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Creative & Strategic

Everyone wants to be taken seriously, valued for their contributions, and have a real voice for how to best solve problems or achieve business goals. However, gaining this type of respect has proved difficult for in-house creative services teams. In fact, nearly 45 percent of in-house creative teams report that gaining respect from internal clients is one of their greatest challenges.

It’s all about perception. The internal clients of in-house creative teams often tend to view them as merely, “service providers,” rather than strategic partners, based on several incorrect perceptions that in-house teams lack the talent and skills that an external agency can provide. This perception is one of the largest roadblocks creative professionals face in altering client attitudes and gaining respect. As Bob Calvano, director of Merck’s Global Creative Studios notes, “A lot of the juicy, high-profile projects go out to agencies because folks think that the agencies have better talent.…In many cases, the in-house team is the best agency for the project, but a huge shift needs to take place in order for this to happen.”

This white paper offers the following six tips creative teams can use to position themselves as valued, strategic partners and receive more respect from the rest of the company:

  • 1 Act like an agency
  • 2 Use numbers and data to prove your worth
  • 3 Guarantee on-time delivery
  • 4 Be strategic about how you manage your work
  • 5 Establish the creative team as your company’s brand authority
  • 6 Focus on improving the client experience

 

Full PDF from workfront

Finding the ideal Client

Are They Worth It? 26 Qualifying Questions to Ask Prospects

How many times have you pitched a potential client, or sent a proposal, only to get a “Thanks, we’ll think about it and get back to you” email or phone call?

If you’re like most agencies, you pitch way more often than you close. And after awhile, you can become so discouraged you want to throw in the towel. Many agencies struggle with cash flow and thus leap at the chance to pitch anyone, hoping to get some business, any business, to keep the cash coming. And while we all need to put food on the table, is that really the best way to use what limited resources (time, energy, and money) you’ve got?

Of course getting work is important. But we’ve seen time and time again that getting the right kind of work from the right kind of customer is more important. Otherwise you’ll wind up selling your soul and that wonderful agency you started and love becomes nothing more than a job you hate.

There is a better way. The most successful agencies have a disciplined sales process they follow religiously. So if you haven’t mastered the fine art of sales or don’t have a clue about where to start when qualifying a prospect, there’s no time like the present to get started.

What Is Qualifying?

Qualifying is determining whether or not that guy who called to find out about your services is worthy of the time and effort it will take for you to convert him into a customer. That’s right — worthy of your time and effort. Because your time is valuable. Time is a non-renewable resource. Once gone, you can’t get it back. So it makes sense to use it as wisely as possible.

Just because some guy has raised his hand (filled out a form online, dropped a business card into your booth’s fish tank, or called to ask about your services, etc.), that doesn’t make him a lead. It just makes him kinda, sorta interested. It’s still too early in the process to know whether or not it’s a genuine opportunity. The courtship hasn’t even begun.

Provocative Qualifying Questions

Here are some great questions we’ve heard asked at various stages of qualification. Use these as a jumping off point to create your own list so you can quickly disqualify non-opportunities and engage with the golden ones:

  • 1] For what reasons are you looking to hire a new agency now? What triggered your decision to hire an agency? What’s made this so urgent or important?
  • 2] What experiences, good and bad, have you had with other agencies? What do you want to be different this time around?
  • 3] What results do you expect to see from the work we do together?
  • 4] What are your company’s goals?
  • 5] What’s your most important priority? What’s your most urgent priority? If they’re not the same, ask: What will it take to focus on the most important priority? How can the urgent priority get downgraded? What’s your company’s biggest marketing challenge?
  • 6] What’s keeping you from overcoming or meeting that challenge?
  • 7] What internal resources do you have to apply to this challenge?
  • 8] How well are your competitors doing?
  • 9] What are your competitors doing that you’re not and wish you were?
  • 10] What do you want to be the best at? What do you want your company or department to be renowned for?
  • 11] What are you willing to stake your reputation on?
  • 12] What’s the average lifetime value of a customer?
  • 13] What’s your customer acquisition cost?
  • 14] What’s your current marketing return on investment?
  • 15] Out of all your company’s departments, which one does your team most struggle working with?
  • 16] What’s your department’s relationship like with your sales team?
  • 17] How could you improve your relationship with (internal department named in No. 16)?
  • 18] What’s your process for choosing an agency? Have you used this process before? What worked or didn’t work? What will you do to get a different result?
  • 19] Who’s involved in making the decision? Who signs the contract?
  • 20] If you don’t hire an agency, how will you meet this challenge? What will you do?
  • 21] How will you know we’ve been successful?
  • 22] If marketing doesn’t improve, what will it cost your company?
  • 23] If we deliver on agreed upon goals, what’s that worth to your company?
  • 24] What problems do you see down the road that could obstruct or constrain our working together?
  • 25] What makes you lose sleep at night? Or what do you need so you can sleep at night?

You won’t get it right the first time, the second, or even the third time. You have to keep tweaking it until you get your process and questions to work for you. With persistence, you’ll get there. The sooner you do it, the better clients you’ll get, the more fun you’ll start having, and the more successful your business will be.

Source: Hubspot

What & Why Usability

Summary: “User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want, or providing checklist features. In order to achieve high-quality user experience in a company’s offerings there must be a seamless merging of the services of multiple disciplines, including engineering, marketing, graphical and industrial design, and interface design.

It’s important to distinguish the total user experience from the user interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design. As an example, consider a website with movie reviews. Even if the UI for finding a film is perfect, the UX will be poor for a user who wants information about a small independent release if the underlying database only contains movies from the major studios.

We should also distinguish UX and usability: According to the definition of usability, it is a quality attribute of the UI, covering whether the system is easy to learn, efficient to use, pleasant, and so forth. Again, this is very important, and again total UX is an even broader concept.

For more depth: Full-day UX Basic Training course
Source: www.nngroup.com  See also: UX Certification

Understanding What & Why of Usability

Methods of Usability

@usabilitygov

The 5 Levels of the UX Process

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UX metrics can be a powerful tool for evaluating the performance of virtually any type of product and is best used when combined with marketing metrics. Sound simple enough? Well, in the end it really is simple. You just need to be on the lookout for the right signs and measure the right metrics. Before diving straight into the list, let’s take a quick look into some mistakes people usually make. (You don’t want to be guilty of these).

Full Story: ConversionXL

Why A Brand Matters

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In one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise. Think of some top brands and you immediately know what they promise: McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Budweiser, Ford, Apple AAPL -2.49%, MetLife MET -0.21%.

You know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service.

In another sense, a brand is a specific combination of logo, words, type font, design, colors, personality, price, service, etc.

It’s also a bundle of attributes. Think of Volvo, for instance, and your first thoughts are probably going to be something like “well built, comfortable, Swedish” and, most of all, “safety.”

The promise, look, personality and attributes can eventually acquire a special patina of what I call “me” appeal. Buying a certain brand says something about the person who buys it. Apple has that patina. So does Prius. The booze and clothing businesses are filled with patina products: Cristal, Guinness, Ralph Lauren, Manolo Blahnik.

All of this can lead to sub-brands, like iPhone and iPad which acquire the aura of the parent brand.

It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.

Source: Forbes

Simple, Creative, Direct

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Less is More!

Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” to describe his extreme simplicity, by enlisting every element and detail to serve multiple visual and functional purposes (such as designing a floor to also serve as the radiator, or a massive fireplace to also house the bathroom).

Even after 500 years Leonardo’s words are true and this rule is still widely used in design and advertising. It may sound  a bit contradictory, but simple things often require much more brain power to create than the most complicated stuff. And it always strikes you when something completely simple is capable of conveying so much more than you expect.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 26 most creative examples of minimalist advertising, and afterwards you can always leave a comment telling how much you liked our post!

Source: BoredPanda

Are you being creative?

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Creativity is one of the most commonly used terms in marketing communication as those who develop marketing communication messages are often referred to as “creative types” and agencies develop reputations for their creativity. So much attention is focused on the concept of creativity because the major challenge given to those who develop marketing communication messages is to be creative. Creativity has been defined as “a quality possessed by persons that enables them to generate novel approaches in situations, generally reflected in new and improved solutions to problems.”

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