15 Ways To Handle Client Requests That Could Damage The Campaign

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15 Ways To Handle Client Requests That Could Damage The Campaign

In agency-client relationships, the client plays an important role in helping to develop successful marketing campaigns for their brand.

Certain clients, however, feel inclined to take the lead instead of allowing their marketing partners to do what they do best. Sometimes, they’ll ask for changes to be made to the copy, design, direction or other aspects of a project that, in the expert judgment of their agency, would likely damage the campaign.

To help marketers deal with this issue, a panel of Forbes Agency Council members shared tips for maintaining a healthy balance of client input in campaign development.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Talk Through Their Concerns

Learning to work together is core to the client-agency relationship and overall account success, but nothing happens overnight. Clients who trust the firms they work with tend to be more open to feedback than those who don’t and may lack confidence in the guidance being provided. Understanding why that is, talking through scenarios and bringing in third-party opinions would be most productive here. – Chi Zhao, Hokku PR

2. Run An A/B Test Campaign

When this happens, we run a campaign with the client’s recommendations as well as a campaign with our recommendations. This allows the client to see the results for both, and then we can make a more informed decision moving forward. In some cases, you just have to remind the client why they hired you in the first place. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

3. Explain Your Strategy

The most common reasons clients regularly try to make changes to the campaign are unclear goals or brand vision in the strategy development stage or a desperate desire to copy their competitors’ successful campaigns. In both cases, it’s crucial to speak to them and explain the advantages of the selected strategy. – Oganes Vagramovich Barsegyan, Digital Beverly Marketing Solutions

4. Be As Open As Possible

My one tip for dealing with clients who regularly try to make changes to aspects that, in our judgment, could damage the campaign is to be as open as possible. There have to be certain boundaries in order for us to create successful campaigns, but for the most part, small changes in design or copy will most likely not cause a significant difference in results. Add their creatives and begin to test. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

5. Weigh The Impact Of Client Input

There is give and take in every successful relationship. The client is the expert in their product or service, and the agency is the brand and messaging expert. When clients provide marketing direction, weigh the impact (positive or negative) on the campaign and provide expert recommendations for moving forward. If this is an ongoing issue, the agency decides which battles to fight and which to let go. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

6. Identify The Cause Of The Pushback

Do they think the campaign is off-brand, or is it that the business is developing into new, unfamiliar territory? If it’s the former, then the creative teams need to realign to make sure they fully understand the brand. If the latter is true, then walk the client through data and research that explains the “why” behind the “what” of your campaign strategy. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

7. Explain How Your Process Is Proven And Tested

We make sure that our clients understand that there is a process to everything we do. It’s a proven and tested algorithm. While we welcome and encourage their ideas and suggestions, we can’t just randomly jump in and change what’s been agreed upon because every effort takes time to be measured. If you keep changing shoes on the go, you’ll never know which pair is the most comfortable. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Let Clients Define Goals, Not How To Get There

Keep them accountable for changing their goal if they also try to define how you are going to get there. If you hired a plumber, and your goal was to fix a leak, you would never tell him to use a different pipe upon his arrival. And if you did insist, the plumber would not be able to properly fix your leak. Clients can define their goal, and you can tell them how you’ll get there, but they can’t define both. – Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia

9. Duplicate Facebook Ad Campaigns And Let Them Tinker

We love it when clients are involved with our campaigns. It means they are trying to understand how the ads work. However, when it comes to Facebook ads, we often have a talk about how changes can wipe away all our data and learning from the algorithm, which will cost them higher ad prices. If they want to test something, we’ll duplicate the campaign and let them tinker in the new area. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

10. Test Your Client’s Hypothesis

Despite my experience, I never pretend that I know what the results will be. What I insist on is testing the client’s hypothesis as well as our own to see what the results are. Because our clients understand their customers so well, we’re often pleasantly surprised at how well their recommendation works. Other times, they’re surprised by ours. Keep an open mind! – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

11. Take The Conversation Offline

Move the conversation to a phone or Zoom meeting. Often your expertise isn’t communicated in the same way through email or text. Take the conversation offline and reiterate that you are concerned about being able to produce the best work for your client. – Kelly Samuel, Snack Toronto

12. Showcase Your Expertise

If it’s an ongoing issue, let them go. There isn’t much you can do for a client who doesn’t reasonably value your expertise except push words and pixels around on a page and waste their budget. But first, have you done enough to show that you are an expert? It may be too late for this relationship, but identifying how they lost faith could set your next relationship up to be much more successful. – Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai

13. Always Be Respectful Of All Client Feedback

Continue to remind them of the mutual goals of the campaign and the metrics they seek to achieve. Position any changes or creative direction coming from the agency as recommendations that are tailored to the client’s goals and KPIs to ensure mutual understanding and alignment. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

14. Remind Them Of Your Responsibilities

I was told by a client that once a strategy was decided upon, her job was done. That is because copy and design are best left up to the experts; they have the responsibility to connect the audience to the brand promise on both emotional and logical levels. If your client is looking to make changes for the sake of changes, remind them of that. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

15. Express Appreciation For Their Input

Always appreciate your clients’ input because they play a crucial role in the outcome of your marketing campaigns. Be sure to take into account what they are saying, then show them how their ideas can be combined with your team’s skills and experience. Nobody wants their ideas to be shut down completely, but in this case, their ideas can be transformed into something that fits into your vision. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

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