we know you have to pinch every marketing penny until it screams

Five Ways to Squeeze the Most Out of Your Agency

If you are like most CU marketing departments, we know you have to pinch every marketing penny until it screams. As a service to our clients and potential clients, as well as to our colleagues in the creative biz, we’ve put together a few ways you can make sure you wring every precious drop of creativity out of your marketing agency.

Take these hints to heart, and you’ll find that projects glide along, budgets and schedules remain intact, and your agency will walk through fire for you. And the piles of awards will get positively embarrassing.

1) Trust Us
We understand — you’ve probably been hurt before. Maybe some other agency didn’t work out, or they ran off with your budget. Maybe you have a fear of commitment.

The first step in learning to market again is to find an agency worthy of your trust. And then trust them. Start small, if you like — try a little fling with a smaller project, and see how well that goes.

And do your homework first — look through a prospective new agency’s portfolio and try to get a sense of how they met each client’s needs. Lots of agencies can make pretty things. Few can truly communicate. If you can see a connection to a distinct audience in every piece, relax — you’re in good hands.

2) Share
Go on, tell us everything. Who’s your target audience? What’s been done in the past? Who are the decision-makers at the credit union, and what are the politics involved? Who has a phobia of the color purple? What’s your budget? What are your projections and targets? We won’t tell — cross our hearts and hope to die. But we need all the dirt so we can deliver.

The same applies to feedback — if you don’t like something, be fearless and tell us right away. And tell us exactly why. We won’t bite or burst into tears, promise.

And if you really like something, send cookies.

3) Step Up
This one’s important — one person has to step up and take charge of a project, and has to have the authority to make decisions. Design and marketing by committee or remote control will water down the message. The very best communication speaks with one distinct voice.

4) Stick Up
I’m afraid that the world, including your credit union, is full of people who love to find fault. When you show a piece or a concept to others, be prepared to stick up for the concept, and stick to the idea behind it. Remember why it was created and for whom, and be ready to explain it. If you let everyone make just one little change, pretty soon you’ve turned our soaring concept into a plucked chicken. Find people who can dispense constructive criticism, not just critics.

(Of course, if something truly stinks or is just plain wrong, don’t be silly about it.)

5) Follow Up
Once that fabulous brain-child has hit the streets, what happens? We’d love to know, too. Keep us in the loop regarding results, and you’ll become one of our very favorite clients of all time. You’ll also find that the information improves your future marketing. It’s part of the great circle of marketing.

Brian Wringer

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