Giving Your Agency Creative Feedback for Marketing that Works
Collaboration is an essential part of how we do our work at Fervor. The most successful projects are a compilation of brainstorming, discussion and iteration, producing words and designs that are effective and get the results our clients need to reach their goals. Marketing that works is not only dependent on our internal collaboration, but through discussions with clients as well. That’s why we’ve built specific stages into our processes for clients to review our work and offer helpful, creative feedback, resulting in the best work possible.
Our creative team has compiled a list of helpful tips to guide you through any review process and offer creative feedback that is helpful to us, and ultimately, will help you get what you want, too!
7 Tips to Give Your Marketing Agency Creative Feedback and Get Results
1. Choose a creative team you trust
Selecting the right creative team is a process worth investing time and thought into. Look for a team who listens, asks insightful questions to learn more about your brand and organizational goals, and offers helpful knowledge and tips even before you start your first project. This won’t be possible if they haven’t done their homework. You want a team who’s looked at your website, comes prepared, and communicates clearly and concisely. You also want a team who values collaboration and understands that good ideas can come from anywhere.
Keep in mind that a good creative team may push back on what you want to do. They may not always solve a problem in the moment, but instead, recognize the value of stepping back, researching, and then presenting you with the best options. They’ll be able to explain the “why” behind their recommendations, too — keeping your goals and best interests in mind. These are the signs of true partnership. And identifying a creative team who’s willing to build trust over time will bring you great dividends now and in the future.
Ask yourself: What kind of creative team can I see myself working with over the long haul?
2. Keep your overall objectives in mind to guide your creative feedback
Sometimes the creative details or logistics can muddy the waters of any project — especially the complicated ones. Even when it comes to creative marketing projects at Fervor, we remind ourselves of our business goals, the marketing goals they helped us determine, and in turn the main objectives of the particular project we’re working on. And rather than directing specifics, it keeps us “out of the weeds” and focused on the project’s main priorities.
Ask yourself: What’s the most efficient way from point A (business/marketing goal) to point B (project objective)?
3. Remember who your audience actually is
We know it’s not rocket science, but it’s helpful to remember that your target audience for any project (dun dun dun) — is not you! Surprise, surprise! It’s your ideal advocates — those most likely to support your organization or engage in your cause.
When reviewing the creative assets of a project, remember to view them through the eyes of who you want to reach. We all have our preferences, but even as creatives, we know it’s not about what we like; it’s about what resonates with the ideal advocates we’re after. Providing creative feedback from the lens of how you want your ideal advocates to see your organization is a winning strategy every time!
Ask yourself: Who is the ideal advocate group we’re wanting to reach for this project? And if there are multiple groups, what is the priority?
4. Ask clarifying questions before offering creative feedback
We’ve all been there. It can be easy to jump to conclusions, but creative teams find it most helpful when clients ask open-ended questions to clarify the thought process behind our recommendations. These questions may range from “Why did you choose that color of button?” to “What made you decide to take that direction?” A trusted marketing agency will purposefully include their thought process in their presentations, but when it’s not clear, they won’t be offended when you ask questions either.
Ask yourself: How can I better understand the creative team’s thoughts behind this work?
5. Be responsive, rather than reactive
One of the main goals in offering your creative feedback as a client is to help your creative team move forward in the right direction. Even the greatest of creative directors have intentional routines that allow them time to collect their thoughts. They more easily avoid default reactions and instead are able to present thoughtful responses clearly, offering truly helpful guidance to their teams.
Here are a few ways to allow yourself time to process creative work:
- Print the design out.
- Let it sit overnight.
- Consider the implications of requested revisions.
- Vet your feedback with other team members.
It’s worth noting that the “too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen” syndrome can confuse everyone and delay projects. We recommend choosing your stakeholders for the project upfront and keeping them up-to-speed on the project parameters and development. When everyone’s on the same page, we can make the best decisions together and get great results.
Ask yourself: How do other stakeholders view this feedback? Does this feedback impact the timeline or budget?
6. Communicate the problem and the “why” behind the problem.
There’s a reason you hired your creative team — and it’s the same reason they want to work for you — that is to solve the problem! Clients get themselves into trouble when they try to solve problems through their creative feedback. That may result in a delayed timeline, a complete reversal or change in direction, which could also mean higher costs and even risking the project altogether. For nonprofits, that could lead to additional loss of valuable donations. No good creative team wants this for any of their clients.
Review creative work by identifying the problem you see. Is it a problem for your ideal advocate? Does it not align with your brand? Help your creative team understand the “why” behind the problem, and then let them go to work for you. They’ll find the solutions that not only solve the problem but are in your best interests as well.
Ask yourself: What is the root problem here, and how can I clearly communicate that to my creative team?
7. Recognize when creative feedback is your personal preference
Opinions are easy to come by. Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, personal opinion doesn’t always align with data or what specific ideal advocates are looking for. It’s important to find a creative team who understands setting aside their personal opinions. It’s equally valuable to encourage your team and project stakeholders to do so as well. The bottom line is that creativity is subjective. A trustworthy creative team will wisely lead you away from your personal preferences toward what they confidently know will be effective for those you’re trying to reach.
Ask yourself: Is this my personal preference? Or does this creative feedback truly support the preferences of our ideal advocates?
The End Goal of Giving Great Creative Feedback
As a creative team, our goal is more than to make marketing sound clever and look pretty. It’s to help organizations reach their ideal advocates in the most effective way possible, converting total strangers into raving fans. It’s our job to take clients’ ideas, thoughts, and challenges that may be messy and put the right strategy behind them, using the right voice and visual appeal to market their cause, needs or solutions in compelling, attractive ways. Our guidance for each project depends much on our clients’ business and marketing goals, which means our recommendations will always be aligned to desired outcomes.
A Curious, Open Mind Makes Way for the Best Creative Solutions
If there is one thing we hope you’ll take away from this list of tips, it’s to come into any creative review session with an open mind, curious and willing to be pleasantly surprised. Great creative teams are not just production studios; they bring their best to the table and often come up with unexpected solutions. Coming in with preconceived notions of how a website should be structured or what a video or print piece should look like can hinder the best ideas and downplay results.
Get a Marketing Agency Who’s On Your Side
If you have creative projects you need the best solutions for, the Fervor creative team is here to guide you through a smooth process. From strategy to implementing creative feedback and revisions (which are a natural part of the process), our experienced, insightful team has the skills and tools necessary to make your marketing campaign or creative project succeed. Check out our latest creative work and reach out to us. We’re looking forward to the Most Good Possible!