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I spent last week at Nag’s Head, NC for the annual Beckstoffer Beach Week – a multi-generational family reunion of my husband’s family that included 14 Beckstoffers from 3 generations. In past years, there have been as many as 40-some Beckstoffers in 3 or more homes. Did I mention they’re all Type-A personalities? Not that I dread the week, the weather is usually lovely and who can complain about a week at the beach? But it can be a challenging week with drama and competition and everything that a large, confident family brings with them. They even play competitive solitaire for heaven’s sake!

But this year was different — it was quiet, fun, even relaxing — without over the top competition and difficulty in communicating. One of my sisters-in-law attributed it to the fact that we’ve been doing this for 10 years now, so we know each other better (and we’re all 10 years more mature). I think she’s right — we all know Ronnie will nap, Richie will direct, Rose will be disgusted, Bobby will wear the same plaid shirt for several days and Anne will find mirth in everything. And that’s just the siblings that were there this year, I could go further into the in-laws, the children and grandchildren but I’ll save that for another blog.

It dawned on me that it’s the same with our clients, most of whom we’ve worked with for 5, 8 and 10+ years. We know the personalities, quirks, expectations, and challenges of each of our clients on a personal level and on a corporate level. We know which clients have confidence with online communications, which have challenges with internal results tracking, what words and phrases and colors and images each client prefers, and how best to communicate with them (phone, email, vases of gerber daisies….).

It’s nice to have a familial relationship with our clients — to know them well enough to catch issues before they leave our offices, to predict reactions to concepts, and to find appropriate opportunities for publicity and marketing before our client finds them. And to know about their habits and passions, and sometimes even be considered part of their family.

It’s a different approach to growing a marketing firm, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Maggi

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