Keeping Your Marketing Director Happy

At the AWAI FastTrack to Success Bootcamp back in October, Lori Appling presented 32 ways to keep marketing directors happy.

Why is this important? Because it’s good business. Marketing directors will call you again and again, continuing to give you work… because you’ve made a good impression on them. Or not call you at all … because you have done something that makes their job more difficult.

You learned six of Lori’s tips in issue #142 of The Golden Thread. Now, here are four more of her core secrets on how to get marketing directors to think of you first when they have a new project.


    You produce a piece on spec for a client and you’re eager to hear what they think. You’ve put your heart and soul and a ton of time into it. It’s the single most important thing in your life. But guess what? It just might be number 32 on the marketing director’s list of priorities. She wants to look at it – and she will – as soon as it fits into her schedule. Should you send a friendly email reminder? Certainly. But do it in a positive way … and only after two or more weeks have gone by.

    Maybe something like this:

    Hi (NAME),

    I hope everything is going well over at (COMPANY). I sent you a spec assignment on March 23. I’m just checking in to make sure you received it and were able to read the files. There’s no need to respond if everything’s okay. But if there are any problems, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 555-235-5555.

    Best wishes,
    Joan Smith

    (Use a signature file with your COMPLETE contact information.)

    DON’T threaten or badger her with an email like this:

    Dear (NAME),

    I sent you my spec assignment three weeks ago. I haven’t heard from you and I expected to by now. What’s up? I put a lot of work into this assignment and I’m pretty sure I can get (COMPETITOR) to pick it up. If I don’t hear from you by Friday, I’m going to send it to them.


    You need a lot of information in order to do a good job on your assignment, but try to get as much of it as possible during your creative calls with the client. If IMPORTANT questions come up along the way, don’t hesitate to email the marketing director. But PLEASE don’t do it if the answer to the question can easily be found elsewhere (in the research you’re supposed to be doing).

    Marketing directors are incredibly busy people. So if you must contact them, use an approach like this:

    Dear (NAME),

    I’m sorry to bother you, but I just read an article in The New York Times that might seriously affect the approach we talked about during our first creative call. Here’s what I found: (Keep it short. Provide a link to the article.)


    When emailing back and forth about a particular problem or question, use the "Reply" button. When you do that, all the relevant emails between the two of you are included in the message. This keeps the marketing director from having to hunt through hundreds of emails to figure out what you’re talking about.


    Your swipe file is an extremely important source of IDEAS for you. However, if you copy anything in it word for word or image for image (other than quotes from news sources and the like), you are plagiarizing. Every marketing director expects original work – and may not recognize your work as plagiarism. So imagine what would happen if she okay’s it and passes it on to her boss … who does recognize it. SHE gets called on the carpet … and you are now mud as far as she’s concerned.

Lori has lots more suggestions for the "proper handling" of marketing directors. We’ll continue to bring them to you throughout the year.

Remember, take good care of your marketing directors … and they will take good care of you.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

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Published: January 17, 2005

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