Why Short Term Solutions Can Be Painful In The Long Run

I’ve written a number of blog posts now, so it’s time I told you a bit more about myself. I’m 28 years old, from London, play various musical instruments, and I love playing sports. That is until recently. Unfortunately, I’ve had to stop playing all active sports due to a back injury which has developed over the summer. I’ve seen plenty of doctors, physio’s and chiropractors over the last couple of months, explained the symptoms I’ve been suffering and listened to the recommendations, which have basically ranged from taking pain killers, to stretching, but the advice I’ve been given hasn’t helped. I was recently recommended to go to another type of chiropractor, who had a completely different approach. Their approach was not to treat the symptoms I was suffering from, but to take a look at my entire body and particularly my spine, run numerous tests to check the reaction times of my nerves, muscles and the strength of my bones. Turns out I’ve got a small fracture in my spine and it’s been there for a good couple of months, yet none of the doctors I’d met had thought to test for this.

Now I know what’s wrong I’m hopefully going to be on the road to recovery pretty quickly, but the whole experience left me angry with the previous treatment, from ‘specialists’, I received. They’d treated the symptoms of my problem, rather than looking at me as a unique person, with a potentially unique case. They’d made an assumption based on work they’d done with previous clients. If the doctors I’d initially seen had taken the time to do the sufficient background research they would have found the root cause of the problem immediately and saved me time, money and some considerable pain.

This led me to think back to work, and how often I’ve seen agencies (marketing specialists) look at clients as if they were one and the same. Both clients in the same sector? Then surely the strategy developed for one can be replicated easily for the new client? It’s often a typical response to a brief from an over-worked agency account manager, to go back to tried and tested ideas, which require no extra thought or development time. The documents are already written, they just need repurposing with new names and examples of how this same approach worked for one of their rivals.

The problem with this approach is simple. No two clients are exactly the same. Unless you do the required ground work to figure out the exact issues and challenges the particular client faces, then you won’t be able to create a robust, long-term strategy for them to implement. Ideas may work in the short-term and act as a band aid to mask some of the problems, but because the ideas aren’t developed and tailored around the client, old issues are bound to crop up and cause the strategy to be a failure in the long-term.

The chiropractor I saw was expensive, but they earned their money by taking their time and looking at the data in front of them, rather than prescribing a treatment based upon some verbal information I was giving them. They saw me as a unique person, did the background tests and research and then made their recommendations based upon this holistic approach. The result is a very happy customer, repeat business and referrals to my friends and family.

- Next time you give a brief out to your agency; make sure they’re looking at you as an individual, not just as another industry specific client, who can be given a packaged campaign which is potentially second hand.

- Give the agency time to look at the research and the data. So often I see briefs come into the agency demanding ideas are returned and the campaign launched immediately. Build a bit of time into the setup process and I can guarantee you’ll see vast improvements in the long term results of the campaign.

- Finally, set goals and objectives for the campaigns. I don’t just mean asking for an ROI figure to be returned at the end of the month, but rather what are the long-term objectives of the business, and how can client and agency work together to make that happen. The chiropractor initially asked me what my long-term goals were from the treatment, which convinced me immediately that they saw this not as a business transaction, but a partnership. It helps to break down the barriers, gain the trust between both parties, and most of all, it’s left me with the utmost confidence that together we’ll be able to achieve that target goal I’ve set myself.


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