Meet My Client, Mr. Gorn

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Second part of a series about dealing with clients

Fans of “Star Trek: TOS” will probably remember the episode with Captain Kirk and the gorn. This creature, a reptilian whatsit, engaged in an epic battle to the (almost) death on a rocky forsaken planet some few hundred light years away from Earth.

Gorn Star Trek

My client, Mr. Gorn

The gorn was a big fellah. When we consider only simple brute strength, Kirk was outmatched. I mean, look at the size and quality of those teeth!

Yet appearances deceive. The gorn was a weak monster.

His ship attacked planet Cestus III out of fear that that his species’ territory was being invaded. In battle with Kirk, the reptile shuffled along slowly, and wasn’t particularly good at thinking on his feet. Can I be a bit shallow and mention that Mr. Gorn isn’t a particularly sharp dresser either?

You may recall that Kirk whupped the gorn’s butt by devising a homemade cannon he patched together from residue scraped from a few rocks (“home” being the planet where the confrontation took place).

The gorn must have believed he would win easily, but in the end he was pwned by a smaller, faster moving species. After the warm-blooded starship captain bested the big bad gorn, he probably gave the reptile an existential crisis about his place in the galaxy.

Gorn With The Wind

You must be wondering what a “Star Trek” episode from 1967 has to do with advertising and marketing. Plenty, if you know your client types. I have seen that lots of clients resemble the gorn, particularly in the local advertising sector.

A gorn client may have had many years in the field and talks a tough game, but deep down he’s scared of faster moving competition like Kirk and the specter of extinction. He doesn’t understand changes thrust upon him in the marketing and online space.

Unlike an Alan Harper type, the gorn is willing to spend plenty of his hard-earned bucks to advertise.

A gorn client remembers advertising in the Yellow Pages, where customers let their fingers do their walking. He was comfortable paying a lot for that yellow and black page of advertising, even as he couldn’t directly track its results.

Kirk and Gorn in a meeting

Kirk and Mr. Gorn in a meeting

He understands very little about creating a relationship with his customers via a business website and social media, also known as Twitter and that Facebook thing his kids use.

How To Help A Gorn Client

Your gorn may need a lot of hand- (or claw-) holding from you. He probably wishes he didn’t have to deal with your sort at all. But he is an intelligent being and gets on with it grudgingly.

The best way to help him is to explain everything that you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and assure him that he can leave the important things to you. He may not feel comfortable having to make too many decisions, and would rather not be bothered with the technical stuff. That’s your job, and he pays you to worry about it.

Adapt Or Get Paved Over

The yellow and black ad and the “koupon klipper” direct mail ads the gorn ran in 1983 may have brought in business, but this advertising mode was a one-sided dialog. Once he sees his website and Facebook page up, builds his email list and sees his current and future clients interacting with him via Facebook and Twitter, he’ll come to like and accept this new online advertising thing.

Change can be a beast, and advertising that’s stuck in the past won’t cut it anymore. Marketing is constantly evolving, and everything evolves far faster online.

Make the logical choice and contact me today for sales copy that moves more products and gets more leads for your services.

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