Quite often when I go to a discovery meeting with a prospective client, there is one statement that usually presents itself from the onset… ”we need help and have no idea where to start.” There is a lot of chatter in the marketing world, and it’s sometimes difficult even for the seasoned pros to cut through the din and create an effective marketing strategy that has merit. From startups to established businesses, the same problem persists, however, the path to achieving success is rarely straight, and narrow…it is full of twists and turns and can sometimes lead to dead ends. It is our job as creative thinkers to walk with them side by side on the journey to make sure they don’t get lost.
So what’s the quick fix? The simple answer is…there isn’t one. Not every client has the same problem, so the solution is rarely the same. Any effective campaign has to start with the discovery process. Great agencies have to be first and foremost great listeners. The discovery phase is a crucial piece of the big puzzle and is essential to truly understand and empathize with the client’s problem. Discovery is the foundation on which the strategy is built. If the foundation is not solid, the structure will fail. Competitive analysis and insight can provide a greater picture of what is being done and what is being said in their competitive market. Identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can help make a sturdy foundation even more rock solid.
One of the more difficult challenges we face is managing client indecisiveness. I like to refer to this as “overcoming the kid in the candy store syndrome,” which is easier said than done. Remember, the client is coming to us to solve their problem because their roadmap is uncertain. Managing focus and expectations can help yield more significant success. The thought process on the client side can sometimes be chaotic and random. They have their ideas and opinions… rightfully so, it’s their business and no-one knows it better than them, so their input should not be blindly cast aside or dismissed. However, we have a responsibility to weed the garden and nurture the ideas that have potential and discard the ones that do not help them achieve their goals.
Creative and forward-thinking solutions that differentiate can breathe new life into an otherwise stale marketing campaign. It’s the ultimate goal and is always at the forefront of our approach. Daring to be different and embracing a bit of the craziness can have great success, as long as the message makes sense and resonates with the target audience.
The final stage and perhaps one of the most critical parts of any campaign is measuring success… Did it achieve its goal? Was it receptive to the audience? Did it engage? Did it boost brand recognition? Did it foster new business? If the answer to these questions is NO…then, the approach needs to be re-evaluated. Analysis and revisions are the keys. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again with retargeted efforts. Like I stated before…there is no quick fix. The partnership between agency and client is a marathon…not a sprint.