2020 was many things, but boring was not one of them. Everyone knows what we’re talking about, so we won’t bother mentioning it. Instead, we thought it would be a good idea to look at some lessons we learned last year with a connection to The Situation® that could be described as tenuous, at best. Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy UK has often said that you should try to be good at two things. Thankfully, at least for our two niches – digital marketing and animation – the creative industry didn’t seem to be affected all that much, and this makes sense. A historically unprecedented situation has forced people to move online, and that includes their marketing efforts. Of course, some industries were particularly affected by this, not least commercial property, as companies who resisted the move to online over the years finally realized that they could, in fact, work from home. Other businesses, however, weren’t so lucky that they could work from home.
Thankfully, just as lockdowns hit, we were in the process of moving office, so could simply cancel our next lease.
Lessons learned the hard way
Even (and especially) during these trying times, tough calls need to be made, and we made several of them in 2020. We had to end things with two clients in particular because, in the end, it was the best thing for the company.
One ex-marketing client, who we will call Demanding, always had a problem with costs. This, even though our costs were clear from the outset and didn’t even increase over time. Regardless, we take dissatisfaction with our costs (and thus with our services) very seriously, and did in fact produce results that exceeded the previous year’s (and previous agency’s) efforts. We exercised extreme patience with the out-of-the-blue and after-hours calls demanding answers. At one point, Demanding even shouted at and cursed us over the phone because they didn’t get the answers they were looking for, which deteriorated the professional relationship beyond redemption. At the end this dissatisfaction reached a crescendo when they asked for penalties to our already-reduced fee – i.e. subtractions – if we didn’t reach certain KPI’s that they sucked from their thumbs.