March 01, 2006

This Isn't Bewitched

And I'm not Samantha Stevens, although I wouldn't mind looking like her or being able to do that cute little, "Welllll?"

So, here's the thing. Stop it.

Marketing and PR Consultants, stop presenting to internal corporate communications folks (AKA your clients) as if you know more than they do. Okay? You don't. And if you do know more about your discipline (in my experience, that's a 50/50 proposition) at least pretend to care about understanding your clients' business. The best way to achieve this: SHUT UP AND LISTEN TO THEM.

The days of sitting through a meeting only to go back to your offices and spend a week coming up with a four-page document while you charge clients for multiple brainstorm sessions where you get to chomp on M&Ms for four hours are officially OVER.

Your client may not know, but I KNOW what you're doing back at the office while you pretend you have little elves crafting gold from the supposed coal you've been handed. I know that you're working on projects for other clients. The ones who COMPLAIN louder.

See, your client is my client, and I know what you're up to.

Even if you don't get the net, you have to get the fact that the barriers to online  collaboration are falling, and this sets the tone for what happens offline too. I don't want to wait for you to go back to your offices and spend two weeks tossing together  our shared client's brand brew and then have you bring it to me to taste. I want to be throwing the salt and frog eyes in it with you. Otherwise, you aren't going to get it right. I promise you.

The old Darren Stevens High Stakes Boardroom Presentations are thankfully reserved for the BigCos whose culture depends upon being slow-moving. For small to mid-size businesses and savvy enterprises, the jig is up. You have to let your clients create with you. And to do that, you need to close your yap and HEAR them.

Esmeralda!


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