I made a business decision two years ago to only work with clients that I "like." For many of those clients, my agency functions as their outsourced marketing department. Marketing, at it's core, is all about persuasion and storytelling, and to effectively market a product or service it's important to me to understand not just the objective elements of that product or service, but what the motivations of the owner are. What do they want? What motivates them to do the things they do? Why did they start their business? I only discover that by truly getting to know them. Many of my long term clients have become friends, and the fact that we have a relationship outside of our business relationship allows me to really understand how best to help them get to where they want to go.
One of the benefits of taking this approach has been reciprocity from clients. They know how much I appreciate them and many have shown their appreciation for what I do by offering free vacations at their beach house, random gifts and bonuses, and my favorite - an offer to drive the owners Aston Martin DB-8!