How to lose a client
You’ll rarely lose a client by doing bad work. They’ll likely tell you how far off the mark you are and give you another shot.
You rarely lose work for doing crazy, out of the box work. They’ll likely tell you to rein it back in.
You lose clients for doing mediocre work. Consistent mediocre work is your death knell.
Why Agencies Do Mediocre Work
For some agencies mediocre work is the best they can do. Some may have underbid the project and weren’t able to put the proper talent on the project. Sometimes too much money was rewarded to the project and people got lazy and then behind. Most often complexities weren’t uncovered early, profit margins dwindled and a line had to be drawn in the sand. The output of all these scenarios is mediocrity. The work was good enough to get sign off and payment but not enough to wow anyone or win awards.
Unfortunately mediocrity supports sign off throughout a project, especially under tight deadlines. Mediocrity has amazing jazz hands and a tightrope walker’s balance of facts and buzzwords. But in the end the promise of getting it done usurps the promise of achieving the actual business goal. The agency is not the only one to blame as mediocre projects often have fuzzy business goals supporting mediocre delivery, since measurement is difficult.
The biggest problem with longterm mediocrity — steadfast support by both clients and agencies. ‘Good enough’ for long enough comes to end seemingly out of nowhere. Seemingly.