Seth highlights a great frustration of mine when working with clients:
Lots of marketers (and most of their bosses) like to say, "I'll know it when I see it."
That's why they want to see three or five or twenty executions of an ad. Or ten or fifteen mockups of a car or a facade. That's why marketers put their staff and their freelancers and their agencies through an infinite loop of versioning.
"I'll know it when I see it."
Actually, you won't.
Here is a typical scenario with my clients:
Clients say they are not picky and go ahead and design a website, logo or brochure. I ask for some clarification as to what they are looking for- what do they want to communicate, what colors do they like, what style is appealing, etc. They usually say they don't have time for all of that and just go ahead and update or create a look.
They do not like what I created- or they like it with a few changes, which turns into multiple changes. We spend much more time than we would have by answering a few important questions BEFORE designing.
This process goes back and forth with multiple tweaks until finally they see what they like. It makes more sense to start with a blueprint- to have some concrete ideas of what they are looking for and why before designing a campaign. It is like building a house, deciding if it looks right and then remodelling. Part of this is my fault because I take the customer is always right approach and give in to their demands. I have said that if they are going to do this without planning, at least I will do a great job and give them some guidance.
The good news is that this has birthed a new idea called CMP University (Certified Marketing Professional University). This is a five week course that allows my clients and others to immerse themselves in marketing for 5 weeks, write a working marketing plan, and then design impactful marketing campaigns. The cost is less than half of what clients usually pay me to write a plan for them. Instead of buying fish, they are learning to do it themselves. I mostly work with entrepreneurs and small business owners so this course is geared to their needs. All of the major points of marketing are covered, but in a practical immediately applicable way.
The Beta launch is July 1st, 2006. Check out the website for details on how to apply.