Should your company build an in-house marketing department or outsource work to an agency? The answer is yes and yes. Here’s why the best-run companies have a strong internal team of marketing/branding professionals, but still understand the benefits of partnering with an outside marketing firm.
When potential clients visit our studio for the first time, it’s a lot like going on a date with someone you don’t really know. (I mean, aside from what tidbits you can gather online through cyber stalking.) We need to get to know each other—our personalities, our styles, our “family” members—in order to establish a comfortable working relationship.
The only real difference between dating and new business meetings? You don’t need to bring us flowers or chocolate. Instead, come prepared with these crucial pieces of information:
Wondering who's who within the creative department at an advertising agency? Well channel your inner Mad Man (or Woman) and check out this handy guide to common ad agency job titles to find out what people really do within the creative department. (Unlike the popular television show, the answer is not drink and smoke all day long!)
I hate to admit this, but I was listening to The John Tesh Radio Show the other night when driving to the mall. (Don't judge. You know you've gotten sucked into watching something lame-o like QVC or the preview channel for hours on end just because there's nothing else on cable…)
Anyway, here's a rough transcript (from memory) of how one of his segments went:
John, reading email from listener: "Hi John. Can you repeat that info you said earlier about that website where people will do odd tasks for only $5? I need to hire a graphic designer to create a logo for my company and this sounds like an amazingly creative way to support the arts."
John, speaking as himself: "Why yes, [insert listener name here]. That website is called Fiverr, a marketplace for small services where people will post projects that they will do for only $5, including professional logo design."
"The Big Bang Theory" is my favorite television show, hands down. But just because I laugh so hard I almost pee my pants during every episode doesn't mean I won't point out its horrible inaccuracies when it comes to web design.
My husband has a li'l obsession with the CBS comedy "2 Broke Girls." (Well, more like he has a crush on Max, the sassy waitress played by Kat Dennings [the one on the left.]) And, being the good wife that I am (ha!), I've watched every single episode with him.
For those not familiar with the show, two waitresses are trying to launch a cupcake venture out of their (unrealistically large) apartment in Brooklyn so they can ditch their crappy lifestyle and become rich n' famous. As part of their journey, business-smart Caroline (who mentions that she has an MBA from Wharton in just about every episode) decides that they need to build a website to boost cupcake sales. She finds a super hot web designer (who she ends up hooking up with) to build their site for $600. But in a future episode, she remarks how disappointed she is that her "expensive" website hasn't resulted in a single sale.
When I ask the all-important (and much dreaded) "what's your budget" question to new clients, I almost always get the same response: "I'm not really sure. Can't you tell me how much it will cost?" My answer? Not really.
Choosing a good designer is a lot like picking out your next car; there are lots of options (style, cost, speed, etc.) and you should weigh all of them carefully to find the best option for you.
You're a small business owner and need to hire a designer to create a logo. Or a website. Or a postcard. Or an insert-your-own-creative-project-here.
Before you get started, check out this insider's guide chock-full of valuable tips to make your first experience working with a graphic designer a positive one.
UPDATE: Please read the comments section for a response from Domtar and Bryn Mooth, the editor of HOW.
I write about a lot of funny and lighthearted topics here in my blog. But today I want to express my opinion on a very serious issue for visual communications professionals: spec work, otherwise known as "crowdsourcing."