Tip 4 - Advice For Agencies Looking For An Edge - A Client's Perspective


"We don't nickel and dime customers with extra fees; other airlines do." - Southwest Airlines

4. It's not your money. If you’re wondering why that tension exists between you and your client, it’s probably got something to do with the money that isn’t yours. You know, the money you’re seeking in proposal after proposal that appears as if you think your client has direct access to the U.S. Mint.

Would you really spend that kind of money to market your agency? I didn’t think so. In fact, I’ve not seen you spend much of your own money promoting your agency at all. So surprise us with a proposal that looks like you thought about our money once in awhile. Be a little different and show us what hungry, scrappy, and efficient looks like.

nickel and dime

Southwest Airlines is currently running ads making fun of its competitors for charging extra fees for checked bags, window seats, aisle seats, snacks, curbside checking in, and fuel surcharges. They call those charges "nickel and diming." It's great marketing, because it allows Southwest to differentiate itself from their competition. It's also smart because we all know how much customers hate to be nickel-and-dimed - just like clients do.

Take my advice and make the nickel and diming stop. No more mark-up on the copies you make, the supplies you use or the phone calls you place. It might surprise you to know that it’s frequently those seemingly petty charges that make us a little crazy and end up driving a wedge between your agency and our account.

While I’m on the subject, another pet peeve is being invoiced for costs associated with having meetings, particularly when we’re holding a meeting to discus strategy that will end up in project and campaign work for your firm. We’re happy to pay for the work, but billing us for the half-dozen agency staff who attend, though explainable, isn’t a practice that endears you as a partner. So turn off the clock; we don’t get paid by the hour and neither should you.

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The Fine Print

Rod Brooks (that's me) is VP & CMO of PEMCO Mutual Insurance Company and serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).  It's important to disclose both of those relationships and to be clear that this is my personal blog where I share thoughts and opinions that are solely my own.  Contact me!

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