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Remember that incredibly exciting new company I raved about?
Well, it’s all over.
It came crashing down last week.
Not because I missed a detail.
But because I didn’t fit the BIG picture.
Fifteen hours of my life down the drain.
Two thousand bucks in revenue – gone.
May this lesson save you a similar heartache.
They say three’s a crowd.
In this case, it was me, the company and their BIG Picture Guy (BPG) – a consultant.
The BPG wanted a BIG ad for a BIG campaign.
But on researching the company’s website, I found a dearth of supporting data.
I argued that without this, prospects sent to the website by the BIG ad would land, look, laugh and leave.
The BPG agreed, so I immediately fired a salvo of questions to elicit the missing info.
My questions were so technical, the BPG referred me straight to the company – with whom I soon developed effective rapport.
Once I had enough info, I emailed my new web content idea.
The company was delighted.
The BPG didn’t reply.
With time short, and thinking the company took precedence over the BPG, I pressed on.
Two days later, I proudly presented the draft web copy from which the BIG ad could now be distilled.
The BPG was NOT impressed.
Where was the BIG ad?!
I reiterated that, to be effective, BIG ads (especially technical ones) should evolve from a bedrock of facts.
He replied that the facts could come later, and that the ad came first.
I asked what the company thought.
He said they were out of town, and the he was calling the BIG shots.
I realised then that we’d approached this project from opposite and irreconcilable ends of the spectrum.
The BPG asked if I wished to revisit the brief at my expense.
With heavy heart and stung pride, I declined.
He said he’d have trouble justifying payment for my work thus far.
I agreed that, though I’d delivered vital website content, I’d made two technical errors:
- I’d forgotten that, for the purpose of this exercise, the BPG was my client – not the company.
- I’d failed to deliver a BIG ad, as clearly specified in the brief.
It didn’t matter that I was sure the company would love what I’d done, once they saw it.
Or that I’d bet my house the BPG was doing his client a disservice by putting the cart before the horse.
I’d let professional pride cloud reality.
And so I won’t charge. (Unless, of course, my web copy appears down the track.)
As this bitter pill burns my guts, I recall a line from the BPG’s request for quotation:
‘I need a copywriter who can take direction, and is not precious.’
I thought I could, and wasn’t.
But I couldn’t, and was.
What do you think?
Has this ever happened to you?