In my younger days, I managed the composition department at a large web-printing firm in Denver.
We worked at a crazy pace—impossible deadlines and constant client changes were daily occurrences. I contemplated writing a compilation of my experiences entitled, “Blood Prints Black,” in honor of all the sweat, tears, and yes, blood that was shed on any given day in the form of wielding Xacto knives, juggling multiple deadlines, and constantly hearing the phrase “When the press isn’t running, we’re losing money!”
Fast-forward to today. Composition departments with “paste-up artists” and “typesetters” have been replaced with “digital graphic designers” and “content creators;” however, the behind-the-scenes demands on a marketing team haven’t changed much. Marketing is much more than it may appear to someone not familiar with all the nuances of the process. Allow me to give you a glimpse “behind the curtain”:
- Gather. Before we can even start considering the right direction for a client, background research is conducted on our client, competitors, the marketplace, the target demographics, etc. Sometimes this information can be gleaned in one or two sessions with the client, but other times it is an extensive process to gather all the particulars before even putting pencil to paper, much less conducting that “intake” session.
- Collaborate. Not only do we collaborate ideas internally, we also treat our client as part of our team from start to finish.
- Separate. Our job is to differentiate our client from the competition—after all, everyone wants to be the “go-to source” for their particular product and/or service.
- Identify. When the proverbial “Why should I come to you?” question is asked, we can answer it with a clear, concise, “Only we can offer…” and be able to prove it.
- Only after the previous four steps have been exhaustively analyzed, can the marketing “game plan” start to be formulated. The realm of marketing channels today can be overwhelming; however, the main question to ask is yourself is “which channels will reach the largest target audience with the most impactful message in the most effective, memorable way?”
- Although the creative process has been in effect since the first sit-down with a client, finally, pen can be put to paper (or, in this day and age, stylus to tablet). Only now can “words and pretty pictures” be applied to a given concept. It’s in this phase that a client begins to understand why we asked all those ludicrous questions when all they asked for was a new marketing brochure!
- Marketing doesn’t end when the ad appears in the publication or the website launches live for the entire world to see. Marketing results are measured in sales and ROI, but also with SEO analytics, social media “likes” and mentions, and most importantly, lasting client relationships.
The figurative “blood, sweat and tears” our marketing team expends are worth every bit when our client can “revel in the results.” And, by the way, I haven’t written that book yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know!