Advertising and marketing is a complex and ever-changing business landscape. Corporate marketing leaders must be nimble and adaptable to keep pace with the development of strategies to maximize the value of the resources in which the company they represent invests, including the contracted advertising agency.
Holding your agency accountable to a business goal with a set of KPIs will maximize their efforts and your team’s capabilities.
Having a specialty and expertise is essential, however, the key to success is ensuring that all team members are on the same page and have context for your full business strategy and the value you successful publicity will add to this.
So here are some tactics corporate marketing teams can use to get the most return when using an ad agency:
Give creative briefs and clear objectives
The creative brief is probably the first request you will receive from your creative agency. This document is the key to a successful project. It will ask you to detail all the important information about your project, including goals, timelines, budget, branding guidelines, etc.
The quality of your work is up to the brief you give to your agency. Give a half-baked brief and you will receive a half-baked work. Make sure you give the agency clear goals, deliverables, KPIs and budgets.
Most people are hesitant to share budgets with their agency, but this only ensures that the agency understands what needs to be achieved within the set budgets.
Here are some tips to make your brief as useful as possible:
Include the right amount of information when filling out the brief in detail and provide all relevant materials (such as brand guidelines, sales materials, etc.), but at the same time, don’t drown your creative agency in the documents.
Remember that the purpose of the briefing is to effectively explain in a few words what you are trying to accomplish. Get input from the whole team to avoid problems along the way when there are internal disputes over certain details.
Be sure to get approval before sending the brief back to your creative agency. Be careful with your language, as some of the buzzwords and acronyms in your industry may be unfamiliar to the agency, so stick to easy-to-understand language.
Understand the process
Each agency has its own production process and infrastructure, but in general your creative engagement will include the following phases:
It ultimately starts with the discovery phase, which is the “learning” phase, when your creative agency dives into your brand to learn more about your unique needs and the issues you face. Next comes the analysis phase, where your team will surface key insights that should indicate which approaches will yield the best results for your goals.
Then we have the ideation phase, which is usually the brainstorming phase. This involves ideas being reviewed and your creative team coming up with concepts and a winner being selected.
After that we have the Execute phase and the Measure phase, where your team will dive into creative execution, creating and iterating content based on your feedback, which will allow them to track success based on pre-determined metrics. .
Ask the right questions during your meeting
Depending on the engagement, there are several objectives for this meeting:
It starts with meeting the creative team that will be working on your project, i.e. Account Manager, Project Manager, Strategist, Creative Director, Art Director, Writers, Animators, etc.
This is your first chance to get to know each other and get a general idea of each other’s vibe, then go through the brief in detail to cover the creative agency process, talk about timelines and discuss other relevant project details.
Third, ensure both teams are aligned by clearing up any confusion, flagging any potential issues, and addressing any outstanding unknowns. Finally, don’t feel silly or shy when asking questions, it’s better to be redundant now than sorry later.
Close the feedback loop
Naturally, since there are many moving parts in the creative process, you don’t want miscommunication or oversights to interrupt or delay the work. Therefore, it is crucial to have very clear communication during these stages, especially when it comes to feedback.
Therefore, you need to identify who will handle things on each side. This way you know who to contact for questions, changes or any other issues.
Additionally, the client should speak up about how you think the agency works, your experience, and how it could be improved. A good agency wants to know how it is doing and how it can improve things.
Feedback can be tricky, which is why it’s important to view projects from both a problem and a solution perspective. “I don’t like white” is not a useful statement. “Let’s use a bolder color that will stand out in people’s social feeds” is a more problem/solution-oriented way of approaching problems.
For reasons of time and efficiency, your contact should be in charge of collecting and consolidating feedback.
This includes obtaining approvals and resolving conflicting feedback. (It becomes much easier for your creative agency to work with one checklist of edits instead of 32 comments from seven different people.)
Good publicity takes time. Whenever possible, plan the work well in advance so that both parties can comfortably work on the plan.
Your ad agency should be part of the marketing team, engaging and keeping the team informed, and maximizing their expertise to get the most out of your business.