September 19, 2007
Clients at Different Levels
Recently, I’ve become more aware that we have a huge range of clients when it comes to the level of the person we interact with at the client organization. I suppose this has always been true, but it’s struck me much more of late as we’ve really ramped up our client base in the social networking/web 2.0 arena, where most of our clients are CEOs and COOs as opposed to Email Marketing Managers.
Of course, we don’t care who our day-to-day client is, as long as the person is enough of a decision maker and subject matter expert to effectively partner with us, whether it’s on deliverability via Sender Score or on list management or advertising via the Postmaster Network. There are two main differences I have seen between the levels of client. I suppose neither one is an earth-shattering revelation in the end, though.
First, the CEO/COO as client tends to be a MUCH MORE ENGAGED and knowledgeable client. Some of these people know far, far more about the ins and outs of micro details of their businesses (and in the case of deliverability, the micro details of how ISPs filter email) than our average client. I’d expect this type of client to be in command of the macro details of his or her business, but the level of "in the weeds" knowledge is impressive. These clients are thirsty for information that goes beyond the scope of our work together.
Second, the CEO/COO as client is MUCH MORE PASSIONATE about his or her business. It pisses them off when their email doesn’t get delivered. They care deeply that our Postmaster opt-in might impact their registration rates by 0.5%. They get very animated in discussions and tend to nod and gesture a lot more than take notes in a notebook.
My main takeaway from this? If you run a business — how do you make sure your front line people are as fired up as you are? You may never be able to give people the same kind of macro view you have of the company or the industry (although you can certainly make a good effort at it), but keeping people excited about what they do and igniting their intellectual curiosity on a regular basis will almost certainly lead to more successful outcomes in the details of your company.