Several Marketing Professionals hanging out here at were recently comparing stories about clients who didn’t listen and ‘prospects’ who didn’t become clients.  OK, it was a bitch session.

First, Ted who is an Agency VP in the Midlands showed up and threw his backpack cum laptop case across the clubhouse.  “Damn Bureaucrats!”  Susan, a Graphic Artist from the Coast who had been up for two straight nights finishing a presentation only to learn the her client  called off the meeting at the last minute to play Golf in a ProAm, immediately asked Ted:  “Well, what’s wrong?  What Bureaucrats?”

Ted went on to share his frustration about a State Government account his agency had been pursuing for four months; 11 meetings; three formal presentations and as many budget reviews all to ultimately get a 57 page Generic Request For Proposal from an on-line E-Procurement Division.

Worse still, after talking with his client contacts and being assured it was just procedure, Ted reformatted everything again to meet the requests of the proposal.  Apparently, several other agencies had, too.  After all, “purchasing” needs at least three bids…

After about 97 man hours of work devoted to securing the account for his agency, ultimately Ted lost out to a lower bid.  This time when he went back to “his contacts” Ted learned the decision was made by an agent for The States’ Office of Buying (S.O.B.).  This person  had not participated in the Agency Review; had never contributed anything towards the Discovery process, but  was thoroughly adept at being sure State Law B.141.//ac4 which states “all submissions must be in Didactic Format unless Non-Didactic format is expressly requested herein” was included in the RFP.

Jerry said it reminded him of the time he found out through some industry pals that his agency was one of fourteen being solicited by an Overseas Manufacturing firm that had just set up shop in Asheville.  The company had no intention of hiring any agencies; but, figured a good dozen of them would do serious Spec work and market research to make their U.S. debut a strong one.  As long as they kept getting proposals, not only could they put off picking an agency but they could put off launching their own campaigns.  After all, money spent on marketing no longer drops to the bottom line profit they needed to show their Parent co. back home.

Overhearing the griping, Judy chimed in.  “You know even when you have the client, half the time they don’t listen.  She shared a story of a Fortune 1000 firm – one that was even still profitable – that was spending over $50,000 to attend a tradeshow and conference wasn’t willing to spend even 10% of it to update their look.  Worse, the message in their current graphics was from a three year old ad campaign that hadn’t seen the light of day in two years.  “Don’t these bozos realize not only their clients will be there but their best prospects, too?

Several folks had stopped in to the clubhouse after a Healthcare Marketing conference.  One, a nurse, was trying to fully understand the griping.  She tried to put it into her world of Life and Death medicine.  “Now let me get this straight,” she said and then turned to Judy.

“It sounds like your client , or patient, spends a ton of money to get to the Best Doctor in town and then disregards the medical advice.”  She then turned to Jerry.  “In your case, it sounds more like a patient that keeps going to a series of Doctors as a way of masking the inevitable fact that the patient needs to go on a diet, stop smoking and get more exercise.”

Ted had settled down a bit after hearing his fellow Carolina Marketer’s frustrations.  He was interested in how the Nurse would compare his situation to healthcare.  Judy thought it over for a moment then asked :  “have you been to a Doctor lately?”  Thinking of not only his weekly visits to the Shrink, but his ulcer meds and prescription for Male pattern baldness Ted replied “just for a check up.”

Judy continued, “what was the first thing that happened when you went into the doctors reception area?”  All assembled were mentally picturing the same scenario of an overworked Physician Office Assistant asking “have there been any changes to the insurance we have on file for you?”

Judy asked if we knew “who was making the decisions on our treatments?  The Nurses may perform triage; the doctors may diagnose and prescribe, but the decision about services being rendered are coming from the HMO or Insurance company.”  She turned to Ted and said “you pitched the doctors – but forgot the HMO!”

Nobody felt better.  We all had a craving to be healthy.  Damn bureaucrats!