Doug Winz published an article on October 31st in iMedia Connection entitled “Fatal Flaws in Ad Operations.” Doug was talking about publisher ad servers, which is always relevant but what I want to take from it is that Doug paid attention to the topic of Account Management and Client Support.
The obvious observation made in this article is that client support is an expensive proposition for a vendor, and it is an area where costs are controlled and usually, cut over time as a business is grown. Client relationships degrade and can suffer as a company grows and the account relationship development effort can sometimes be neglected up to the point where real problems arise. Then, and only then, does real effort get paid and then do things happen only to find that sometimes it may be too late. Doug talked about Publisher Client Relations and about how it is necessary to maintain more constant contact, but this is true with all online advertising vendor relationships.
Ad servers are notorious for this problem. Publisher ad servers are particularly bad because the margins are tighter on this smaller sites (low CPM rates) and Advertiser ad servers are bad because the dominant players have grown large enough that customer support has been trimmed to control costs.
I have talked about MatchLogic, and its successor TruEffect and how we employ a dedicated Account Management strategy as opposed to a customer support helpline. But we’re not alone in this. There are other companies out there that believe in the personal relationship. And they are not all small companies. Microsoft – for as large as it is – has dedicated Partner Account Managers for every Systems Integrator, ISV and VAR that they work with. They value the importance of dedicated relationships. So its not just a small company that is able to take the approach, it is strategic companies that take the approach. Relationships drive businesses that grow. Relationships also sustain business growth. So when clients are managed continuously, problems are mitigated before they have the opportunity to become significant. But more important, perception is reality. And the perception of a dedicated client relationship is that the client matters and the company cares about the relationship.
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