Before I get into how to save time and achieve error-free, flawless project delivery that hits the mark on all of your client’s goals, I want to take a step back and tell you how I came to be able to deliver meticulous project outcomes to a multitude of clients. Sure, some people may think I’m a little neurotic. Some may even go so far as to say that I am annoying, but nobody can argue with the fact that I am incredibly thorough.
I started my marketing career working for a small boutique agency of just a handful of people. I was lucky enough to work side-by-side with the CEO, Joyce. I watched her do everything from closing deals to washing dishes, and, most importantly, she made the most amazing orange cosmos at the end of a hard day. She said “we are all the chief cook and bottle washer”, and that there was no job too big or too small for anyone. So, this trained me early in my career to do what was right to benefit my team and most importantly, positively impact our clients, even if it wasn’t exactly in my job description. Now on to Tip #1 ...
Tip #1: Take a note from Santa Claus. ... Make a list, check it TWICE:
Always use a checklist. For marketing projects, two people always checked every bit of work before the client ever saw it. In addition, each team member had a notebook and created their own checkboxes in them for all tasks. While this might seem like a really archaic version of iPhone notes, I still use it today at home and at work. There is nothing more satisfying than physically crossing “to do” items off a list.
After moving onto other pursuits, I eventually joined Merkle. While I thought Joyce had been detailed, my new account director was even more so. He was incredibly meticulous and involved in every technical detail of our account. He has taught me to always reconfirm what the client is asking for, and to always double-check the database team’s work and do thorough quality control checks on all campaign output. From him, I learned the importance of Tip #2 ...
Tip #2: Ask A LOT of questions upfront
Try to avoid one off questions that result in multiple emails. Instead, look over all of the information and then compile all questions into one message or meeting agenda. If there are a lot of questions, group them by subject or theme. Every client is different. Some prefer to respond at their leisure via email and some prefer to have a conversation. Either way, if you send the questions in advance, this will allow the client to read through them and confer with their colleagues as needed to track down all of the answers and avoid wasted time. If you review over the phone, always recap the key questions in a confirmation email.
On the subject of questions: Do you always find yourself asking the client the same questions for every project? Well then, I present to you Tip #3 ...
Tip #3: Create a template for frequently asked questions
Provide your client with a template as the starting point for every new request. This will get the client into the habit of always getting those details upfront from their work teams and make things more efficient for everyone. This should be considered an evolving document that you can add on to over time.
Now, I can’t promise that by reading this article, you’ll never make mistakes or have to go back and ask a second round of questions. After all, we are all human. But this is a great recipe for how to avoid disaster without adding much effort.