Playing Hardball

Posted on October 28, 2010


I recently had an interesting interaction with a current client which proved instructive in a number of ways.

The client is an employer who has worked with my firm for several years to produce printed total compensation statements. They are great to work with, and, year after year, their employees are pleased to receive the communications we produce.

In addition to designing and producing printed total compensation statements, we have a Web-based tool called Total Compensation Online (TCO). Recently this client requested that I demo TCO for him, his boss and a few others. I happily obliged.

Just a minute or two into the demo I began to get questions from my contact’s boss. And, to be honest, the tone of the questions wasn’t all that friendly. I was a bit taken aback – after all, they were the ones who requested the demo!

As we went on, I continued to get questions from the same individual, most of them with something of an edge. I answered them as best I could. Once the meeting ended I thought to myself, “well, everyone has an off day now and then” (and if you doubt that, just look at what happened to poor Cliff Lee in game 1 of this year’s World Series . . .)

Two days later I get a call from my contact at the client; he wants a quote on Total Compensation Online. “Why,” I asked, “it sounded to me like your boss didn’t like it.”

“Oh, no, we all loved it,” he responded, “he just likes to play hardball.”

Thinking back to the discussion, most of the questions focused on the relative merits of online versus print – what the questioner wanted to know is which is better?

The answer (which some may find disappointing)  is: it depends. And that is why Charlton Consulting Group is committed to providing robust communications solutions both in print and online. Organizations are different, goals are different, audiences are different – there are times when communicating online is most effective, and there are times when good, old-fashioned print is the best way to go. One medium is not always superior to the other; the key is finding the solution that will be the most effective in any given situation.