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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Serving the Client's Best Interest is Not Always in the Client's Best Interest!

Ever since PubCon our team has been ignited with new, bold and innovative ideas. I don’t think there has been any point in our eight year history that we have had a better team assembled. We’ve got more ideas on the table than we’ll be able to implement within the next twelve months. That’s both good and bad. Many of the ideas are simply spectacular but we lack the resources to implement them while maintaining focus on our core business. The price of innovating minds, I guess!

One of the things that has come up over our conversations and strategy meetings is our mission statement. We battled it around a bit and came up with a mission statement that we like and one which everybody in our office can get behind as our overriding purpose:

To provide accelerated, sustainable business growth for our clients through the development and implementation of innovative marketing strategies.

Each word in that statement was carefully chosen. We didn’t want anything that was simply mumbo-jumbo but really reflected how we feel we want to serve our clients. We don’t consider this a final draft however, as we continue to mull it over.

One thing I wanted the mission to convey is that we are in business to serve our clients, not ourselves. But the more I thought about this the more I realized that this sentiment is not entirely true. While we want our purpose to be client-centric we realized that in order for us to properly serve our clients we have to serve ourselves as well.

Do what is in the client’s best interest

While I’d like to think that business is as simple as doing what’s in the client’s best interest, it’s not. More accurately, we want to do what’s in the client’s best interest provided it does not go against our own best interest in the process. Think that’s the wrong approach? Then go try running a profitable business giving away all your services or products, and not just as a sales gimmick! Wouldn’t your client and customers be better served by such a move? Wouldn’t that allow them to get a higher profit margin or keep more money in their pocket?

It certainly would, but that also conflicts with what’s in your best interests and believe it or not your best interests are also tied to what is best for the client. Clients want us to help them make money. That’s what they pay us for and that’s what we want to deliver to them. But we also want to make money for ourselves and its in our client’s best interest that we do so. Why? because if we are not making money, then anything we do for our clients will be on a short-term basis. If one company does not remain profitable, this effects many others and their ability to remain profitable.

Balancing the best interests of both

Business is about balance. If you only look after yourself then you’ll find that you’re not doing what you’re paid to do. Sooner or later people stop paying you and you’ll be closing your doors. On the other hand you can’t only do what is best for others otherwise you’ll wind up in the same place, just for different reasons.

Over the years we’ve struggled with balancing pricing with service. We have consistently improved our services by adding increased value to them but have always struggled to keep them affordable at the same time.

My philosophy on our services has been to never offer a service that is not wholly complete. I don’t want to sell something and then have to tell the client, “well, if you want to succeed now you’ll have to buy this other service too.” And while everything we offer in our services is not always 100% necessary 100% of the time to make our clients successful, it is absolutely important to the overall goal of improving the performance of our client’s websites. Many come to us wanting top rankings but we want to deliver to them “accelerated, sustainable business growth.”

So the balance is to offer services that serve our clients at a pricing level that is affordable but also profitable for us. We strive to provide services that do more than meets the eye, to achieve more than superficial results and to help the business improve in areas that they had never thought about. It’s to serve our clients best interests without neglecting our own. That’s the most important part. The next time someone tries to get you to do something for them because its in their interest to do so, remember this: if it goes against your interests, it often goes against their own as well.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

3 Responses to Serving the Client's Best Interest is Not Always in the Client's Best Interest!

  1. Seth Tachick says:

    Great point about serving the client’s best interest. That’s totally true, if we were serving their best interest fully our services would be free, and we’d all be working 20 hour shifts totally dedicated to them. Not very realistic!

  2. Jonas Hartley says:

    I get it but it’s a little obtuse in your description of serving our own and our client’s best interests. Otherwise, aptly put.

  3. Liz Phillips says:

    Those people you have working on your team are pretty good looking…especially the girl. Oh, wait, that’s me!