We’ve all been there. At some point, you’ve experienced rushing a project out the door to meet a deadline or satisfy a client. It’s rarely a good feeling. Often, after the scramble, you’re left feeling disappointed that it didn’t reflect your talent, wondering if you missed something important and hoping it makes sense.
As a seasoned marketing professional, I know there’s a right way to approach projects and ideal processes to follow that result in my best work. But, I also know that’s not always reality. In those moments of expedited creation, it’s helpful to have a rapid-fire list of questions to ensure you’re thinking it through as quickly as possible. Here’s my go-to:
What are we trying to communicate? At the core of every creative project is the goal and overall message. What are we trying to communicate and why? If you find that you can’t answer that very simple question or the answer seems convoluted, that means you need to refine your message. Recognizing that challenge upfront will save you time-consuming revisions later when the project is in layout or proofing stages.
Who are we trying to reach? It’s crucial to remember who you’re talking to with your message. The very act of acknowledging your audience, saying it out loud or writing it down, can change how you approach the content of the piece. For example, how a food truck promotes their menu to business professionals may vary greatly from how they’d approach high school students.
How do we want them to act? Take a moment to think about what you really want from the communication you’re sending out into the world. What is the expectation for success? Ultimately, do you want web clicks? Email sign ups? Attendance at an event? This leads you efficiently into the next question.
What’s the best vehicle for this message/audience? In a pinch, it’s tempting to lead with determining your tactic (such as a flyer or poster) because it’s tangible. But you don’t want to limit your strategy. What is the path of least resistance from the communication to the customers’ action? If you want people to go online to register, delivering the ad digitally would be best. If you want them to upgrade their on-site purchase, a flyer by the cashier may be best.
How can I ensure it fits my brand? Before approaching the project, do a quick brand inventory. Think about the tone and voice of the brand. Revisit visual brand elements outside of just the logo (fonts, icons, colors, photography) for inspiration to ensure you’re using ALL the tools in your kit and the piece uniquely reflects your brand.
A simple and fun test of marketing strategy is to look at a few of your recent quick-turn projects. Did you answer these five questions? Do you feel the pieces you created meet the criteria you would have outlined? If you need help thinking through your upcoming marketing projects, reach out to the full-service communications professionals at Insight! In the meantime, save this list as a reference next time you have to create something on the fly.
Emily was managing editor of the national cable marketing magazine delight!, and previously managed marketing projects for top cable providers in the nation. Diverse writing experience, combined with exceptional organization and strategic planning skills, make Emily a key component of the content department. Emily holds a degree from UW-Oshkosh in journalism, with an emphasis in advertising/public relations.