Is the whole world running 20 minutes late? – or just marketing?

I ran into a client on Oaks Day at the Flemington Races last week. They were having a terrific day in one of the media proprietor’s marquees in the Birdcage, but for some reason the discussion soon turned to work and especially the current state of their relationship with their advertising agency and agencies.

The big “What cheeses me off” for this marketer is the fact that their agency is typically running 20 minutes late for every meeting, sometimes up to 45 minutes late. So here is the marketing team sitting in the meeting room waiting for the agency. There can be three or four people from the marketing department waiting 20 minutes, that is 1 – 1.33 head hours wasted waiting for the agency.

I asked them how did this make them feel? Typically, the response was that the agency consistently running late and leaving them waiting made the marketing team feel like the agency didn’t care and had no respect for their client’s time.

I commented that this was funny, because I usually find that it is the marketeers that are always running late from back to back meetings. As I have commented on in previous posts. In fact it has got so bad that I have two rules:

1. If I am going to be more than a few minutes late I will call ahead to advise of my revised estimated arrival time (often met with surprise as apparently few people bother to demonstrate this level of integrity)

2. If I am left waiting more than 15 minutes without a reason or a request to wait I leave, leaving behind a message for my appointment to call to make a new appointment. (Even if this is potentially major new business, it is not worth working for anyone who shows such a blatant disregard for the value of your time).

Having mentioned that I find it is usually marketeers that leave suppliers like myself and agencies waiting, the client I was talking to confessed that no matter how late the agency is, their boss, the head of marketing is always later.

The funny part of their story was that the agency always apologies for being late, even though clearly they are not so sorry that they change their ways. However, the head of marketing never apologies. It is possible that this is their way of asserting their position and at the same time wasting everyone else’s time.

Next time you are waiting for someone who is running late, why not say to them on their arrival and after their glib apology “when you are late it wastes my time and I feel like you are not taking this process/project/job seriously or showing enough respect/care/thought for me and the team”. Then lets see what their reaction is.

Author: Darren Woolley

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About Darren Woolley

Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com
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