It’s Tough to be a Client


I was asked to judge the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) Collegiate Marketing Strategy competition recently when it was held in New Orleans. It was interesting to sit on the other side of the table and be in the client’s role of hearing 8+ marketing strategies. One of the hardest parts of the decision was just how vastly different the marketing plans were from the student teams.

How it worked was a team of two students from the college’s marketing club was given a product brief and had 20 minutes to create a marketing plan and presentation. They then had 10 minutes to present their strategy to 2-3 judges and answer two of our questions.

Obviously, a few teams stood out with well thought out plans and strong presentation delivery skills. Also, a few were well trained and they had subtle techniques such as shaking the judges’ hands and introducing themselves before starting. One technique that I appreciated was a team talked to us as if we were all on the same team; something we do as Brand Constructors.

The striking part was the sheer variety. One plan was as simple as placing single ads in two publications where the target audience subscribed. Another went through the marketing textbook and used as much jargon and buzzwords as possible (not a good idea). One of the last teams I reviewed thought big and planned on asking Lebron James and Lindsey Vonn to allow them to use their social media accounts to promote a party they’d throw for the product along with television, radio, outdoor, print and social media ads — basically, everything possible possible.

The winners were chosen the following day, so I am not sure who won. The point of this post is to remember that you’re not the only ones talking to your clients. They’re getting input for many of your competitors so you have to explain why you choose what you did and help them decipher the options because they’re probably in over the head with information trying to make this big decision.

How do you help your prospects and clients choose you?