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Aint We Wonderful!

It may come as a surprise to you to discover that customers don't buy your products or services because they feel that you have a right to make a profit. In other words, their motive for doing business with you is not to help you buy the latest Jaguar or put your children through college. You think this is a joke? Recent research shows that something like 60% of businesspeople place more importance on what they will get from a transaction than on what their customers will benefit.

In essence, their profitability is more crucial to them than is customer satisfaction. And it shows.

If you are in any doubt about this, cast your eyes over the myriad of ads, brochures, websites and so on that major on the successfulness of their organisation, as opposed to the benefit their products or services might be to the customer.

Certainly, they pay lip-service to customer satisfaction, but beneath this thin veneer of eye-shine is the belief, probably implanted at birth, that their bottom line takes precedence over everything.

Oddly, advertising agencies are among the worst offenders in this respect. Their promotional material illustrates what great work they have done, and states how many millions they billed in the last financial year, but none (and I mean none) tell you how much product their efforts have helped shift. To put it another way, none bother to demonstrate what benefit their services have been to clients.

While I am on the subject, there's something else just as puzzling which may have escaped your notice. I refer to the ubiquitous advertising awards handed out to agencies by various advertising organisations around the world. These awards are given, without fail, to campaigns that are outstandingly funny, or technically slick, or wonderfully realistic. Rarely, and I mean never, are these awards made on the strength of how much product a given campaign has sold. They don't even take into account response rates or conversion rates generated by a campaign.

Such figures, I agree, would involve a little trouble to collate, and there would no doubt be quite a bit of trickery in the shape of false returns to overcome. But I feel that a yardstick of this kind would be far more worthy ? and more relevant - than one which considered only the creativity or the cutting-edge techniques involved in a piece of work

Over the years, I have won dozens of awards for my clients; and very grateful I have been for them. A copywriter who can tote a portfolio or a showreel filled with award-winning material is guaranteed work for life. Likewise, the ad agency that employs him will see its equity rise and rise. And the client? Well, who gives a damn about the client. His products and services are merely vehicles upon which an agency can ride to glory.

The moral is clear. Rather than thinking what your customers can do for you, think what you can do for your customers. With this kind of philosophy, your profits will take care of themselves.

About The Author

Patrick Quinn is an award winning copywriter with 40 years' experience of the advertising business in London, Miami, Dublin and Edinburgh. He publishes a FREE monthly newsletter, AdBriefing. Subscriptions are available at: http://www.adbriefing.com.

j.p@markethillpublishing.co.uk

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