Surprise! Here is another one of those holiday wishlist-type articles that seem to be a dime a dozen this time of year. In these writers’ defense, wishlist articles really are the most fun to write, as they are little more than a nicely packaged way of telling other people they suck at something.
And, is there really anything more fun than sitting on our high horses — granted to us by the writing gods — and picking on other people? Okay, maybe, but the only way to really find out is to give it a try. So here goes nothing!
I Hope Santa Brings Clients…
Better digital marketing understanding at the executive level: Executives on the client side are amazing at a million different things that I could only dream of being good at. But in many cases, executives still lack knowledge of the basics of digital marketing. I realize there are lots of different pieces to a business, but digital revenues are now often responsible for more than 25% of a client’s total business. So, it is time to understand how digital marketing works and the basic ways to evaluate success.
Better understanding of customers: One thing that still constantly surprises me is how disjointed customer data is: store data isn’t integrated with online, data integrity is a big issue, and overall, it takes entirely too long to evaluate the customer tied to each conversion. I realize there are lots of moving pieces, and it isn’t as easy as tossing it all in a pivot table, but understanding your customer is arguably the most important piece of your business. It helps with retention, acquisition, business planning, sales planning — virtually every part of your business. Not to mention it adds nearly endless efficiency into your entire marketing mix and your overall organization. Make the investment. Pretty please?
Understanding that agencies are partners, not servants: Many clients have figured this out and have very healthy, successful relationships with their agencies. Sadly, there is still a large group of clients that treat agencies like the lowest men on the totem pole. They push agencies to do more work on lower fees, they say jump and expect the agency to ask, “How high?” And for the love of God, the “I don’t see my website when I search on this keyword” emails have got to stop. No one wants to work in that sort of relationship. Treat your agencies like a part of your team, get them invested in your success, care about their success, and good things will happen.
The desire to spend endlessly in digital: Okay, maybe this one is selfish, but I had to throw it in. In my defense, could you imagine how successful you would have been if you had over-invested in search in the early years? Why not take a chance now?
I Hope Santa Brings Agencies…
A better understanding of clients’ overall business: Far too often, agencies work within the confines of the work they are doing and don’t consider clients’ overall business trends. The one that always kills me is when an agency says, “We had a GREAT week and blew away the plan!” but the client’s overall business is well below plan. As a client, this just makes me think: (1) you have no idea what is going with my business, (2) your plan must have been way too soft and (3) I don’t ever want to look at your numbers as an indicator of success. Take the time to get out of the agency world and look at a client’s entire business — it will put your work and your results in better context.
A true understanding of what “direct response” means: Yes, direct response most often means ROI, but there are about 50 other meanings, as well. Effective CPC, email sign-ups, store locators, account sign-ins, new visit rates, product page views, video views, heck, even clicks can be a direct response metric. Most agencies get caught pushing toward one of these metrics, which limits their ability to scale and a client’s opportunity to succeed. It is okay to focus on one metric, but including secondary metrics will expand your campaigns and your impact on the client’s business exponentially.
A better temperament when dealing with vendors: Don’t get me wrong, vendors can be annoying (I will get to them in a minute), but that doesn’t give you the right to treat them terribly and use them as your exclusive ticket broker for all hard-to-see concerts. Learn how to quickly identify the good ones, treat them respectfully, and do good work together. Treat your vendors just as you want clients to treat you.
I Hope Santa Brings Vendors…
Better sales decks: Canned sales decks that you review over a WebEx don’t help. I don’t need to see a slide showing the growth of the Internet or how 75% of your users are between the ages of 14 and 92. Instead, try showing 10 slides with specific ideas on how you fit into a client’s business. That approach would actually be interesting and helpful (and likely get you new business).
A better understanding that emailing everyone in the entire company the exact same introductory email isn’t a good thing: Seriously. You actually think this is a good thing? Also trying to jump from person to person until you get the title you want is just disrespectful and is a good way to guarantee I won’t work with you. You want the deal? Make everyone on my team is your advocate.
Better swag: I know this falls into the “you’re an ungrateful jerk” category, but it is a proven fact that the notebook, oversized t-shirt, cheap pens, bouncy balls, or mystery gift with your giant logo on it was never the impetus for someone reaching out to you with new business.
As for me, there are about a thousand things on my list, too, but perhaps the biggest one is the ability to turn my articles in on time. If I don’t get that, then perhaps all of you wishing Santa would bring the gift of a new author that is slightly less jaded might get exactly what you are wishing for.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.