Nobody wants to end a contract when you get along with the client and there aren’t any issues with payment. However, there are certain situations that require an intervention, even if the outcome means putting communications activities on hold or redirecting the budget to alternative resources. Here are three of those situations.
The client can't dedicate the time to the program
You can present the greatest campaign ideas, incredible press opportunities, and access to the most influential influencers, but it’s all for naught if the client doesn’t respond, lets deadlines slip or is always canceling or rescheduling meetings. This puts your reputation (and the client’s) at risk, especially when it’s time to revisit the contract and there aren’t a lot of results.
One way to handle this situation is to have a separate conversation outside of your ongoing status calls to patiently address how their lack of responsiveness impacts your collective results. Have the list of missed opportunities handy for the discussion on how to work more effectively.
Also, connect with more people internally and ask to get on your client’s internal messaging system so you can get faster answers from other sources in company.
Every activity requires 100% consensus
Striving for 100 percent consensus across the company is counter productive. It takes longer to get things done and it doesn’t usually net better results.
While collaboration is required for a successful communications program, the primary client contact should establish and maintain boundaries and internal processes that are in the best interest of the company. This strategy makes the most of everybody’s time and budget.
The budget doesn't match the required level of activity
Communications pros have been trained to find the hooks, be creative, and attract the right kind of attention for clients. Sometimes, the budget doesn’t match the level of marketing activity. Here are five scenarios where this typically happens.
- The client doesn’t have enough going on to sustain a dedicated communications program. This can happen when a startup has a significant lag time between the official company launch and the release of its first product.
- A hyper focus on earned media, when paid or owned media would more effectively reach the target audience.
- Having unrealistic expectations and taking an “all business press or nothing” approach to media relations.
- The goals of the program require more time than the budget will allow.
- A company has been earning positive revenue and driving solid growth for an important, yet not exactly jaw-dropping product. While they likely have a story, it might not be one that’s going to be told often, or one that requires the skills of a senior communications consultant.
If you find it more than challenging to achieve the program goals, it’s time to have an honest conversation. One that includes how to improve the existing relationship. Or identify alternative resources to ensure the client makes the most of their investment in communications.