I just read your recent article (“Stupid Client Tricks,” Tim O’Leary, July 24) and wanted to say “bravo” to you!
Your article really hit home. As a recent ex-pat of the premier global direct agency and part of a brand conglomerate of advertising companies, I experienced firsthand (over many years) the sheer stupidity of many clients forcing our parent company to drive and manage their direct initiatives much to our amazement! Though I have to say that a lot of the decisions came with persuasion from our parent company, the “advertising” arm.
My own deduction, over many years of scratching my head over this one, was that this was a direct result of the advertising agency’s fear of losing the business and just not believing in the power of direct – more of a job security position. You can imagine how insane that was, being that this direct agency was the creator of the entire industry and a sister company, but it happened all the time.
I have to say that I am not in total agreement with your article. As a recent business startup, I run a customer contact channel consulting business and know that what my organization brings to the table is relevant for clients and, if you are a real practitioner of direct, the sheer nature of business requires you to continually stay on the cutting edge of new technologies, new tactics and strategies. Because the business is a test, learn and refine process, you are constantly forced to know and understand what is working today.
I do, however, agree with your back-end mismanagement statement. I am constantly amazed at how clients consistently and openly dismiss their customer touch points as if they are “nice-to-haves” as opposed to the linchpin to delivering the brand experience, the revenue and improving profit margins. I was always finding myself educating the clients as to why their four-person customer service department couldn’t handle a large national DRTV rollout!
Thank you for writing a great article and for educating the masses. It’s an important message. Sometimes the truth hurts.
Ellen Ryan, CEO, The Relationship Marketing Factory, New York
I used to run The Hacker Group. From my experience, you are right on. I think clients get dumber by the day: no training, bad management, group-grope decision making (“Stupid Client Tricks,” Tim O’Leary, July 24). I know you’ve seen it all.
I wanted to say this for years, but I was in the middle of an earn-out and didn’t want to affect even $1 of revenue. I also posted my first blog ever to your article. You’ll enjoy it. I should get some heat, too. But I don’t care.
Robert C. Hacker, CEO, Arcanum Ltd., Bainbridge Island, WA
I just wanted to tell you good article in DM News’ July 24 issue. After 20 years of direct marketing, I enjoyed reading “Stupid Client Tricks.”
Maybe your next article could be, “Clients that do all their direct marketing in-house, or the fast roadway to disaster.”
Chuck Kiesewetter, Regional director – Southeast, BannerDirect Inc.,
New Port Richey, FL