Thursday, April 06, 2006


Every now and then, an account gets "snakebit." You have all the best intentions; you've got a good team in place; you have good chemistry with the client; the story is pretty good.

But everything goes wrong, anyway.

There are lots of "moving parts" on a client account, and any one of them can get snakebit.

With one client, the PR results and relationship are terrific - but whenever this particular client needs me at a meeting, something unavoidable comes up at the last minute: my dog died; I got a paralyzing migraine; etc. All the best intentions, yet everything turns to sh** when it comes time for the Big Cheese to show up. I've vowed to never miss a meeting with these folks again!

Another client had all the right results - but in the wrong order, and always a step slower than the client wanted. We won a huge award; a game-changer - but it took months to happen. The analysts were less responsive than usual to our meeting requests. We got a ton of media meetings, but the articles that came out - while fantastic - always seemed to dribble in like molasses.

This last one was particularly hard on us. As I suggested, we liked the client, the tech, the story, everything. But it was all going too slow, despite our best efforts. So, the VP says: "Look, you guys are great, but you've got 1 month to get this thing rolling on rails, or else we're going to have a tough conversation."

One month later, we had set-up 32 appointments. The ink that resulted was dead-on. The CEO congratulated us on a bang-up job. Yet the VP still handed us our walking papers. Ironically, the last thing they said to me was, "You've got a great team, make sure they don't burn out." (That's a little disingenuous, eh? "You've got a month to pull out all the stops, or we walk - but, don't burn out your team.")

That's the thing about snake bites. Sometimes you suck out the venom, spit it out and vow to forge ahead, stronger and more positive than ever. But sometimes, you just wanna spit.


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