What do you do when you know a client is wrong?
Do you insist on doing things your wayâ€¦ which you know will yield better results for the client in the long run?
Do you shut up and follow the â€œcustomerâ€™s always rightâ€ doctrine, suppressing your instincts?
Itâ€™s a tricky one!
Iâ€™ve been working on a brochure design and copy package for a small business client, and crafted copy that was designed to draw in the target audience (business executives and top HR Management), engage with them, sell the benefits and prompt them to action.
Yesterday I had a meeting with the client who said they wanted the copy to be â€œless conversationalâ€, get rid of the words â€œyouâ€ and â€œyourâ€ throughout the copy, and generally make it more direct. I politely pointed out the wisdom of making a personal connection with the reader, pushing their emotional triggers to compel them to take actionâ€¦ but the client was insistent. They hadnâ€™t seen anything like Iâ€™d delivered in this business before (â€¦ but isnâ€™t that what theyâ€™d hired me for?).
They proceeded to practically dictate the content to me and, in my mind at least, destroy the effectiveness of the piece in question. It became merely a serial statement of facts: direct to the point of being blunt, dry and austere! I wondered why theyâ€™d bothered to hire a professional writer at all.
At the end of the day, after pointing out that I thought it was less effective, I gave them what they wanted. Itâ€™s their baby after all, and theyâ€™re paying for it.
Itâ€™s a shame, as it would have made a great addition to the portfolio â€” now the only portfolio it will ever see is the recycling receptacle beneath my desk.
The experience highlighted the importance of profiling your clients, and of targeting the ones who either already work with professional writers on a regular basis and appreciate the benefits you bring to the table, or who you know will see the value in what you offer without having to negotiate a protracted learning curve.Oh well â€” I guess you canâ€™t win them all!
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