An Eye for Detail

I hate it when people let me down. Obviously, in life and in business, sometimes it’s inevitable and you just have to accept it. What’s worse though……much worse…..is when someone knows that they’ll have to let you down and yet they say nothing in the hope that it will all be OK in the end and some miracle or other will save them.

I imagine it’s a feeling that Home Secretary, Theresa May, knows only too well this week as she wrestles with the monumental failure to deliver that G4S has finally admitted to. The eyes of the world – and the world’s media – are all looking to Miss May to put things right while the political opposition, the police and the army are all considering how the G4S catastrophe might be turned to their long term advantage.

So…..what has all this got to do with marketing?  For G4S there’s a reputation management question but that’s far too big a remit to be tackled in a few paragraphs! Much more succinct are the warnings that this unfortunate series of events can serve as for us all:

  1. Never over promise and under-deliver
  2. If it’s business critical make sure you put a clear critical path in place and manage delivery against every milestone

Of course, most people will never have anything quite so business critical as security for the Olympics to deliver but all companies have important deadlines to meet.  Suppliers can let you down and all the apologies, discounts and promises to better next time around won’t compensate for missed deadlines and lost opportunities.

So what’s the answer? When looking for marketing services there are some key considerations and, no matter what existing relationship, reputation or recommendation is involved, they should always form part of the decision making criteria:

  • Make sure you meet the team you’ll be working with, not just the suits that talk the talk
  • Get what you pay for: don’t cut corners for a cheap deal or pay a premium for your suppliers fancy overheads
  • Expect accountability: who will take responsibility for delivering your objectives, what will they provide and when will you receive it?
  • Hire the person not just their reputation: do you trust them? Can you be candid with them? Do they understand your business?

There is no failsafe way of avoiding being let down, but, in my experience, if you keep your eye on the detail, the bigger picture will inevitably come together.

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