Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant?

March 5th, 2008 by Bob Bly

My late friend, the accomplished Michigan ad man James Alexander, once told me: “I can work with a client who is ignorant. I can work with a client who is arrogant. But I cannot work with one who is both.”

A client who is ignorant but not arrogant doesn’t know anything about advertising, cheerfully admits it, and defers to your superior knowledge and expertise.

A client who is arrogant but not ignorant is one who knows at least as much about advertising as you do, and more than you do about their product and market. The best relationship with this client is collaborative in nature.

A client who is both arrogant and ignorant is the one who cheerfully admits she knows nothing about advertising, and then proceeds to tell the copywriter or ad agency how to do their job. If there is a disagreement, she seldom listens to advice, and trusts her own admittedly minimal instincts and experience instead.

The client who is arrogent and ignorant should be avoided. You may tell her there should be only one cook in the kitchen (you), or that if she hired you as the chauffer she should let you drive, but it is usually to no avail. It is nearly impossible to do good work for the simultaenously ignorant and arrogent client.

Which kinds of clients do you serve? Ignorant? Arrogant? Neither? Both? And what is your reaction when they make changes that in your opinion will make the marketing less effective?

Share

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 at 9:45 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

99 responses about “Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant?”

  1. Sante said:

    I find comfort in reading this kind of post. 14 years in the online business are catching up with me and I simply can’t put up with arrogance any longer, no matter what the budget is (or would be). On the other hand ignorance is interesting as it has many faces and presents itself always in different forms and shapes and can represent a new challenge – that’s what keeps independent guys ticking :)

  2. Craig Hysell said:

    I’ve often found that the biggest dunces in the world are the men and women who insist they know it all.

    Most everyone else I can work with. Happily.

    And the projects are usually much more successful.

  3. Heather Lloyd-Martin said:

    Ah yes – the client who makes the marketing less effective. This is a big thing in SEO because everything is done for a very specific reason. If the client rewrites the copy – or if the code is tweaked the wrong way – it can mess up the entire initiative.

    I have learned that client communication/ education throughout the entire process is important. Not only will I tell clients, “Please don’t touch anything without talking to me first,” but I’ll also explain why one bad tweak can have far-reaching ramifications. That helps in about 95% of cases.

    If the client starts to make changes, I go right into CYA mode and inform them (always in writing,) of the possible consequences. This will often give the client pause. And if it doesn’t give them pause, well, there’s not much else I can do. I still do the work and still provide my opinion, but I let go of the outcome. Frustrating, yes. But at least I keep my sanity And sometimes, the client does come around. Eventually. :)

  4. Robert Rosenthal said:

    Know-it-alls rarely know it all.

    At Mothers of Invention, ignorant and arrogant clients are known as ex-clients.

  5. Gloria Hildebrandt said:

    I always wonder why people who aren’t prepared to follow the advice and recommendations of professionals, bother hiring them in the first place.

  6. Bob Bly said:

    Gloria: I think many INTEND to follow the advice. But when the get the advice and they are not confident in it, they follow their own instincts, because deep down, they trust themselves more than they do their advisors.

  7. Amod said:

    In my experience, it’s always the clients with the smallest accounts who have the most to say. The bigger accounts are happy to leave me to do what I have to do.

    Usually, I can get away with out too much trouble. I sit in the briefing sessions scowling at the client and let the AE handle the niceties. For some reason (maybe it’s the outright hostility) this approach keeps the client from touching the final copy.

    That said, there are always those few who think that because they can sell insurance, they can write copy that sells insurance.

    On another related point,I pray for the day when it becomes illegal for clients to ask their spouses, mothers or various other family members to crit copy or suggest creative angles.

  8. Ross said:

    Isn’t the reason clients give copywriters such hassles because in the back of their minds they feel that they could do just as good a job as you?

    Because after all, everyone writes. This is in contrast to, say, Graphic Design… the average person doesn’t do design everday. But in some form or another, we all write everyday.

    Is this not the root of the problem to arrogant clients?

  9. Bob Bly said:

    Ross: you are 100% correct. That is the root of the problem. They believe anyone and everyone can write. I explain that yes, while everyone can write, not everyone can write copy that doubles or triples response rates to sales letters and landing pages. If I had a formula for doing that 100% of the time, I’d be the richest man on Earth; Bill Gates would be my butler.

  10. Jay, writer Memberspeed.com said:

    You can work with ignorant. It’s an opportunity for them to learn. You can work with arrogant. At least they have the “right” to be boastful. But to deal with a client who is both is impossible. It sounds like a terrible waste of time. Unless you need a client, it’s best to avoid this type.

  11. Aryeh Narrow said:

    Bob:

    The trick is to learn to spot troublemakers in advance. (Easier said than done…)

    It helps sometimes to discuss the review and change process in advance. Rookie clients don’t realize that sometimes they make their own projects more complicated than they have to be.

    (I like the way you explained these issues in your Copywriter’s Handbook.)

    That’s for the “ignorant” client. The “arrogant” client is hopeless!

    Love your blog,

    Aryeh

  12. saç ekimi said:

    hello nice to bee.

  13. ankara evden eve nakliyat said:

    very nice article.

  14. Saç Ekimi said:

    thanks wery much

  15. Saç Ekimi said:

    wery nice

  16. Klima Servisi said:

    oh boy

  17. Estetik said:

    wery good a site

  18. Estetik Merkezi said:

    I agree with Boby Bly who explained above.

  19. The Most Favorable Offer Group said:

    offer http://www.mostfavorableoffer.com/ and turkish http://www.enuygunteklif.com/

  20. Lazer epilasyon said:

    I agree completely Ross mentioned above.

  21. Estetik said:

    http://www.magicplast.com Estetik center

  22. saç ekimi said:

    It’s an opportunity for them to learn. You can work with arrogant. Know-it-alls rarely know it all.

  23. site ekle, add url, arama motoru, link ekle said:

    hello i think that its the best and the best seach engine in turkey but people must add url more for the generate it

  24. firma rehberi,web dizini,dizin said:

    firma rehberi,web dizini,dizin
    hello i know the best seach engine from turkey its became new but if you want to add url your web site will listind and site ekleme thank you very much for the technology visit us take care !

  25. Saç ekimi said:

    If we meet a customer who is Ignorant and Arrogant ,the nightmare starts. Coz he can not understand a word that we told about. If we speak more complex like an pc expert, he cuts the conversation and begins to speak about his ignorant knowledge…
    Saç ekimi

  26. Epilasyon said:

    A very detailed explanation regarding to client tips. Have a nice day.

  27. estetik said:

    hello i know the best seach engine from turkey its became new but if you want to

  28. sac ekimi istanbul said:

    Arrogant ,the nightmare starts.If we meet a customer who is Ignorant and

  29. siirler said:

    wery nice

  30. maksimaks danismanlik said:

    nice wery

  31. maksimaks danismanlik said:

    A very detailed explanation regarding to client tips. Have a nice day.

  32. Are your clients ignorant, arrogant, both or neither? | The Magnetic Entrepreneur said:

    [...] Bob Bly is a well-known and sought-after copywriter, and I was just over at his blog browsing the articles and had to chuckle (well, those of you who know me also know that “chuckle” hardly describes my full-body belly laughs!) at the headline:  Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant? [...]

  33. Yemek Tarifleri said:

    very nice technology..

  34. Rüya Tabirleri said:

    i know the best seach engine from turkey.

  35. Saç Ekimi said:

    i find a seo book. ?
    please help

  36. koçluk said:

    Bob Bly is a well-known and sought-after copywriter, and I was just over at his blog browsing the articles and had to chuckle (well, those of you who know me also know that “chuckle” hardly describes my full-body belly laughs!) at the headline: Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant?

  37. lazer epilasyon said:

    It does everything more expensive shampoos do at a reduced cost.

  38. Da evitare « … you’ll love publishing said:

    [...] blog di Bob Bly, Are your clients ignorant and arrogant?, post del 5 marzo [...]

  39. Enboy Perde said:

    te?ekkür ederim

  40. Enboy Perde said:

    te?ekkür ederim

  41. Gonet said:

    i find a seo book. ?
    Gonet Arama Motoru Optimizasyonu

  42. tabldot yemek said:

    Bob Bly is a well-known and sought-after copywriter, and I was just over at his blog browsing the articles and had to chuckle (well, those of you who know me also know that “chuckle” hardly describes my full-body belly laughs!) at the headline: Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant?tabldot yemek

  43. as royal servisi said:

    thank you friend

  44. istanbul özel güvenlik ?irketleri said:

    thank you for post

  45. epilasyon merkezi said:

    If your site contains many useful information thanks for sharing

  46. altus servisi said:

    I read with pleasure your article thanks or a http://ozelguvenliksirketleri.tk

  47. whirlpool servis said:

    thanks for a post many useful

  48. corlu guvenlik sirketleri said:

    continued success always follow your blog, I wish I thank

  49. optik said:

    We expect continued good topic thank you
    http://sefakoyarcelikservisi.com

  50. teknik servis ara said:

    thank you for topic http://mecidiyekoyboschservisi.com

  51. ariston beylikdüzü servisi said:

    thank you nice blog ariston beylikdüzü servisi

  52. büyükçekmece beko servisi said:

    büyükçekmece beko servisi beyaz e?ya servisi

  53. nlp kimya said:

    nlp kimya ürünleri üretim ve pazarlama

  54. micro dental said:

    microdental dis depous ve dis laboratuvar ürünleri

  55. keser makina said:

    keser makina plastik sisirme makina üretimi

  56. mitsubishi klima servisi said:

    mitsubishi klima bakim ve montaj servisi

  57. gaggenau servisi said:

    gaggenau beyaz esya ve ankastre servisi

  58. çemberleme makinas? said:

    çemberleme makinas? pazarlama ve sat???

  59. avcilar bosch servisi said:

    avcilar bosch beyaz esya servisi

  60. Kerim said:

    good idea and interesting post from you

  61. volkswagen servisi said:

    Volkswagen grubu Binek ve Ticari araç lar?n bak?m? ve teknik servisi

  62. Ahmet Maranki said:

    Ahmet maranki ?ifal? bitkiler

  63. eca servisi said:

    eca kombi klima servisi

  64. Sac ekim said:

    great article my friend

  65. cicek sepeti said:

    interesting post from you

  66. oguzhan said:

    tesekkürler ..

    Internet Reklamc?l?g?

  67. teknospor said:

    thank you topic. i like your site and posts. bedava ligtv

  68. BilisimForum said:

    very nice

  69. fue saç ekimi said:

    hello i think that its the best and the best seach engine in turkey but people must add url more for the generate it.

  70. Plaka Okuma said:

    Great post.

    Actually my customers are both :)

  71. keyifoyun said:

    http://www.keyifoyun.tk titizlikle seçilmi? oyunlar ile can?n?z?n s?k?l?? anda sizlere oyun oynayarak iyi vakit geçirticek en iyi oyun sitesi.Her ya?tan insana uygun oyular ille daha siteye girer girmez kendinizi bir oyun partisinde bulucak ve hangisinden ba?lasam diye ?a??r?caks?n?z.Her oyunun oyuncular?m?z?n kafas? kar??mamas? için aç?klamas? ve nas?l oynan?l?ca??n? yaz?yor ve sizlere oyun oynarken büyük kolayl?k sa?lamak amac?yla gerek sitenin görünümünde gerek içeri?inde elimizden geleni yap?yoruz.?çerimizi ise eski moda görünümlü oyunlar ile de?il teknolojiye ayak uyduran gerek görünümüyle görsel zevki vericek gerek içeri?iyle görsel bir zevk vericek flash oyun ekliyoruz.Sitemizi kullanan oyun sever arkada?lar?m?z?n oyunla ilgili bir hata yada bozukluk gördü?ünde bizlere tek t?kla haber vermelerini sa?layabilmek için hemen oyunun yan?nda bir buton bulunduruyoruz.Oyun ile ilgili bir hata yada bozuklukla kar??la?an arkada??m?z tek t?kla bizlere bildiriyor ve bizde sitemizdeki tüm oyunlar gibi o oyunuda çal???r hale getiriyoruz.Üyelerimiz aras?nda ufak bir rekabet sa?lamak amac?yla her haftan?n oyun birincisini oynad?klar? oyundan ald?klar? puana göre s?ralay?p yay?nl?yoruz.Herkeze en keyifli oyunlarla iyi oyun oynamalar keyifli oyunlar

  72. keyifoyun said:

    http://www.keyifoyun.tk titizlikle seçilmi? oyunlar ile can?n?z?n s?k?l?? anda sizlere oyun oynayarak iyi vakit geçirticek en iyi oyun sitesi.Her ya?tan insana uygun oyular ille daha siteye girer girmez kendinizi bir oyun partisinde bulucak ve hangisinden ba?lasam diye ?a??r?caks?n?z.Her oyunun oyuncular?m?z?n kafas? kar??mamas? için aç?klamas? ve nas?l oynan?l?ca??n? yaz?yor ve sizlere oyun oynarken büyük kolayl?k sa?lamak amac?yla gerek sitenin görünümünde gerek içeri?inde elimizden geleni yap?yoruz.?çerimizi ise eski moda görünümlü oyunlar ile de?il teknolojiye ayak uyduran gerek görünümüyle görsel zevki vericek gerek içeri?iyle görsel bir zevk vericek flash oyun ekliyoruz.Sitemizi kullanan oyun sever arkada?lar?m?z?n oyunla ilgili bir hata yada bozukluk gördü?ünde bizlere tek t?kla haber vermelerini sa?layabilmek için hemen oyunun yan?nda bir buton bulunduruyoruz.Oyun ile ilgili bir hata yada bozuklukla kar??la?an arkada??m?z tek t?kla bizlere bildiriyor ve bizde sitemizdeki tüm oyunlar gibi o oyunuda çal???r hale getiriyoruz.Üyelerimiz aras?nda ufak bir rekabet sa?lamak amac?yla her haftan?n oyun birincisini oynad?klar? oyundan ald?klar? puana göre s?ralay?p yay?nl?yoruz.Herkeze en keyifli oyunlarla iyi oyun oynamalar keyifli oyunlar

  73. Chad Auster said:

    Matsushita/Panasonic. This particular conglomerate has two popular subsidiaries namely National and Panasonic. These two TV manufacturers have always been actively involved in developing tv sets who have picture tubes and labored on cathode rays. Presently, Panasonic has highly designed its Hdtv and Plasma Television systems to hit a unique sector to the market. Its present company name is Panasonic which is also involved in producing many different electronic equipment and even offering non-electronic services.

  74. Beyaz Esya Servis said:

    I used to be able to find good info from your
    articles.

  75. Kombi servisi,istanbul kombi servis,kombi servisleri,tüm marka kombiler,teknik kombi servisi said:

    hello there! , Is fantastic publishing incredibly lots! portion most of us keep up a letters further of your post for Google? My partner and i demand a specialized within this property so that you can solve the difficulty. It’s possible which is people! Waiting for seem you.

  76. ya?am koçlu?u e?itimi said:

    Attractive part of content. I simply stumbled upon your site
    and in accession capital to claim that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing in your feeds or even I fulfillment you get entry to consistently rapidly.

  77. oto tamir said:

    It happens to be a good along with useful section of details. I am just pleased which you contributed this useful details about. You should keep us up to date like this. Many thanks for sharing.

  78. chaude du cul défonçage de trou de balle said:

    Mon petit doigt me dit que ce poste va aller sur un blog perso

  79. My Leads System Pro reviews said:

    It’s really very difficult in this active life to listen news on TV, therefore I just use the web for
    that purpose, and obtain the latest news.

  80. izmir ogrenci koclugu said:

    thank you topic.

  81. izmir kocluk said:

    thank you nice

  82. izmir hizli okuma said:

    thank you friend

  83. mental aritmatik said:

    I read with pleasure your article thanks or a

  84. reiki egitimi said:

    It does everything more expensive shampoos do at a reduced cost.

  85. izmir psikolog said:

    If we meet a customer who is Ignorant and Arrogant ,the nightmare starts. Coz he can not understand a word that we told about. If we speak more complex like an pc expert, he cuts the conversation and begins to speak about his ignorant knowledge…

  86. izmir kocluk said:

    Bob Bly is a well-known and sought-after copywriter, and I was just over at his blog browsing the articles and had to chuckle (well, those of you who know me also know that “chuckle” hardly describes my full-body belly laughs!) at the headline: Are Your Clients Ignorant and Arrogant?

  87. izmir yasam koclugu said:

    thank you

  88. izmir nlp said:

    hello i know the best seach engine from turkey its became new but if you want to

  89. kocluk said:

    hi. thank you

  90. izmir kocluk said:

    hi…thank you topic.

  91. kisisel gelisim said:

    Hi…thank you

  92. izmir yasam koclugu said:

    Thanks you very nices blog

  93. kocluk egitimi said:

    great article! Thank you for this article.

  94. izmir hizli okuma said:

    very nice article! Thank you for this article. very helpful

  95. online koçluk said:

    dispenses employ a terrific web page decent Gives with thanks for the efforts to guide myself

  96. nlp teknikleri said:

    hello, thank you

  97. nlp uzmani said:

    hi, very nice article! Thank you for this article. very helpful

  98. Seocu said:

    http://bayrampasaklimaservisi.sizdeyim.com ula??n bize.

  99. Google 100 milyon dolar da??tacak | Haber, Güncel Haberler, Gündem, Haberler said:

    […] Avrupa ‘daki teknoloji ?irketleri aras?nda umut vadeden projeler üretenleri toplam 100 milyon dolarl?k bir fonla destekleme karar? […]

Leave a Reply