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What Clients Really Want

Client expectations – how do you define them for your customers? And how do you deliver results to meet their expectations?

Consider this: After being awarded a large project by a high-profile client, the agency team worked for weeks developing background, clarifying objectives, understanding and overcoming market challenges, and setting goals to produce a stellar advertising campaign designed to meet the client’s market needs. The agency aligned every aspect of the campaign with each step it had taken to meet objectives, verifying that it had kept to plan. Instead of an enthusiastic reception by the client, a modest acceptance peppered with questions and concerns greeted the agency’s presentation. What’s up with that?

And while we’re asking, what do shoppers want their products to do? How will using the product change them, their health, their self perception, their acceptance by others? Do you know?

And car buyers – do they want to feel safe, environmentally friendly, upscale, that they made a wise strategic purchase decision? These are the kinds of needs which most customers really want resolved.

Clients and customers want answers. Solutions. Results that move them forward in some way or give them an edge. It’s not the process – that’s frequently more pain than pleasure for the buyer. It’s the impact of the final result.

Back to the agency presentation – what was up with that reaction, anyhow? After some impromptu discovery, the agency realized the client wanted to know two things:

  1. What does it mean? All of the research, goal-setting, and design – what does it really tell the client and the agency? What does it direct them to do…to avoid…to pursue? What should we do?
  2. What’s in it for me (us, the client)? Known as WIIFM, this is the How will it move us toward greater success? question. What will the final result do for us?

Ultimately, clients really want to be successful, to improve their bottom line or to meet/change some other critical success metric. And sometimes, those who serve clients lose sight of what clients really want.

So, before your next presentation, do a quick pulse-check against these two key client questions. Aligning your deliverable to respond to those two desires increases your, and the client’s, likelihood of success.

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