Nauman Akbar, Founder and Owner of MessageMuse, a Full Service Digital Marketing Agency, talks about Effective Communication with your Web Developer and your Reputation Manager.

I always find it a curious phenomenon to be hired or engaged by a person or a company only to be treated as an adversary. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it always takes me a little aback. Why would I want to give bad advice to my customer? Why would I not do what a customer wishes? Why would you feel like I was pestering you if you hired me? If the project succeeds, it means an accomplishment for all of us, to include my digital marketing agency. So if you are my customer, I will always do the best for you—whether it be for website design, mobile app developing or branding and reputation management. In return, clients should try to avoid the three situations I describe below. Any of these will make your project harder, more expensive, or ineffective. And it will leave your digital marketing agency in a quandary over what is really going on.

Icarus, your wings are made of wax

This is one of the most unusual phenomena in the business. It is the situation where I try to discuss the challenges of a project but the customer shuts me down—just doesn’t want to hear it. Sometimes clients come to me with requests for features that on the surface seem to be quite a challenge. Whether a mobile app feature, a database that must be built and maintained or a capability that you want to be included in your mobile app design, I am thinking out loud about the hurdles to be crossed for three reasons:

  1. You may have information that is important to the topic or would make the task easier to achieve.
  2. I learn what your priorities really are.
  3. If the project must be done and there are no alternatives, it may signal an increase in budget.

When these situations occur, I am always reminded of the Greek mythology story of Icarus and Daedalus. As you may remember, Daedalus and his son were attempting to escape the island of Crete. Daedalus, the inventor, built wings made of wax for them to use to fly away. But as Icarus donned the wings his father gave him a warning: Don’t fly to close to the sun or your wings of wax will melt, you will crash into the ocean and you will perish. It was simple advice that would have been easily heeded except that Icarus was not open to listening. Instead he thought he knew more than someone else and let his arrogance take control. For that he lost his life.

And this is what I think of when I try to discuss the challenges of a project with a client, only to be snapped at and then ignored. A digital agency or mobile app developer will not know all the answers but they likely have insights that you don’t. So let him talk. Let him think out loud. Encourage valuable discussions about challenges and commitments that your project may require. If you are willing to make them then there is no problem and you can plan for them. If what he says makes you think twice about this dream of yours, then that leads to a discussion of other options that may yield a more efficient project with less commitment on your part.

In thinking about why someone would try to shut me up regarding what they want to do, I have come to the conclusion that it is a reflex that comes from others telling them something can’t be done. So in some ways, I understand the visceral response. But remember that your digital marketing agency is on your side. If we talk you out of the project, we don’t get paid. So the next time your digital agency voices concern over a project, just listen and ask, “How can we overcome these concerns?” Then just listen….and listen….and listen. It is your payment for services talking. Get your money’s worth.

Lack of planning on your part doesn’t not constitute an emergency on my part

We have seen this saying on office plaques, bumper stickers and coffee mugs. It is popular because it is true. As a digital marketer, I have found that there are usually only a handful of situations that are true emergencies and we at MessageMuse are more than willing to fix them regardless of the day of the week or the hour. But many customer emergencies are not real emergencies. They are situations where two conditions exist: The client failed to plan ahead and the client wants his way immediately. Needless to say, as our customers we want you to be happy but the reasonableness of a request is always resonating. Requests or demands that come flying in at 3AM in on a Sunday morning with “crisis words” attached to the messages and repeated phone calls coming in over something that sounds equal to your house burning down, rarely meets the test of urgency that the messages would suggest. Here is a news flash. The following do not constitute and emergency:

  1. A change in font type on your website design that you approved previously.
  2. Increasing a boosted post by another $50 because the sale you are running is “important” and this needs to be done NOW even though the sale activities were initiated three weeks ago.
  3. Giving your sister access to your mobile app so she can test it.
  4. Changing your photo because the one you told me to use now makes you look fat.

All of these things can be accomplished but they can wait until Monday. Your digital marketing agency wants to please you so histrionics are not required.

What is interesting is that reasonable people are usually always reasonable and “management by crisis” clients usually remain so. The next time you are tempted to send one of those urgent cries for help, be sure to include the preamble of “when it is convenient, would you……”

Or if it truly urgent, say, “I am sorry to bother you but I think this is an urgent matter….”

A realistic view of one’s place in the universe of woes is always a welcomed and celebrated attribute. Your digital marketing agency and likely your entire family will appreciate your perspective.

Am I pecking you to death?

As with the other behaviors, this is one of those situations that leaves me scratching my head in wonderment. I would say that I would like to get into the heads of clients that think this way but I am too scared to go there.

Digital marketing agencies usually sign contracts with clients and the client is eager to interact to get their projects completed–whether it is a mobile app launched on the app store, or a website design that goes live or a reputation management plan that is to be implemented. As digital marketers, we understand the excitement clients have for their projects and the commitment of time and money they must make.

What I don’t understand is the client who tells you that there is an urgency to his project and then when you contact him to move forward, he acts like you are bothering him. Digital marketing agencies take you at your word that there is a need for urgency. And we also know what is happening related to workload in our offices. When I talk to you about your project, I may feel that I can handle your time requirements but as other projects materialize, your lack of action may put you at the back of the line and out of reach for your time targets. So when I follow up to see where we are on moving forward, I am not a telemarketer making a cold call. When you get around to me again, don’t be surprised that the timeline for your project has shifted forward by two months. Remember a digital marketing agency works on a first come first serve basis. There is no holding a slot for you while you decide what you want to do and when you want to do it. Be prepared to engage once you start the ball rolling.

In conclusion, 99% of my clients are great to work with and I will do everything to make their project a success. For the other 1%, come back from Bizzaro Land and take a look at how to improve not just your digital agency interaction but your priorities and planning for your business activities as a whole. It will make all the difference in the world.

This article is brought to you by Nauman Akbar, founder and owner of MessageMuse, a leader in offshore digital IT services. We are a full service digital marketing agency offering website development, enterprise app solutions for businesses, mobile app development, reputation management, logo design, and branding. We currently have customers internationally and in the US. We are now expanding our services to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia. We are a registered business with the Delaware Secretary of State. We welcome individuals, businesses, and brokers to check out all the services and skills we offer. Give us a call at +1 (704) 315-2120 or check out our website at or send us an email at . Let us help your business find creative digital solutions at any price point.