... doesn't take much effort, really.
Seth Godin sums it all up in the first paragraph in his blog entry:
As a [marketing] client, your job isn’t to be innovative. Your job is to foster innovation.
The goal of marketing clients should be to inspire its marketing teams to create innovative solutions, to be catalysts of innovative thinking, to be midwives to the birthing of an idea - and ultimately to reward the innovators.
I have worked with a number of clients and I can say now that I have encountered clients that have been great at inspiring their partners to create innovative, creative solutions to business problems. I have also encountered clients that somehow missed the mark.
Based on my experience, what differentiated those who were great marketing clients from those who missed the market completely was this:
Those who were great marketing clients were inspiring.
And it was not only in the 'briefing documents' that this "inspiringness" was communicated:
From the way they talk about the issues the brand faces and the opportunities it has
From the way they deal with their marketing "suppliers" in meetings
From the way they speak on the phone
From the way they ask clarifying questions
From the way they remunerate their agencies
From the way they create ecosystems of collaborations
From the way they empower their partners with information
From the way they share data and updated information
From the way they talk on the phone
From the way they reward both the company and the team that worked
Those who missed the mark were more concerned about their "missing spots", "paginations" on today's newspaper, the "missing" row in their media plans containing the discounts and bonuses and freebies negotiated by the company, their "PR write-up with photo please" on this week's society pages, their CPCs and CPAs and CPMs...