5 Steps To Successful Marketing Projects

Let's face it: if you're a small or medium-sized business, you have to rely on outside help for marketing. You just do not have the time, or an in-house creative team or marketing department, to pull it all off.

The trouble is, many business owners or marketing people do not always come properly prepared. Far too often sellers hear vague ideas from these businesspeople, and are expected to develop ESP to glean the details of the website, brochure or trade show booth design that's in the businessperson's head. When the vendor does not deliver what the businessperson had in mind, the businessperson gets irritated, the project gets stalled, and the vendor may even lose the job. Worse yet, depending on how long it drags out, the vendor may just opt ​​to walk away from the project altogether.

So, since not many of us have highly developed mind-reading abilities, here are five simple steps you can follow that will help you develop a project outline for your sellers. The more information you can supply, the better their – and your – chances of success will be.

1. Determine what the project will be. This may seem elementary, but before you pick up the phone to book a meeting with a supplier, you need to know who to call and what for. If you're looking for a brainstorming session, it needs to first be done internally. Meet with the salespeople or talk to customers. Find out what it is that they need to sell or buy your product or service. Then figure out from the feedback whether you need a brochure, data sheet, landing page, and so on.

2. How much do you want to spend? Have a budget in mind. This is probably even more important than step number 1, but interchange as needed. What are you willing, or what do you have available, to spend on this project? Vendors need an idea of ​​what dollars you have to work with in order to provide you with a realistic quote. If you are not willing to provide this information, then a vendor may quote you for a very detailed project, come in too high, and negate their chances of doing business with you.

3. What do you want to accomplish? Have a clear vision of what you want the outlet to be from the marketing piece. Again, this is crucial for quoting, as the vendor needs to know how much work will be involved to provide you with a reasonable estimate. Quoting too high may mean the project is labor-intensive and needs to have more dollars assigned to it. Alternately, a low quote may result in a shocking invoice upon project completion if it entailed more work than originally anticipated, because you did not supply the vendor with enough information.

So, you need to determine the desired result you want from the project. For example, if it's a brochure, is it intended for information only or lead-generation? If you're working on a landing page, chances are you're looking for maximum click-through rates. You have to establish the direction of the marketing piece and what you want it to do. Then, communicate it effectively to your vendor.

4. Have an idea of ​​what you want the final exit to look like. It's a good idea to provide a guideline for layout when dealing with graphics. If you can provide a rough sketch to the vendor of the general layout of your project, it would be helpful to them. No artistic skills are required, you can even use stick people if necessary.

If you really can not envision what you want the final product to look like, then ask the vendor for suggestions or a couple of different rough workups, provided they're not too detailed.
Remember to provide the particulars: if it's a brochure, do you want 3-panel or booklet, 4-color or black and white, and where do you want the logo? For signage or packaging, what are the dimensions, and how do you want the images to appear – as a group or family shot, single product, positioning, etc.

5. Know how many copies you'll need. Finally, for printed work you'll need to provide a final quantity to the printer. Watch for the price breaks – it may work out to be cheaper per piece in the long run to print 5,000 pieces even if you only need 4,000. Savings on larger print runs usually offsets the disposal cost of leftovers. If you really do not want to print that many extra, then you do not have to. But remember – having to go back and reprint will eat up any savings you may have realized with the original job.

By following these 5 simple steps, you'll be able to develop an easy-to-understand outline for all your projects, and increase your vendor's chances of providing you with an impressive and successful final marketing piece.

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