In our experience as a marketing agency we come across all types of magazines and a wide variety of approaches from sales reps too.

We have one client who has been booked across three fairly similar magazines, and when the latest editions arrived all within a week of each other recently, the contrast between the three couldn’t have been more stark.

Magazine 1, let’s call them ‘The Bad’ sends a magazine and an invoice. Simple, but hardly personal. No note, no other info, leaving us to search through the magazine to work out whether or not the article we submitted has been published this month.

Magazine 2, this one is the truly ‘Ugly’, sends through an invoice, usually backdated by about a week and almost overdue by the time we get it, often for the wrong amount, and demanding payment. No sign of the actual magazine or the ad, no indication if or when it might be coming. If we chase them hard enough, we might be lucky to get a copy.

Magazine 3, let’s call them ‘The Good’, sent a copy of the latest issue, with a post-it note tagging the relevant pages with our clients’ ad and editorial, and a personalised thank you note. The invoice was also tucked in there in its own envelope.

I can tell you which invoice will be paid first, and who will be highest on our list when we are renewing our booking for 2015.

What’s more, our ad tracking all seems to point to getting a better response from readers for Magazine 3 as well, which is hardly surprising, as the standards and professionalism demonstrated in the simple things seem to be repeated across the whole business.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference, but more often the little things are just the first signs of far bigger problems.