The Ten Commandments of Marketing

8th Commandment

It’s Not Just Business, It’s Personal.


We’ve all heard it: “It’s not personal, it’s just business.”

I’m not sure what the genesis of that familiar phrase is, but it always felt like it was designed to rationalize or excuse some form of unethical or, at the very least, antagonistic behavior.

I don’t believe that sentiment has any place in a client/service provider relationship. We all must recognize that the services we provide to our clients have a profound personal impact.

They will be judged on the outcome of the work we are hired to perform in ways that reflect on their careers. This, in turn, cascades to our clients’ financial well-being, the house they can afford, the schools their children can attend, the vacation they can afford to go on, not to mention their emotional and mental health. What could be more personal?

And if you think our clients don’t know this — whether consciously or subconsciously — try to recall the last time you disappointed a client and think about whether their reaction was strictly a business concern. In my experience there’s a brief moment when, behind their eyes, I can see their lives flashing before them.

All service providers have an obligation to understand the intensely personal relationship between the work we perform on our clients’ behalf and their success or failure professionally — and how that affects their personal lives.

In the end, they hire us to pursue their self-interest and we have the responsibility to deliver.

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Living by the 8th Commandment

Every interaction with your firm is an opportunity for clients, and prospects, to gain or lose confidence in you and in themselves. You and every member of your team should be acutely aware that your clients are depending on you to get the job done. To make them look like “rock stars.” They didn’t hire you to be the warm-up band.

The Right Point of View Comes With Experience

For over 40 years, Adler Branding & Marketing has been advising clients about all facets of brand strategy, communications and design.

“The Ten Commandments of Marketing” series is the distillation of our decades of experience, epiphanies and, of course, mistakes into something useful. We welcome your thoughts and comments.