Help Me Help You

What’s the biggest mistake clients make when approaching an agency to handle their marketing? They think we as marketers magically have all the answers! This article explains both sides of the spectrum while giving tips on good communication and goal establishment with clients. Written by Juliet Rocco

Yesterday, I was attending a meeting for a specific campus project which is currently in progression throughout the year and launching for the next school year. Six of us sat around in the boardroom and discussed the groundwork and expectations for the project. I was the only marketing/business major at the meeting and trust me, I stuck out, but in a good way.

Once the project was introduced by the faculty members, people were kind of quiet so I decided to take the initiative and ask the question that probably hadn’t even crossed any of my peers’ minds yet. It was the most elementary of marketing questions, “Who is our target market?” I asked. They all looked at me at first as if I had three heads, then the light bulbs around me began to go on…“Wow, that’s a great question” one of the faculty members said, “I guess we hadn’t thought of that yet.”

First and foremost, how could they not identify the target market of this project? As you can imagine, I was having a mini, half heart-attack at this point, slowly trying to recover and throw my business intellect into overdrive!

Now, if you are a business major and you’re in the sales/marketing/advertising field, you’re probably experiencing some nausea right now. We’ve all had to answer this question hundreds, maybe thousands of times. I cannot blame them, however, for not thinking this through in the very beginning stages. They haven’t been wired to think this way and that’s why I’m on board for this project in the first place.

I’m not a marketing guru by any means (yet), but I can confidently state that every successful idea or product is where it is today because of good marketing and smart business decisions. Here are some questions and tips for your group members or clients when heading a project:

  • What is your budget?
  • Who is your target market?
  • Where are you now & what goals do you want met? (timeline)
  • Describe your company/product in three words.
  • Expectations from us?
  • Our Expectations while working with you.

Takeaway: When working with clients on a project, it is very important to establish these main goals and get these questions answered in the beginning stages. Miscommunication has teeth sharper than a great white shark and will come back to bite you! Be patient and understanding with clients. Remember that this is a two-way street and goals and expectations need to be met by both parties.

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