Marketing, advertising and public relations are critical to a business’s success, and smart business owners know that these aspects are often best left to the pros.  The smartest business owners also know this: a successful marketing strategy is a two-way street. When you hire professionals to handle your marketing, you expect a few things from us, including timeliness, creativity, honesty, and some return on your investment. But for a marketing company to take your brand to its maximum potential, we need a few things from you as well. Things are about to get real in here, so brace yourself. It’s for your own good. Here’s how to be a good marketing client:

Be Specific About What You Want

For creative services like marketing, it’s important to be specific about what you want. When we start our journey together, we’re going to ask some very detailed questions, most often in the form of a creative brief. This is the time to ask questions, voice concerns, and, most importantly, be as exact as possible about what you want. If we’re working together on a logo design, and you hate the color pink, we need to know that. If we’re creating a video and you want the soundtrack to have a punk-rock anthem, that’s a detail we need to know. We know that sometimes you don’t know what you want, that you’re looking for some creative push and inspiration from us, and we’re happy to provide that! But if you have any details that can give us a start in the right direction, we have to know that, rather than spending time (and your money!) heading down a path that isn’t what you want. Be specific so that we can be successful.

Read the Contract and Know the Scope of the Work

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Marketing is a service, and just as you sign a contract with a your air conditioning repairman, you will typically sign an agreement that signifies that you understand our process, your involvement, what it’s going to cost, when you can expect to receive the finished project, and exactly what the scope of work is. Take some time to read over the agreement before signing and ask questions before signing. With creative services, it’s important to pay attention to the scope of work – does your final product include the designer files? Does it include edits during a period of time, in case you want to add something later on? Does your social media management agreement include all channels, or just Facebook? These are all items you want to consider and make sure you have clarity on before signing, because just like any other contractual agreement, we’re moving forward with what we have both agreed upon. And it’s legally binding.

“Advice” is Called Consultation

If you called your attorney for legal advice, your attorney is going to bill you for his or her time. If you sit down with your therapist for an hour to talk about some strange dreams you’ve been having to get his or her take on things, you’re going to get a bill. For some reason, when it comes to creative services like marketing, folks tend to forget our time is also valuable. If you are asking for social media strategy advice or information about how to run a marketing campaign, this isn’t called ‘advice.’ It’s called consultation, and it’s a service that we are happy to offer. It is a billable service, though, so know that if you want to schedule a two-hour lunch or hour-long phone call that consists of us giving you ideas and helping you plan your marketing strategy, that’s called consultation and you’re going to get a bill. We love to brainstorm and nothing makes us happier than seeing companies succeed with ideas we’ve provided. Just don’t downplay our work by failing to recognize that it is a service.

Timeliness Works Both Ways

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We will be on time for you, but sometimes that means we need you to be on time for us, too. If we’re waiting on you to send us pictures for social posting, we can’t guarantee that posts will go up in time. If you haven’t sent us a completed creative brief, we can’t get moving on your logo design. If you haven’t given us a time commitment for a shoot, we can’t plan the shoot. We have to work together to make sure that timelines are met, so make sure to meet your timelines so that we can meet ours. And it’s a little awkward to mention, but the same goes for billing. If you’re a client on a monthly retainer, and your payment is due on the 1st of the month, make sure you’ve sent your payment so that it can be received by the first of the month. If we’ve delivered your final product and you have an outstanding balance, pay it. It’s just good business. We wouldn’t come to your restaurant, order a cheeseburger, and then hold off on paying the bill. Timeliness works both ways. You want us to be on time, and we want the same from you. It’s the only way we can make your marketing strategy a success.

Remember Why You Hired Us

You hired an outside marketing company for a reason. Was it that you didn’t have time to execute yourself? Or maybe that you didn’t have the manpower internally to cover the work. Or maybe it’s for the simple fact that you are excellent at what you do, but what you do isn’t marketing. Most people that we work with came to us for a combination of reasons, but the most being that they wanted a fresh, professional approach to their outreach. So take a deep breath and rest easy. We’ve got this.

Be Open and Honest

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Just as we have been open and honest with you here about our needs from you, we hope that you will always be open and honest with what you need from us. Saw a really cool widget on a website that you want to implement on your company site? Awesome! Tell us about it. Have a really cool idea for a new tagline for your brand? Let’s work it out! You won’t know until you try. Or maybe you aren’t crazy about the image we chose for your monthly social media contest. We want to hear about that too, so we can do better moving forward. Marketing is a two-way street, and, above else, we want your business to succeed. Please always be open and honest with us about your ideas, requests, or anything you want us to change. We’re here for you.

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If you need an extra hand with your marketing outreach, or you’re ready to start something fresh and creative, give us a call. We want your brand to reach a new level of success, and we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve that just might be exactly what you’re looking for. Call the Storyteller team and let’s work together to assure that your business is really reaching its full potential.