Giving Effective Feedback to an Outsourced Agency Partner

How to be clear about your marketing goals and avoid ballooning costs.

When you use an outside agency for marketing support, your internal marketing team is responsible for the solutions they deliver. Giving effective feedback early in the process can help you coax out the best ideas while quickly and diplomatically dispensing of those that don’t work.

Following are some tips for ensuring your feedback is keeping the process on track:

Assign an Internal Point Person

If you’ve chosen to outsource a marketing project, odds are you’re extremely busy; possibly too busy to properly review work from your support agency. Rather than trying to manage the project in spurts or crowdsource feedback from every team member, consider assigning one point person who is familiar with the brand strategy, goals and standards. Empower that person to answer questions, make decisions and give feedback at every stage so your support agency isn’t waiting for critical information or timely input.

Use Positive Selection

How you deliver feedback is as important as what you say. Your support agency is on your side, and they are bringing their best ideas to you for review. Be sensitive about how you select those ideas. For instance, rather than eliminating ideas and choosing the one left standing, consider the positives in every approach, and explain why the one you chose is strongest. Taking this approach may inspire your support team to use the best parts of second or third place concepts to make the winning concept that much stronger.

Give Specific Feedback

Everyone has unique tastes, and they may bring those to the table when it is time to critique work. But keep in mind that it isn’t about what you will like but what will resonate with your audience. Try to be specific about why certain solutions align (or don’t align) with the Creative Brief. This will help your creative support team go back to the drawing board without revisiting the same line of thinking.

Practice Constructive Criticism

Anyone can tell you why something isn’t working. It takes a leader to build onto ideas or isolate the parts that are working and move the idea forward. Avoid behaviors that make the agency feel like they just don’t get it. There may be nuances you think you’ve explained but haven’t. If you can address inconsistencies in an informational way, you will have a partner for life.

Clarify Next-Steps

Leave every meeting with a plan of action. “Do more thinking” isn’t going to produce better results if your support agency isn’t clear on what’s not working. Be crystal clear about next steps, as in, “So, let’s focus on tightening up concepts 2 and 3 and making the tone more casual.” When everyone shares expectations moving forward, the next round is more likely to be on target.

If you found this post helpful, you might also be interested in reading 5 ways to maximize your investment when outsourcing marketing.

If you’d like to learn more about our services, how we work with our clients, or just want to chat, please visit our website or Jessica.Clay@ClayAgency.com today.

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