From Friday’s lecture, my first takeaway point is: asking the right questions and doing your research on the client is important to helping the client solve their marketing/creative issues. Though for the class, our client will already be assigned to us, in the real world, clients are the ones selecting us–especially in freelancing. So, to address this, I found this article about the 5 assumptions creatives can make to harm their client work. One, assuming that price is the top concern; level of talent and trust is more important. Two, the client has researched about you; most clients have probably only heard of you via referral, or have little understanding of what you’re really good at, so consider an in-person meeting before narrowing on the project’s proposal. Thirdly, you don’t have to act like an expert; that is, the more questions you ask the client about their problem, the more you’ll actually appear like a critical thinker. Four, don’t be afraid to ask for confidential info such as budget or who else are they considering to do their creative work for them. And five, keep the client updated with any changes, additional fees, etc. The more on track the two of you are, the easier the project flow.
My second takeaway point is that the marketing plan serves as the road map to implementing the overall strategy. One aspect of the marketing plan includes a SWOT analysis. This was heavily reviewed back when I was pursuing my bachelors, but I wanted to reintroduce myself to it again because understanding it is crucial to the business and to the marketing plan. Following the same video we watched in class with Erica Olsen, she also goes over how to conduct a SWOT. The key point is that Strengths and Weaknesses are internal to the organization and controllable. Opportunities and Threats are external and cannot be controlled, but we can have an impact. The internal aspect can be analyzed via primary data, and the external aspects via secondary data. Strengths can be matched with opportunities to create goal oriented ideas, as well as strengths and weaknesses being matched. Organizations can also find opportunities to off-set certain threats.
Thirdly, mission statements set the tone for an organization and explains who they are and what they do. The article here from Gallup Business Journal details why companies must be mission-driven. Right off the bat, the article states, “Failure to meet a company’s mission-related needs is failure of leadership.” It’s an “underused asset” that should be integrated into everyday activities. Mission can be a powerful drive to employee satisfaction, thus, overall company performance. Missions drive loyalty, fosters customer engagement, improves strategic alignment, brings clarity, and can be measured. The article continues to mention 7 strategies to maximize mission-driven leadership. Ultimately, mission is a responsibility of all departments, but more so, it cascades from its leaders.
My fourth takeaway, which dives more into website development, is that understanding all areas of what clients want from their website will help the creative team deliver better and more accurate results. Writing a site specification report is like drawing the blueprint for building a house–you need to know exactly what is to be built, and how. The article here reveals 7 tips for a successful site spec. document: 1) find out how much time should be allocated to writing the document, 2) draft wireframes and brainstorm layout, 3) begin with the homepage, 4) learn how old sections of the previous website layout works–if applicable, 5) make sure the spec doc covers ALL web sections, 6) functions mentioned in the spec doc is realistic to the architecture of the site, and 7) understand the vision the client has, not your own. Ultimately, the site belongs to the client so the creative team must be able to deliver the project based on the specifics of the document.
Lastly, I wanted to combine how marketing and websites can come together to create a definite strategy. Considering that our final project will be for non-profits, which I’m assuming will be somewhat of a limited budget compared to big money corporations, this fascinating article gives some fresh ideas for how smaller business (non-profits, even) can use their online presence as their marketing strategy. Being endorsed by a local celebrity and blogging about it will raise awareness and possible traffic to your site. Creating a LinkedIn group with the goal of generating discussion and providing resources is another way to go. This LinkedIn group will also be tied to your site, naturally. You can also try to get published in a niche blog, particularly if your organization caters to a specific demographic/service. YouTube videos are also a great way of endorsing your name, as well as writing an e-book about the latest issues/trends in your industry/service sector. All of these ways are affordable and any small business and small town organization can do them.