outside eyes – to help you see yourself the way your customers do. And that perspective is never more vital than when it comes to marketing.

When cultivating a campaign or an ad, the number one objective should be to think about your customer – not your business. Many businesses get wrapped up in advertising about themselves: their credentials, their successes, their strong suits. That approach is wrong. The message that really matters is how the customer will benefit from doing business with you.

Approaching your marketing this way can feel uncomfortable. But, the discomfort you feel from going against the grain will ultimately result in a better campaign. Just because it doesn’t feel like an ad doesn’t mean it won’t work.  In fact, ads that sound or read like ads are the ones we hate and intentionally ignore. It’s wrong to make ads that focus solely on your company.

The objectivity that outside eyes bring to the table is what helps you to see both where your business dominates and where it may be lacking. At 3Seed, we’re creatures of creativity, so what we come up with may feel totally out of left field for some people. Often however, those off-the-wall concepts are the ones that end up being the most successful campaigns. It’s wrong to immediately dismiss ideas because they are different.

As a partner with you, an open dialog is essential. We aren’t the type of people who are unbending and insist on creative control. Instead, we listen, recommend, and adapt to your concerns. We aren’t going to create something that will drive customers away. Our job is to attract them and to cut through.

If your current agency believes that because you are the client, that you are always right, looks to you for ideas, and simply gives you what you want, I urge you to go outside of your comfort zone, and partner with someone who offers a different perspective. That’s where creativity lives. And that’s never wrong.

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