There have been a lot of comments in my life and work this week about managing expectations. Every person and business comes into every situation with their own view of what is correct and what is not. That view is based upon a combination of factors including historical bias and current realities. It should be mentioned that none of the expectations are wrong, in the mind of the person perceiving them, as they are based upon the data that they have at that point in time. It is my belief that we have to understand other people’s viewpoints and communicate ours successfully for greatness to happen in marketing.
The challenge is to understand the expectations of all parties involved BEFORE undertaking any new marketing program or campaign. It is the responsibility of the agency to understand what the wants, fears and expectations of the client is PRIOR to beginning the project and working with them so that everyone understands the process AT THE BEGINNING. As well, the agency has to communicate their needs to the client so that they can help the client achieve their desired goals.
No one likes to be surprised and no one needs the stress and anxiety that comes when something goes wrong and the blaming begins. It is much better to lay out the process in the beginning, including creating a process of what to do when there is a miscommunication.
What brought this post to mind was a conversation that I participated on in LinkedIn. The question was, what do you do when you have a marketing piece that has been approved by the client, printed and it is wrong for whatever reason? It could be incorrect data, spelling mistakes, possibly an incorrectly labelled map or anything else you can imagine. The question came down to whose fault was it. My answer is that it is both parties fault and they should work together to fix it.
Both parties should have the understanding at the beginning of the process that this is a team effort. The marketing agency is only as good as the relationship that it has with the client. The more each party trusts the other and realizes that they are both after the same goal, the better the outcome will be. Agencies cannot know every acronym, phone number, statistic or address of a client, or words that are specific to that client or industry. It is the responsibility of the agency to do their due diligence to verify information and ask questions when they are not sure, however, we believe the client should READ and SIGN OFF on the final project to make sure that the agency got it right.
By working together, IN THE BEGINNING, to lay out processes for timelines, budgets, anxieties, desired outcomes, brand requirements and intended audience, that we all have a better chance of developing something great together. It is all about starting a conversation and having open dialogue throughout the process. Simply put, the key ingredient for success is clear communication. Let us work with you to create Tangible Evidence for your brand that Gets YOU Noticed!