bookshelf with path of lightbulbs leading down the row

One of the best ways to develop a better relationship with a client is to dig deep when learning about them. Internal employees and teams don’t have the advantage of knowing what the outward perception and display of their brand is. They’ve been working with their products/services for so long, their perceptions can get stuck in internal jargon.

For example, a client could work with a product which has a model number, something such as GA-370, and to them that means something. But to customers, GA-370 has no meaning. Take the extra steps required and the attention to detail to unpack the nuance of a client and their products and services.

You might be tasked with doing something specific. Perhaps it is creating a brochure for the GA-370, or maybe it is building out a website page. Instead of just taking the information provided, ask the questions which will provide answers helpful to customers.

As a standard rule of thumb, a marketing company should always ask:

  • What’s your desired outcome of the deliverable/plan?
  • What problem are you solving for the customer?
  • Who is the target audience—specifically?
  • How can the user take the next steps? What does that look like?
  • How does the product/service compare to the competitors?

But beyond the standard questions, you should be able to answer:

  • How does the product/service work?
  • What is different about it?
  • What information about it is important to customers?
  • How does the competitors deliverables compare? What information do they chose to display?
  • What three pieces of content are most useful during the sales process?

When a client has hundreds of products, or complex services, your marketing expertise becomes even more important. They are trusting you to be their advocate. The standard to aim for is that you should be able to sell their products to their customers.

And while you might have dozens of questions to ask, your client might not have the time to dedicate to answer all of them. Usually there’s quite a bit of information already out there, either insights you can do from researching competitors or digging into already created content.

By taking the time to better understand a client, their needs and objectives, their sales cycle, and their products and services, you can make better decisions, provide honest evaluations, give sounder advice, and make better plans/deliverables.

In the on-boarding process with new clients, one of the biggest things we notice is how the previous companies they’ve hired don’t really know them. They worked on simply completing the deliverable, and not whether it was good or not. The client eventually catches on.

Great insights are a result of digging deep and truly learning about your client. Have you ever watched a commercial and gone, “Wow. They totally missed it.”?

WatchMojo created a compilation of the “Top 10 Worst Commercials of All Time” and you can watch below for great examples of when marketing and creatives professionals lost sight of understanding their clients and their client’s customers:

If you’re like me and you clicked play and got sucked into watching the whole thing—don’t feel bad. When I watch some of those, I have a hard time picturing how things went so far off the rails. But they did.

If you are uncovering deep insights and applying your marketing expertise after thoroughly learning about your client—chances are you are creating tremendous value. Clients don’t want to replace people creating value for them. Dig deep and build strong relationships. It’s more rewarding for all parties involved.