Most of what we do in advertising is driven and guided by relationships.
In the beginning, we nurture and tend to the development of the prospect relationship like a fledgling seed. Once we're hitched and hired, we work double time every single day to build and foster our client relationships. Making the number of days that our client partners remain in their jobs of great importance to the work we do.
If my conversations in Toronto are any indication, CMO's enjoy longer career life spans in Canada than most do in the U.S. (though some who would otherwise enjoy a long career in Canada leave for New York or elsewhere in the States), extending the time agencies in Canada have to develop a foundation of trust and partnership with their clients.
A longer career, and thus client relationship, may be a blessing or a curse depending on the client, but most of the creatives I spoke with in Toronto consider this a blessing. From ECD's to Canada's leading Creative Directors, the work that leads their portfolios resulted from long-standing client relationships rooted in at least trust, if not also friendship.
The riskiest, boundary-pushing work relies on that trust. It relies on the ability of the agency creative lead to say to the client, "I believe this will work for your brand, but we must take that leap of faith together." Because every leap taken has two possible outcomes: success or failure. Only experience informs our intuition.
Building a long term relationship with a client allows for the kind of partnership and experience that allows the agency to make recommendations that will move a brand forward. Turnover in the CMO role requires re-educating a new client contact on the creative legacy of their own brand and rebuilding that trust and partnership from day one. Furthermore, if the new CMO feels the pressure of a results-reliant 18-month career lifespan, the agency will feel that pressure ten-fold.
Do you feel the pressure or are you building beautiful client relationships?
What are your thoughts on the length of a CMO's career and the impact it has on the client-agency relationship?
South Africa, how long do your clients typically stay in their jobs?
Canada, would you agree with what I've heard to date in conversation?
Pros in other countries, what is your take?
Weigh in via the comments below, via Facebook or via Twitter.