Friday, April 20, 2012

The Customer is (Almost) Always Right

(This is the first of a series of guest posts written by students in the PR Writing and Design class this semester. Today's guest is Zach Doty, a senior Marketing and Strategic Communication major who will be graduating in about three weeks. Zach is pursuing leads on three positions with different advertising agencies. For a look at his internships and other experiences, visit his portfolio site at .) 

Recently, I approached a local small business for an opportunity to redesign their website. During the site building process, the client and I had a few instances where we disagreed on design of the site. In this experience, I learned firsthand a lesson taught at my advertising agency internships. The customer is almost always right. Allow me to explain myself before blatantly going against a customer service adage.

As a marketing or communications professional, you’re often faced with a challenge the client cannot do, or is unable to do themselves. For example, a local small business needs a new website. However, they do not have the expertise to make a new one. Keep that in mind as a professional. When working with a client, make sure it is a partnership, not a benevolent dictatorship (this goes both ways).

If the client doesn’t know about what they’re getting themselves into, educate them. If you don’t understand what it’s like to run their business, dive in. Like communicating to a consumer, the client relationship should be a level playing field based on mutual transactions. In a roundabout way, if a client asks for falling snowflakes on their website, politely say no. Just make sure to explain why and drive deeper into what they want out of a website.

To sum up, the customer is not always right. However, always make sure the client’s needs are addressed, but in the most suitable manner.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We're Back!

I'm sure it seems pretty ironic that someone who teaches about social media and effective communication hasn't posted anything since October. It's not that I haven't had anything to say - quite the opposite! We've had a lot of exciting things going on in the Communication department since October. Here are a few highlights:

  • The RTV program purchased a TriCaster 300, a portable 13-channel HD live production system which makes it possible to stream video on the web. The TriCaster arrived on campus at the end of January, and its first job was a simulcast of an interview with the gospel blues band Brick Fields live on air and as an internet video stream through UStream.
  • Dr. John Dailey was hired as Assistant Professor of Radio/Television/Video. Dr. Dailey has taught in the multimedia program at Ball State University in Indiana and brings expertise in web design for television to our program. He will begin teaching at Ozarks in the fall.
  • Two Strategic Communication students, Hidenobu Kameya and Naima Lopez, were part of the presentation team that won the regional competition for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization in March. The team will now go to the national competition in May.
  • Communication students and faculty joined together for a Mardi Gras-style luncheon on Assessment Day in February. Faculty members provided the food, including a pair of king cakes, complete with plastic baby.
There's more excitement to come in the weeks ahead. Of course, everyone has a lot of projects to finish between now and finals week. Plans are in the works for a celebration/awards dinner April 24. Graduation is May 12, and we have our largest group of Strategic Communication graduates ever. Then Monday, May 14, summer school begins, with three unique offerings from the Communication department.

I promise to do a better job keeping everyone up to date with what's going on!

Here's a picture of the virgin run of the Tricaster:

And a shot from our Mardi Gras luncheon:

We'll be back later in the week with a series of guest posts written by students in the PR Writing and Design class - look for them!