Marketing and Copywriting are subjective fields.
Sure, there’s a 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.
While feedback is generally meant to be positive, sometimes it can be unreasonable and downright hurtful – so, if you’re a creative, here’s how to manage client feedback to achieve a successful outcome.
Marketing Is An Art
There is no black and white when it comes to Marketing.
This is the true essence of Marketing and content creation: it’s essentially an art form.
Today, we use data and research to increase our accuracy, but in the end, it’s a creative pursuit! Most people enter into the creative fields because it’s a way to earn a living from their passion of creativity – 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, and while they need you to build it, they will have their own ideas in mind too.
There’s no one way to do Marketing, and it’s important to work together in a collaborative way to get to a successful outcome.
This is the difficulty Marketers face: client 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 should be accepted versus rejected?
- Is it the client, who possesses superior knowledge and experience about their industry, business, customer and product?
- Or is it the trained and professional marketer with a fresh perspective?
It’s a tricky one, and every situation is different.
Sometimes the client may not be open to thinking outside of their norm, and therefore the Marketer or Creative needs to stand strong that their work is, in fact, the best solution. But other times, it may be that the Marketer or Creative doesn’t fully appreciate the complexity or context of the issue, and the client must step in.
More often, it’s somewhere in between.
As Creatives put their heart and soul into their work, it can feel like a personal attack when a client or colleague dislikes it.
Just remember – don’t take it personally. It’s just business.
If you’re a client
While you’re feedback is very important and, yes, it’s your project – don’t close off to your freelance Creative or Copywriter’s ideas. You hired them to help you with their skills and experience, after all.
Working together will help you get the optimal outcome. They’re trying to help you, remember.
If you’re a Creative Professional
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, artwork, etc. So it can feel like a personal attack when a client or colleague dislikes your work.
Just remember – don’t take it personally. It’s just business.
Then, how do we remain professional and strengthen our integrity, while pleasing our clients at the same time?
Here are some tips to manage creative subjectivity
(1) Ask a lot of questions at the start
Before running off and creating the masterpiece that 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.
(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 work.
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. Or, if you’re submitting work electronically, get someone else to proof read it first so you can tell the client more than one person has looked at this.
(4) It’s all in the ‘pitch’
Don’t just fling printed and digital files at your client.
Guide them through each execution and explain 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 options, 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. If you’re present, 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, freelance copywriter ormarketer 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
As mentioned above, you have a natural instinct; 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.
How Can Melotti Media Copywriting Help You?
To engage your customer and achieve ongoing business success today, you need quality copywriting and consistent content. However, we understand that this is easier said than done.
You’re time poor and spread thin, and writing isn’t your expertise. So, focus on what really matters, while we take care of all of your copywriting and content marketing needs!
For more information or to speak to a quality copywriter to get the results your business deserves, contact me now at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can sharpen your words to achieve your goals, today!
Melotti Media Copywriting and Marketing Solutions