Let’s imagine that you’re a company in need of creative work. Putting your vision in the hands of a marketing agency can be scary. As an Art Director, I’ve fielded many concerns working with clients from New York City to North Carolina, but the most common fear I’ve run into is, “What if I’m not happy with the final product?” If this sounds like you, then just know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Since I’ve painted such a welcoming picture of working with an agency, you may be wondering if it’s worth putting your brand through that. Biased as I may be, I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely worth it – from the industry insight gained through market analysis to the expertise in design, analytics and SEO, working with the right agency can propel your business to the front of the crowd. Put in other words, it allows your brand to be a unicorn in a field of horses.
Through this journey there are some common roadblocks that tend to create misalignment or halt progress. How do you get the most out of your partnership with a marketing agency and avoid these potential roadblocks? Here are a few common issues and tips to help overcome them.
Ensure Alignment Around Goals
One of the biggest potential hurdles within the creative process is lack of alignment within your organization. Certain departments in your company may have different priorities and goals in mind, and while this has potential to spur healthy conflict and discussion, when communicating with an agency this internal disconnect can lead to spending more time in revision rounds, attempting to get everyone on board behind a single, clear direction.
- Set a meeting with key internal stakeholders to align on just one item: the desired outcome. Through crucial discovery steps and data gathering, the agency will determine the proper tactics to achieve your stated goal. You may think what will solve your problem is a new website or some beefed up social media, but the true root cause of your issue and the best tactics to solve it may lie elsewhere in areas you haven’t considered.
- Determine which team member has the final decision-making power and involve them in the process from the beginning. Looping in the decision-maker only at the end of a project for final say can easily cause misalignment and undo progress, ultimately costing you time and money.
It can sometimes be difficult to articulate exactly what might not be working with a given creative, making detailed, specific communication even more vital. Vague requests such as “Make it pop,” “Keep it simple,” “Give it a modern look” leave the door open for misunderstanding or disappointment when the end result is not what you envisioned.
- Lead with the goal. “Make it pop” for example could be translated to: “All of the information is given the same weight in this ad, but we want X to be the primary item the consumer notices.” Keeping the goal in mind when you communicate ensures your agency is well equipped with the information they need to deliver on your objective.
- Define common terms and language upfront via visual references. The agency can also aid in this step during discovery calls, or by providing stylescapes or mood boards to help establish mutual understanding.
Pay Attention to Budget and Scope
Here we are, you’ve enlisted the help of a marketing agency, communicated desired outcomes and you‘re willing to push the boundaries and consider all tactics… but now it’s the end of the quarter and the budget is tight.
Rush projects with tight budgets are often met with more challenges and limited ability to execute on certain tactics than projects that have been appropriately budgeted for with all potential solutions at your disposal.
- Plan ahead. You can work with your agency to incorporate strategy planning sessions that map out your project and establish a set scope of work.
- Avoid adding additional items into the original scope of the project. It can be tempting to have one project address a larger set of needs but in the long run this will slow down the process and end up more costly.
Don’t let these common roadblocks come between you and your goals. We are here for you, your passion feeds our passions. Let’s work together to make your vision a reality!!