Before You Hit "Send"

IStock_000004059811SmallClients make many requests of their PR agency.  The need for monitoring, reports, ink, etc. are various, sundry and frequent.

Ironically, those many tactical requests are never the reason an agency is hired.  You never hear, “We want to work with your agency because you presented the best coverage report … the best weekly update … the best competitive monitor … etc.”

Rather, the agency wins a new piece of business if it comes to the table with “the best ideas.”

Ideas win.

So when a client asks for our opinion and counsel on a Strategic Communications Issue — when they need a Big Idea — it’s important that we step up and deliver value.  While the day-to-day PR tasks are relatively mundane, we can shine during these opportunities.

That’s why it bothers me — a lot! — when I see a team shoot over a thoughtful, strategic document in an email that merely says, “Let us know if you’d like to discuss” (or somesuch).

If this Very Important Document is sent over to the client with the same level of fanfare as a weekly report, why should we expect the client to pore over it and marvel at our comprehension and ideas?

Before you hit “Send” on an important message on which you’ve spent considerable energy, take the extra 2 minutes to call the recipient in advance, to preview the concepts and arrange for a time to discuss the issues.

It’s not about checking off a box.  It’s about showing the value.



Posted on: May 26, 2009 at 9:42 am By Todd Defren
32 Responses to “Before You Hit "Send"”

 

Comments
  • Sam Alpert says:

    Todd,
    Your post resonated with me a lot. We have made this mistake before as an agency. Even to the point where we presented creative via e-mail! Have to remember that the important stuff be presented in person and explained well.

    I am going to pass this along to our team.

    Thanks,
    Sam

  • This issue reflects the need for team members at all levels of a firm to understand the business model of the company. Knowing what you sell & how to sell it is critical. Regardless of your position and title, you have a responsibility for differentiation and business value.

  • Jason Baer says:

    I completely agree, although I’m as guilty as anyone else sometimes.

    When I used to own an agency, I had a rule that nobody was allowed to email a proposal or a major document until it had been presented to the client via Webex or in-person.

    I need to follow my own rule again. Thanks for the reminder Todd.

  • Thoughtful and planned communication before send is key. It’s doing a follow-up before the follow-up essentially. You want to make sure that the person reads through the email with you and understands all the tenets/concepts. This way you have a much higher likelihood of closing immediately (you have them on the phone after all).

  • Jillian Froehlich says:

    While I agree that big ideas drive a lot of new business and that they should be packaged effectively, I respectfully disagree with your positioning that reporting documents are never a reason an agency is hired. A thorough understanding of measurement and evaluation helps demonstrate that the agency understands how communications impacts business and sell the big ideas in.

    @jillianf

  • Totally agree. It’s worth spending the extra time to brief them on what’s to come. I also do the same thing for someone after I get off a call – whether it is a brief sumary or just a recap of the important points. It always seems to be helpful.

  • Al Krueger says:

    Todd, great points. I have believed for a long time that it’s the big mistakes that lose clients – it’s the little ones. And inattentive emails are one of those little mistakes and that would irritate me too.

    As PR firms (aka communications firms) we need to remember that our communications have to be a notch above the rest – whether that communication is an email or a blog post – it all matters.

    Thanks for the reminder.



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