5 things I learned from my Peggy Olsen moment

5 things I learned from my Peggy Olsen moment

Peggy Olsen is my hero.

A long time ago I got some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. Oddly enough it was business advice from a psychic woman claiming to be channeling alien beings (so I guess it was advice from aliens) but that’s neither here nor there. What she/they told me was that, as a small business, I always needed to have three income streams. Three things that could generate revenue. If one went belly up I’d still be good to go.

So I am a marketing consultant, a PR person and a writer. The writing I only do on the side usually but for one client I’m doing marketing and writing. Do you remember the Mad Men episode this season where Peggy Olsen loses it in frustration in front of a client? That’s just what I did last week. Rather than just feel like a fool I think there are some really good lessons that might be helpful for you too.

First of all when you create ads there is always input from the client and they often like to tinker with the layout and copy. That’s fine but sometimes their attempts to “fix” an ad by re-writing copy or doing design (rather than provide constructive criticism) can feel a bit personal. I didn’t ream out the client like Peggy did but I did send a terse email that in hindsight, I wish I’d just written and saved. It’s all fine now but there are a few things I think we can all learn from this moment.

1. When your ego is too involved the outcome is always bad. I let my insecurities build and my ego came roaring out. How dare you, Mr. Client, question my expertise!

2. It’s really difficult to play creative AND account manager. As the consultant I’m supposed to be the buffer between the client and the creative team. Maybe trying to be both isn’t such a great idea.

3. Clients need ┬áto figure out what they don’t like about a piece of creative work – this constructive criticism lets the creative team do what they do best. Tinkering with copy or layout is not your job (if you’re a client) although it’s always tempting. Offering up suggestions is great…just don’t try to do their job for them.

4. If I’m not getting constructive criticism I need to remind myself to dig for it even when I’m frustrated or feel like there’s NO pleasing a client. This information is always helpful in the short-term and in the long-term.

5. Finally, if there’s trust in the relationship – if you’re a client or if you’re the consultant to the client – these things happen and getting through them can make the relationship (and the work) stronger.

What about you…have you ever “blown up” at a client? Did you keep them?


1 Comment
  • JackMustus
    Posted at 07:01h, 15 June Reply

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