Can Demanding Clients Make Stronger Publicists?

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” - Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp.

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We’ve all had days when we think no matter what we do for a client that it is never enough. We get a great media opportunity, coverage appears in a top publication, and then we find out from the client that this is nice, but they want more. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for publicists? Personally, I’m starting to believe it to be a good thing. If anything, it shows us that the client wants us to do more because they trust us and know that we CAN make things happen, and not that they want to keep piling up more work on our plate. If we weren’t capable then they wouldn’t give us more responsibility.

How many times have you wished for an ‘easy client’ and someone that constantly praised your work? If you answered ‘all the time’ then I’m sure you’re not alone … I’ve definitely been in your shoes! But I’ve learned that every client is different and you may not necessarily like them all, but again, that’s a good thing. Whether it’s working with a large global brand or a startup company in search of a few media placements, we’ve all experienced that challenging, high-maintence client. They want results no matter what the cost. This can make our lives difficult, stressful, and even make us question our desire to work in this type of environment. But isn’t this exactly the type of client that will push us to the max? To make us think more creatively and come up with new ways to achieve greater success?

I’m not saying that having a challenging client is fun, but we’re certainly learning something from them everyday, and I’m not sure you can put a price tag on that type of experience.

Please take the poll below and lets see what the PR community thinks about this. And a special thanks to my boss, @ayoung0107, for inspiring me to post the @BillGates quote above – I honestly may print it out and frame it on my wall – one of the best statements ever.

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2 comments on “Can Demanding Clients Make Stronger Publicists?

  1. Hey man! Cant believe it took me this long to find your blog but I’m loving what I’ve read so far.

    Not surprised at all by the poll results showing that we want easy clients not challenging ones. I honestly find that my best work gets done when I work with clients who get off their high horse and let me do my work. The challenging ones are the clients always nagging about the little things here and there without realizing that they aren’t making things better.

    I do agree with you though, I find that challenging clients are when I learn the most. Not really about marketing as a whole but more about customer relations and the way the human brain operates. Loved the post, looking forward to scanning your archives now…

    • Thanks for the comments, Ross! The main thing to remember is that every client is different. The way you e-mail them, speak with them in person, on the phone, etc. all has to be personalized. Just like a pitch, you speak to each reporter a little differently. So even with the more challenging clients out there – they ‘challenge’ you to take different approaches and learn new ways of how to get through to them.

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