Where Marketing and Contracts Meet

I’m often asked to review contracts my clients are about to sign to help them evaluate risks – including the contracts they plan on sending to their own customers.

While wading through the legalese (and, believe me, even lawyers’ eyes glaze over reading this stuff), my role is primarily to distinguish the “nice-to-haves” from the “need-to-haves” and offer suggestions for revisions. That role understood, I often find myself suggesting that my clients build something else into their contracts:

Marketing Value

We all know that businesses often benefit by showcasing their actual work on brochures and websites using photographs. After all, there’s a huge difference between saying, “we do custom windows” and including photos that show an impressive variety of custom window projects completed for customers who’ve become raving fans.

The same goes for testimonials. While not a photo, per se, testimonials are essentially a snapshot of what it’s like to do business with your firm. Specifically, the value your company brings to the table.

So, why not build your customers’ permission to use photographs, testimonials and even case studies or results reports in your marketing materials right into your engagement contracts?

Whether your business offers graphic design or construction services or anything else, a vivid and growing portfolio of finished project photos, testimonials and results reports is likely one of your company’s most valuable assets – and it’s well worth obtaining permission up front.

Of course, some customers may object and you may need to calm some fears, but, in my experience, most are only too happy to oblige as long as no trade secrets are revealed.

Now, I know the old saying that it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. But, as with many old sayings, it’s not always true. The need to apologize may cost you time, money and even a customer when getting permission up front could have been literally effortless.

Eliot Wagonheim shares business insights that help companies stay on course. Get our latest blog posts sent right to your inbox. Subscribe using the sign up form to the left of this post.

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