By now, it should be obvious that we’re all about humanizing B2B content.
Many things are crucial in increasing revenue: Engaging your audience, building the brand, being mentally available, etc. But at the core is, we believe, business empathy. Something that concerns not only your customers but also the people you are with and what you stand for. A mix of brand reputation and employer branding? Not quite.
Business empathy is many things.
Focusing on your customers and their needs. It’s important to see the person on the other side of the table (or email) and realize that we’re both people in this entire endeavor. The customer is not an ATM or an extension of their company’s new business division, but a mother, father, brother, sister… you get the idea.
And people run on emotions, worries, hopes… you also get the idea. You’re human, after all. (See what we did there?)
Contractors are people, too.
A lot of businesses treat their contractors like trash. Maybe it’s because a company’s HR department only concerns itself with in-house issues, but it can get pretty dire.
We’ve seen text messages from marketing managers to agency creatives and account managers lined with threats and aggressive statements.
Many businesses act as if the moment you treat your contractors with respect, they’ll somehow screw you over. Don’t ask us for the logic behind this one.
The Golden Rule
We’re all for treating everyone with respect. Clients, employees, and contractors, like you or me, have families, lives, and feelings. People, remember?
When you treat your freelancer or agency like partners, they will be happy to move mountains for you. On the flip side, if you treat them like a commodity, you will experience a churn of collaborators because no one will want to work with you. (People talk.) And the quality will drop. But none of that matters if you yourself change agencies every year.
Take the time to explain what you need and have a strategy. You’re going to put in more work defining simple and concrete objectives, but you’ll be saving 30% of your marketing budget from day one (Yup, 30% of marketing budgets are eaten up by poorly thought out, unfocused, incohesive briefs).
A good brief saves you from changing objectives and scope midstream when everyone realizes that instead of going right, they were going left…
Define your budget.
Say how much you want to spend, and don’t play guessing games with your contractors. Most contractors want to do the best work possible, and many will aim to exceed expectations. If you withhold this important information, you are wasting the precious time you have for them to be creative in working towards a common goal.
When you get a great creative and then find out you cannot afford it, tensions rise. This could be avoided by openly defining your financial parameters. When in doubt, know that most people like honesty. It’s the best policy.
Don’t be afraid to help them grow and make money.
Some businesses/ people jump through hoops to delay payment as much as possible. Do you have a 90-day payment plan? Do you offer an advance at the start of the project? Are you inadvertently forcing the contractor to take out a loan just to complete your project?
If so, your contractor is carrying your burden on their backs. And if you can’t pay for your own projects, I’m sorry to tell you this, bud, but your brand is shit. I said what I said. I said what anyone dealing with you would think.
When COVID hit, and suddenly all plans went out the window, some organizations cut costs by laying off staff or deleting contracts. Some, on the other hand, decided to help their employees and contractors. So did we. And guess what? In turn, our clients helped us not to fold.
They gave us smaller projects, we gave them smaller quotes, they gave us advances, and you know what happened? In all that chaos and uncertainty, we worked 200% harder to make them happy. And we’re all here.
So let’s use business empathy.
As a service provider:
Treat your client’s needs and budget with respect
Don’t get offended that they can’t afford your Cannes Lions Winning idea
Create proposals that address their challenges and give them options; one or two that fit just right and one that is slightly more ambitious
On the client side:
Treat your contractors with respect and understanding
Respect their time and their lives outside of work
Provide them with information they need to create better work. You want it, and so do they. And that’s only possible through precise information, realistic expectations, good briefs, and clear financial parameters.