Your clients aren’t stupid

An agency type I once knew used to rail against what he claimed were “stupid clients” – a phrase which largely translated to “people who don’t agree with my ideas”.

Still, it’s easy to get aggravated about some of the things we get asked to do.

People who work in agencies are hired because they have specific expertise. We know, or are supposed to know, what makes an ad effective, how to spend media dollars in today’s fragmented media universe, what constitutes a great headline and compelling copy. Unfortunately, this is the kind of expertise that sometimes is not recognized. Anyone with Photoshop (or Word) can make what looks to them like an ad, and write what may pass for copy – and they may not recognize the differences between their work and yours. When they do this, they’re failing to recognize your expertise in your field. It’s infuriating and frustrating.

However, it doesn’t make them stupid – only ignorant. You can’t know what you don’t know, until you learn that you don’t know it.

If you start out thinking of your clients as stupid, you are never going to have a good relationship with them. Just as you want to be respected, you should respect them as well. If they are making uninformed commentary on your creative, it’s your responsibility to educate them on the complexities of the process and the value you add. It’s a smart way to strengthen your relationship even while it makes them think more highly of you and your work.

Besides, even top agencies can make some pretty boneheaded creative decisions.

And take heart. Even when a client is irredeemable, sometimes you still come out of it a winner.

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