During a recent conference we were asked, “Who makes a good AE Marketing Group client?” It was a fair question, albeit one that was presented through a slightly different lens than the one we use at AE Marketing Group.
That’s because, in an industry filled with far too many strained agency/client relationships, we’ve never referred to our customers as “clients.” This simple, yet powerful, differentiation in thinking is embedded throughout our company culture and it has helped drive 31 consecutive months of 100% customer retention.
It also helps, of course, to have good customers. Previously in this blog, we shared an entry about a bad customer, but today the question is what exactly does make for a good AE Marketing Group customer? Well, let’s look at one and find out.
Meet Zorch. Once named the fastest-growing company in Chicago – and the eighth fastest-growing in the country, according to Inc. magazine – this AE customer is disrupting the branded merchandise industry for the world’s biggest companies. But what is it about Zorch that makes them such a good customer fit for us?
1. They Share Our Business Philosophies
At AE, we see branding as a business function, not a creative one. There absolutely is a time and place for creativity. But in today’s market, who cares how good your advertising creative is if your experience, products, services and/or employees are lousy?
“Zorch is poised for continued growth, so it was important to find a brand partner that understood the business-side of marketing first and foremost,” says Zorch Chief Executive Officer Mike Wolfe.
2. They Remember Why They Hired Us
Any good partnership requires honest communication. That means sometimes telling your partner something they may not want to hear. All too often, agencies or customers tend to forget this. It’s important, however, to recognize that customers are experts in their business (and industry) and that we are brand experts. Trust us and remember that you pay us to share our expertise.
“I appreciate AE Marketing Group’s candor and the way they present their point of view,” says Zorch Vice President Lauren Senter. “We always feel they have our brand’s best interests in mind, even when telling us something we don’t want to hear or haven’t thought of.”
3. They See the Big Picture
Too often people get hung up on every last detail or try to serve every audience and forget the end game. This fuels the risk of brands becoming a commodity, with agencies pushing unnecessary tactics while savvy consumers look elsewhere.
“AE keeps it simple, with a less-is-more approach that allows us to focus on what really matters from a design perspective,” says Zorch Creative Director Joe Hosler.
4. They Respect our Differences
AE is not like most marketing companies, and we’re just fine with that. We get asked all the time, “What is it that you do? Are you an ad agency? A creative boutique? A digital shop?” The easy answer for us is “No.” Working together with our customers, we build brands through co-creation, customer experience marketing and connect you with consumers.
“I like these guys,” Zorch CEO Mike Wolfe says. “AE Marketing Group’s approach and style was different than a traditional agency from day one.”
So, now that you know what makes a good AE Marketing Group customer, we welcome you to share what makes a good brand partner for you. Leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.