Everyone knows that Marketing and Copywriting are subjective fields. Sure, we put a scientific strategy behind every execution, and every tactic has a measurable outcome, but in the end, it's a creative role and with it will forever come praise, subjective opinions and criticism.
How one Marketer, copywriter and designer addresses a brief will be very different to how another does, and it can be a topic of hot debate as to which approach is the right one. If you've ever had a few creative agencies pitch for your business, you will know this to be absolutely true, and there's nothing more fascinating than seeing what each creative professional or team brings to the table.
Marketing Is An Art
This is the true essence of Marketing and content creation: it's essentially an art form. It's a creative and beautiful pursuit! Most people enter into these fields because it's a way to mix their passion of creativity within a corporate or business setting, and some of the work these artists produce is inspiring. However, it's a tough gig, too! There's no textbook to guide us through each project; our clients demand fresh and innovative solutions for each unique circumstance, and while they need you to build it, they have their own ideas in mind too.
There in-lies the difficulty we Marketers often face: subjectivity.
There's always someone footing the bill or in-charge of the project, and this is where it can get complicated. It's a very delicate balance. This is not to say that either the Marketer or client is right or wrong, but that's exactly the point! When a creative execution is presented, who makes the call about what tweaks or re-envisioning should be accepted versus rejected?
Is it the client, who possesses superior knowledge and experience about their industry, business, organisation, customer and product? Or is it the trained and professional marketer? It's a tricky one, and every situation is different. Sometimes the client may be blinded to thinking outside of the norm, and therefore the Marketer needs to stand strong that their presentation is, in fact, the best solution. But other times, it may be that the Marketer doesn't fully appreciate the complexity or context of the issue, and the client must step in- or something in between.
So, if you are a creative in the business world, whatever your speciality, you must learn to manage this subjectivity. It can be hard, as creative people put their heart and soul into building their project, whether it be an article, an advert, a campaign, etc; it can feel like a personal attack when a client or colleague dislikes your solution.
Then how do we remain professional and strengthen our integrity, while pleasing our clients at the same time?
Here are some tips to manage this subjectivity:
(1) Ask a lot of questions at the start
Before running off and creating your masterpiece which you're sure your client will love, ask a tonne of questions at the very beginning. The more relevant information about the situation you have, the better. Often, the client will respect you more for asking, and you will uncover crucial facts that they didn't originally think were important to discuss with you, or simply missed.
(2) Don't present to them until you're 100% ready
We all have deadlines, but as creatives, we all have a strong gut instinct, too. We know when our work is lacking or lazy, just like we know when we are particularly proud of it too. Be 100% certain and confident in your presentation before going to the client, so that you present the best face to them.
(3) Bring a team member as back-up
It can be quite intimidating when it's just you in front of a board of judgemental clients waiting for your presentation. So, if possible, perhaps consider bringing a co-worker, co-creator, or colleague to help you explain it and give you a sense of reinforcement.
(4) It's all in the sales pitch
Don't just fling printed and digital files at your client. Guide them through each execution and pitch it to them, including your thought process and how you arrived at the final product. Most clients don't specialise in content and marketing, so it's up to you to show them why it's the best solution for them.
(5) Create a few different versions, where possible.
If a client or management team are expecting a solution to a fairly complicated brief, sometimes it's best to present them with a few different options, rather than just one. This will mean that they can see how you've approached the execution, and can then interpret the differences, while choosing their favourite elements of each. This keeps you in control, because you can guide them far better with a few, than with only one. Obviously, don't go overboard, as too much choice can over complicate the process and make it more difficult for you to manage the client in the end; but three options is generally a good number.
(6) Give them time to consider
Don't rush them into an answer. As I said, it's subjective. Allow them to digest your creative, take it away and ponder it, gather different opinions and come back to you. You may also want to leave the room and let them talk amongst themselves or mull it over, without worrying they will offend you. It will produce far purer evaluations which will help you meet their expectations better.
(7) Take their feedback on board
Very important! Do not get defensive. After all, whether they're a paying client, a colleague or a friend, you must always act professional. Sure, you may be a trained artist, writer or marketer with years of experience and many qualifications, but in the end, you are presenting to them and you need to be respectful of their opinions and advice.
(8) Stand your ground
In saying that, have faith in your work. As mentioned above, you have a natural gut instinct about your work, so while you can take comments, know when to defend your idea and professionally explain why the way you've done it is best. This is quite an advanced skill, and worth honing.
(9) Accepting that the first draft will never be the final
No one should go into a first presentation believing that their first creation is going to be the final one. There will always be tweaks and customisations, so the sooner you accept this, the better you will deal with the whole process. Evaluate which changes and recommendations are best and then hit the edit button.
(10) Pick the right client
This is a tricky and controversial one , but for the sake of your sanity, it really is important to choose the right client, just like they need to choose the best creative. While not every marketer has this luxury, it's better to spend your creative energy and flair on clients who you respect and respect you, as opposed to someone who is going to micromanage, or scrap everything you do and essentially insist they do it themselves.
Do you agree with this list? Do you have other tips and tricks to add? Leave any comments in the box below, as I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Good luck with your next project!