Red on Marketing Blog

Tales From Blunderland: Failure To Call A Halt

It's important to respect the law of diminishing returns when revising marketing material.

  Law of Diminishing Returns Image

When it comes to edits, often
less is more. Each revision
can add 
less and less quality 

and impact to the piece. 
We have to be very mindful 
that failing to say "no" to a
client is sometimes a
big mistake. 

We encourage our clients to present a "warts and all" picture of their work, because we know that people can see through the slick image-making that so often accompanies a marketing effort.

So it's only right to show a few warts of our own.

I'm still kicking myself over a recent failure on my part. I let a piece of client marketing material go into at least a dozen revisions. Some of the revisions were substantive, but a lot of them weren't. As we slogged through the seemingly interminable series of revisions, I recognized that we were getting diminishing returns. Each revision was adding less and less to the quality and impact.

I should have provided better leadership for our team by being clear I thought money was going down the drain with each additional revision.

Wishful Thinking

Why did I hesitate about pushing back more strongly? Anyone who knows me knows I am not a shrinking violet. I have strong opinions, and I can usually articulate them and back them up with reasons. In this case I think I got suckered into thinking that we were just... about... there. Each time I thought that with one final tweak, the client would be happy with the result ad we could put it to bed. 

But that was a mirage. We kept making the "final" tweaks and consensus seemed to be just within reach, but then there would be a request for one more change. We did that about 10 times.

There were significant costs in my allowing that to happen. Some are short-term costs in terms of putting aside other work. There also was a long-term impact on my team's motivation and goodwill. My team members always honor their commitments in terms of what they will be billing, and I always honor my commitments in terms of what we will be billing.

I have to be very mindful that failing to say "no" to a client is sometimes a big mistake. Our role was to generate and help promote strong content. We achieved that very early in the process. It would have served our client better to insist on the value of our expertise and say, "We're there."

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Topics: Performance Lead Generation Design