We appreciate and enjoy working with all of our clients. But sometimes if a client hasn’t worked with a marketing agency before, or isn’t aware of just how much marketing communications has changed in the last ten years, they may miss getting the most benefit they can from working with us. Here are a few tips that we hope will help you save money and get more value out of your relationship with your creative and marketing agency:
1. Know your brand.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you’ve been doing business for a while, you probably have a well-established brand. When we say brand – we don’t just mean a logo or a slogan. We mean the unique personality of your business. This includes, but isn’t limited to, what you sell, how you treat your customers and why customers buy from you, remember you and come back to you.
Yet many businesses have no idea what their brand is. They may know the special advantages they offer over other businesses, but they’ve never thought of those in terms of marketing. The fact is, discovering and finding ways to present a client’s brand may be the most valuable service we offer.
However, before that can happen, we need to know how your clients see you, how competing companies market themselves against you and how your employees feel about working for you. With this information, we can create marketing that attracts your ideal customer, counters the effect of competitive marketing and provide employees with a standard for customer service. Without this research, any writer or designer who works on your account is just guessing about what to do.
If you’ve already invested in research such as analysis of the competition in your market, product user surveys, focus group results, etc., share this with us from the first so we don’t have to start from scratch.
Tip: The purpose of brand marketing isn’t to flatter your ego – it’s to position your products and services so they’re more likely to attract customers than your competition. That’s our goal and, we assume, yours.
2. Share your marketing plan and strategic goals.
How many more customers do you want to have at the end of the year than you had at the beginning? Who are the consumers most likely to bring you the highest return on every sale? What is your plan for reaching these people? If you don’t already have a plan, we can build one for you but you still have to tell us what you want the result to be.
Tip: Unless your marketing plan is based on achieving a real goal expressed in increased profits and/or brand awareness, it won’t get you where you want to go. And if your marketing isn’t designed to make you more money – what good is it anyway?
3. Tell us your budget.
For some reason clients seem to think telling us what they want to spend on their marketing will result in them spending more. Just the opposite is true. If you tell us the limit of what you can spend, we’ll prioritize where to use the money so it gets the most impact. After all, if we create a campaign that’s terrific but out of your price range, we’ll have to redo everything. Since we charge by the hour this wasted effort will cost you money all by itself.
Tip: Lack of money won’t limit the creativity or quality of our work. But lack of information and time to come up with great ideas and executions may.
4. Take the time to understand the process and the deliverables.
Some clients don’t really believe that marketing works. Guess what? They don’t own Coca Cola, Nike or Apple. Because all of those companies know that advertising is what put them at the top of their respective categories.
We LOVE educating clients. We’re delighted to show you how we work and why we need information about your products, competitors, clients and goals. OUR goal is very simple: To help you get more business by telling your customers why your products and services can solve their problems better than those of your competition.
We do this by communicating with these customers in a way that is believable and via communications channels they are most likely to use.
Today these channels are primarily digital – your website, social media, blogs and banner ads. We’d be happy to talk to you about this in detail so you can understand why building a website is just the beginning, not the end, of your digital marketing communications.
Tip: At least some of your competitors are reaching out to customers through many different channels. If you don’t match them, eventually you may not be able to compete at all.
5. Read your email, schedule and contracts.
We’re great believers in the written word. We not only ask you to sign contracts that outline what we’ll do for you, when and for how much, we also send follow-up emails after meetings and phone calls. This is to minimize miscommunication and maximize our usefulness.
Sometimes clients feel that they’re just too busy to read our emails, schedules and contracts. The result may be an unnecessary misunderstanding about design and copy changes, additions to the budget and more.
Tip: Staying current on agency communications will reduce upset, eliminate stress and keep everyone on track. So please read the documents and emails we send carefully. It will help us all.
6. Let us team up with inside talent, not compete with them.
Many clients have a marketing person on staff that we work with and help support. Often the workload is divided between this in-house talent and Crux’s creative staff, which works out well for everyone.
But sometimes, projects are done in house that stray away from the brand guidelines. It may be a design change in the logo or a copy block that has a different sound than agreed upon at the outset of the campaign. When this happens, the integrity of the brand is damaged, reducing the brand’s value. Obviously, trying to save a few dollars this way is self-defeating.
Tip: We regard ourselves as part of your company’s team. We take this commitment very seriously. We hope that you do too. If you want to keep a project in-house, make sure that it follows the guidelines we’ve all agreed upon. Otherwise, you’re not getting the full value of work you’ve already paid for.
We hope this advice has been helpful. Our goal is to help you grow, so we can grow with you. Please contact us if we can be of any further assistance to you – whether it’s to develop a new marketing plan or strategy, build a website, create a social media campaign, execute an experiential project or provide copy and design for a print piece.
Crux Creative Team