The Client List: 4 Types of Clients, Pain Points and How to Deal
At HMG, we love our wonderful family of clients and customers. But, like any large family, there are a few that can, well, drive you a little crazy. Throughout my time working at PR, advertising and creative agencies I have noticed a distinctive trend in some of the “problem child” clients that take extra time, energy and effort to work with. While there are dozens of categories and sub-categories like law of attraction (I can’t wait to read the comments!), I have done my best to narrow down the 4 most common, and troublesome, types of clients that make Account Managers across the country face-palm almost every day.
1. The Defensive Line
Think 260+ lbs., Texas born and bred defensive players. Their goal? To keep the offense from proceeding down the field, of course. And this is exactly how most of us feel when faced with a Defensive Line client. These clients or individuals tend to halt any forward progress you and your agency tries to make on their behalf. But they hired you, right? Last you checked you were the expert on hand to provide guidance on communications and lead the company to new, exciting territory. Well, not always. Frustrations and confusion almost always accompany this type of client as agencies feel they are working against, not with your efforts.
Telling Signs: Emails including the phrases: “This looks great, but..” “This is a little too much change for us.” Or “Let’s stick with what we already have in place.”
Symptoms: Stillborn campaigns, Account Executive migraines from beating on desk, drained agency hours with nothing to show, bi-polar or apathetic creative team
Remedy: Remember that you are on the same team. Try to understand and communicate with the client on intentions when creating a new strategy or creative direction. The client either wants the assurance of your capabilities (should they finally commit to change), is appeasing a task from higher up for new ideas or at the end of the day is protecting a brand that they built and a shift will be incremental, if any. If the client appreciates and likes your work, congrats. They know your value. I guess the questions for the agency would be: Is having a solid offense strategy enough or are you tired of standing on the sidelines in this game? Regardless, identifying and understanding this client is key to a stress-free relationship.