Imagine: it’s 4 o’ clock in the afternoon and you receive an urgent request from one of your clients who is in need of a print advertisement. The kicker is that the ad deadline is tomorrow and you have less than 24 hours. In the fast-paced world of marketing, having last-minute deadlines is something that happens more frequently than most know – despite your best efforts to stay ahead of schedule. When navigating the marketing jungle, you will work with all kinds of clients ranging from “Mr. Indecisive” to “Ms. I Needed This Yesterday and it’s Friday afternoon at 3.” Instead of going into panic-mode every time a crisis-situation arises, at McCauley Marketing Services we offer some tips you may want to remember to help you maintain a healthy relationship with your clients when dealing with sometimes stress-inducing demands.
Preparation. Making a timeline and plan of action is crucial, even if you only have two hours to get the job done. Formulate a set of specific questions to help determine what your client wants and needs. Obtaining this information is key in determining a solid idea and will save valuable time.
Listen. Just as a reporter conducts an interview, when you have meetings with your clients, ask the important questions then stop talking and listen. While it is true that a client may not know exactly what they want because they depend on you to know this, they should be able to articulate a feel they are going for or the target audience they wish to attract to help build a marketing strategy that will best benefit their business. It is also extremely important to remember that successful marketing starts by taking a client’s vision and turning it into a reality; even if it’s not your personal preference.
Communicate. Take time to sit down with your clients on a regular basis to evaluate/reevaluate new and existing marketing strategies and set deadlines to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as projects. Be sure to document everything mentioned in the meetings as this benefits not only you but your client. After meeting with a client, type up the notes from the meeting and send a copy to all parties to recap what was discussed. This can be a huge time saver down the road, especially with tight deadlines, and provides you and your client a chance to reexamine the items discussed.
Be patient. A lot of times the conclusion of a project may come down to the approval of the client. Last minute edits and deadlines can hinder the completion of a project, but instead of getting frustrated, remember that your clients have work of their own and may not always be able to respond as quickly as you would like. A simple email reminder of upcoming deadlines or a phone call to discuss pending work can be helpful in getting the client’s attention. The key is to do this with finesse, or in a way that doesn’t seem pushy. Just as we remind our clients on the importance of customer relationship management, we must also remember to nurture our client relationships in the same manner we encourage them to practice.
Be realistic. When discussing deadlines with clients, don’t be afraid to voice if their expected deadline isn’t realistic. At no fault of their own, clients may not be familiar with the process it takes to complete certain projects; they may think a project could take one hour when in reality, it could take four hours to finish. It’s best to compromise and offer a more plausible timeline that your client will agree to, but make sure to stick to deadlines and keep the client informed if something changes. Doing this helps with client expectations. They will appreciate good work in a slightly-adjusted timeframe more than a rushed job just to meet a deadline.
Just as in everyday life, unplanned situations arise that require immediate action and can cause strain on those that have to hurry to do their best or finish a task under a short amount of time. Relying on the help of your marketing team and creating a strategy within your team is just as vital as creating marketing goals with the client. Instead of worrying if another project has to be put on hold to complete a last minute request, figure out the best way to maximize the time and talent of everyone on your marketing team.
While there is no single easy solution to dealing with high marketing demands, perhaps there is comfort in knowing you are not alone. For more information about marketing tips, be sure to connect with McCauley Marketing Services on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the all the latest.