How to get the Best Value from your Marketing Suppliers

Marketing. Did the mere mention of the word give you a shiver down your spine and dollar signs in your eyes?

Unfortunately in the business world, marketing is traditionally a dreaded word many business owners cringe at. It doesn’t have to be that way.

It astounds me every day how fast the world of marketing can change and the things we’ve seen evolve in the past 30 years, 20 years … even 10 years, are amazing!  10 years ago, Facebook was only just starting to hit the social world. Crazy.

When I first started in the corporate world, our money was spent on newspapers, TVs, radio advertising, and sending out thousands of brochures to thousands of homes across local regions – possibly getting 1 hit per 100 brochures, if we were lucky. Now we can hit millions of people globally and it doesn’t have to cost much at all, as long as you have the right preparation; and a great team working with you to create engaging content.

Yes, I will agree marketing CAN cost a lot of money, but that doesn’t mean it has to. As a business owner, and particularly a small business owner or a start-up, finances are not always readily available and with the little funding you do have, you certainly don’t want to be wasting it.

So here’s a little secret I’d like to share with you… it doesn’t matter what your budget is as long as you are getting the best value from your suppliers.

Sounds simple right? It can be.

So, how can you do that? Follow these great tips:

  1. Prepare design guidelines.

It doesn’t have to be a textbook, but if you create a great PDF document that you can provide to any design contractors, you’re going to make marketing a lot less expensive for yourself, and a lot less time consuming and confusing for the designer. Simply send the guidelines across with your instructions on the job, and there will be fewer questions back and forth (which means less hours banked).

The guidelines should include:

  • Your logo, and any instructions on how it can and can’t be used
  • Your corporate fonts
  • Your corporate colour palette with Pantone or CMYK breakdown (ask your logo designer to give you this)
  • Your preferred style of image
  • Any other graphics that are part of your branding
  1. Prepare a brand pack

This is where you can keep all of the things I’ve mentioned in the first point. Dropbox or OneDrive are both great options for this – and both are free to a certain extent. In the folder you should put:

  • Colour and mono logo in high res jpg, eps, png and pdf formats
  • Brand icons if you have any
  • Images and illustrations that are particularly relevant to the business and marketing
  • Font files, if you use non-standard fonts
  1. Write a detailed brief

When you first make contact with your designer and/or copywriter, be very specific about what you want done. Don’t give them any waffle and get to the point. If you DON’T want something done a particular way, tell them. If you want a specific style of writing, tell them. They aren’t mind readers so don’t give them basic instructions and then get annoyed if they come back with the wrong design for you. Be very specific and give them plenty of information up-front. The more time they spend asking you questions, the more money you spend paying for their time.

  1. Give them deadlines

If the project is something quite major (such as website design or a series of brochures), create a timeline. Map out the timeframe so everyone knows what is involved, when it’s due and who is completing the task.

  1. Internal Feedback

If you work alone, you don’t need to worry about this, but if you’re in charge of a team of people, allocate one person to liaise with your suppliers. Don’t have emails going back and forth between 10 different people as this will not only confuse your supplier but will also waste their time and your money.

  1. Prepare a brand voice document

When you’re marketing your business it’s important you keep to the same style in order to establish your branding. And that includes in your writing. If you’re getting a contractor to do any copywriting for you, create a brand voice document that explains to them the guidelines for your brand. That includes:

  • The tone and style of your brand’s copy
  • Specific words and lexicon you use
  • How you write specific words (such as your business name and products) – for example, the Australia TradeCoast region of Brisbane is often shortened to TradeCoast, however according to brand standards, this is not acceptable. You need to make this clear to your suppliers.
  1. Samples

No doubt when you’ve been compiling your marketing plan you’ve seen some great ideas and some terrible ones, great content and terrible content. Print them off or save them into a file in the cloud. That way you can show your suppliers what you love vs hate so they know what to do and what not to do.

  1. Be open and honest

You need to be completely honest with your suppliers. If you don’t like what they have done in a first draft, give them a full explanation of what you do want in the second draft. Get into specifics. If they are good at their job, and if they value your business, they’ll work with you to achieve the best results for your brand and budget.

Just remember your suppliers aren’t mind readers, so you need to be clear and specific about what you want.

And if you need help getting on track with your marketing, contact us today.