Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's a Hand-Off, Not a Duel

We recently took over an account from a competing agency. There was a "hand-off" meeting as part of the transition. I wasn't at the meeting, but my agency colleagues --- as well as the client contacts who were present --- were shocked by the displaced agency's graceless lack of professionalism.

Look, these types of meetings are never easy. I understand that our competitor lost revenue and prestige when the client decided to take a new direction. But that's business. Win some, lose some, right?

Consider how badly this one dumb move could hurt their business.
  • The client will never again consider calling that agency.
  • The client contacts present during the hand-off meeting won't ever call them into an agency review, when they invariably move on to their next gigs.
  • I will never recommend this agency in instances where we might have a newbiz conflict.
It gets worse. We talked about their poor attitude in an HQ staff meeting:
  • 50-odd PR people in the Boston market now consider this agency to have a "black mark" against it.
  • They won't ever interview there as prospective employees.
  • They won't ever think to invite that firm to compete for their business, if they ever take an in-house marketing post.
All because some agency VP got pissy about turning over a few memos and databases.

Burning bridges is bad business.

2 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Good stuff, Todd, and the impact such unprofessionalism can have -- not only on prospective business but employees as well.

It seems that the older we get and the farther removed we are from the playground in grade school, the more it seems we never left.
Mike

June 07, 2006  
Anonymous Gillian Farquhar said...

Hmmmm - I can think of a few agencies where this is SOP. I have a guess on this one; but it could be my own bias.

June 09, 2006  

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