- Know who you are targeting! Who will be buying your product or service? (this is the most important one!)
- Know your purpose. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want to create awareness, are you running a promotion, do you have a new product or service that you are offering?
Really think about what you would like to see happen from the campaign or marketing piece and establish a clear goal before your meeting.
- Give as many details about your business or service as possible (in a cliff’s notes kind of way) A designer needs to know about your industry or service if they are going to effectively create collateral for your market. Think about what you want people to know about you or your company. Give the most important details.
- People are busy and so are designers! This is a big one. There is a common misconception that we (designers) can just throw something together and have it done yesterday. To properly create an effective marketing piece, brand, website, etc. it takes time. There is a process to good design, plan on allowing enough time (a good buffer is about 2 weeks depending on the project) to create and execute your project.
- You get what you pay for. This is also a common question that is asked… Well so and so can do a logo for $50.00 why is your price so much more? Simple answer: you get what you pay for. The market is saturated with people who can find their way around Photoshop or Illustrator, some even have some great design skill. But in the end, the person who takes the time to learn about their client, their specific target, and their needs are the ones who will accomplish the goal or purpose I talked about in #2. If you do it right the first time, then you will not have to redo it later and spend more money in the end.
- Times have changed! Be open to doing things differently than you might have in the past, when thinking about your marketing, and your target market; be aware of what tools and trends are currently happening. A good designer / marketing firm should be able to think outside of the box and help give you the right tools for your specific market.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Its funny, so many times we are scared to ask questions becouse we do not want to look like we dont know what we are doing or becouse we dont want to sound stupid. This is how I see it; you are an expert in your business or service, not the design business. I would rather have a client ask what they might feel is a silly question so that I understand where the are coming from instead of having problems later in the process becouse they where unclear about the project or the actions involved.
- Communication is the key! Ok, I know I said its all in the details earlier, and it is, but without communication from both sides; the project deadline or target will get completely thrown off. Clearly communicate your deadlines and do your part to keep things on track.
- Have realistic expectations. If the goals and deadlines are clearly communicated and the needed content is supplied to the designer in a timely fashion, a good designer / design firm will make the deadline. With this said; Life happens, things come up that we do not plan on, and sometimes deadlines may not be realistic to achieve. Here is a common example that I see happen: A client comes to me and needs something “yesterday” I express the importance of communication and being prompt in supplying any content we may need to move forward in the design process, the client agrees, and then life happens. 2 or 3 weeks go by and the deadline is rappidly approaching.
For printed collateral, it cannot leave the designers hands until it has been approved by the client, only after approval can it be printed (which usually takes 1-2 weeks depending on the size and scope of the project) Before you know it, the deadline is here and the client is still expecting their materials to be ready.
When life happens be sure to communicate with the designer and also be willing to adjust your deadline to fit accordingly to prevent unrealistic expectations.