Clients… love to have’em, hate to lose’em (or tell them goodbye)

Never a fun thing, but we just resigned one client, put another on hold pending payment issues and turned down a very lucrative assignment because we felt the timing was so poor we didn’t think we could do a good job. I’d love some input if anyone has any thoughts.

Client A (resigned): I’m pretty bummed I had to do this, but after eight months of well paying work, we just weren’t getting the traction we thought we’d get with the media. Internal brainstorms were had, colleagues were pulled in from other agencies to discuss and pitches re-worked, but we never got the traction we wanted. While I’m sad to see them go, I learned a key lesson that I need to stress more with potential clients:

Those AP stories and USA Today placements you see in our case studies don’t happen for every brand we work with. I wish they did, but they don’t.  My team does very solid work and provides an excellent value, (not just for action sports brands, but to others as well), but results are going to vary client by client and pitch by pitch.

Client B (on hold): Sometimes you have to know when to say when. A client we love hadn’t paid their bills in quite some time and we realized, is having some other internal issues (our product requests going out not being the biggest of them).

In hindsight I should have pulled the plug when my accounting department brought up the issue, but the team here loves the brand and was having some great, recent success. Would you have called it quits in the middle of a successful campaign?

Client C (not gonna happen): A few months ago, maybe three to four, we were contacted by a brand looking for help at a trade show launching a new product.  Awesome, we’re great at that. Eventually the brand passed citing they’d rather work with us closer to retail, in 09.

Recently they came back to us, with with show less than two weeks away, asking for assistance. The budget was right for the work needed, but the issue was we couldn’t scale. Media keep certain hours and with only two weeks time… less actually, there wasn’t much opportunity for a solid dialogue with reporters and for us to book appointments. Todd and I brainstormed this a little (I didn’t even bring in Stephanie to discuss) and we agreed that if we couldn’t do a great excellent frickin’ killer job, not just a good one, we didn’t want to even try. It wasn’t that we couldn’t scale… we’d have stayed late to make it happen, but as most solid PR people will admit, media relations goes beyond working hard and working late.

Thoughts on this? Anyone have advice to share from personal experience? I’d love to hear.

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~ by doubleb on July 16, 2008.

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