I’ve always heard agency people complain about clients who treat them badly. My attitude has been “Why should we get special treatment?” Have you ever watched a tenure battle in academia, or a turf battle in a multibillion-dollar corporation? How about the Democratic primary? It gets nasty.
The more interesting question may be: “Is there anything unique about agency people that attracts a specific flavor of ire from clients?”
I’ve got two theories. First, a large percentage of the business world thinks that advertising and all of its assorted cousins are a pseudo profession, something anyone can choose to pursue if he wants. It’s the opposite of plumbing, or medicine, where people understand that there is a set of skills that they don’t possess but need. (Hey, I didn’t say it was true.) Second, large corporate structures breed and allow a level of bad behavior that would be unacceptable in almost any other social environment. That’s a toxic combination.
Here’s how I summarize my approach to the dilemma: There are nice people and there are mean people in the world. Stay away from the mean ones. I confess to a spotty record, but I can also say that with some good fortune I’ve stumbled into a collection of clients that I love.
He makes lots of good points.
But one he leaves out, or maybe it’s just me. I’d work much harder on behalf of a nicer, respectful client than for an abusive, condescending one. Would you?
Or try this: Have you ever had a demanding client who acted that way in order to make the work truly better?