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7 Ways To Get More Out of Your Outsourced Design Team

By Eileen Burick

So you’ve decided to use an outsourced design team for your upcoming project, whether it’s a series of brochures, a corporate website, an ad campaign, or a microsite. In a number of key respects, outsourcing design work isn’t quite like leaning on your internal team, however—so here are 7 ways you can get better results from the creative process.

  • Tell me your whole business plan, not just what you think I should know. There’s always a temptation to jump right into the process—particularly when deadlines are tight. But the fact is, a solid understanding of the overall picture will help a designer address your challenges more accurately, and maybe even uncover some synergies you hadn’t even considered.
  • Tell me mistakes people have made in the past. What are your company’s “third rails”? Where are the bodies buried? If a previous designer didn’t show enough samples, didn’t hit the mark with themes, or knocked heads with certain members of the in-house marketing team, that’s actionable information.
  • Come to the process with an open mind. Every design team is different in work style as well as output. Some may be wildly creative and focused on brainstorming, others may be quieter and spend more time asking questions than talking—but both can deliver equally professional results. The final product is what matters!
  • Be clear about expectations. This may sound opposed to having an open mind, but it’s not. Regardless of the process, a design team will always want to know precisely what you want the end result to be. If, at any point in the process, you feel that standard isn’t being upheld—say something.
  • Be clear on how and when you want me to communicate. My experience is that this is always best driven from the client side. As a designer, I can call you every day, email you once a week, or contact you only at key points in the timeline. Really, the frequency or timing doesn’t matter to me, but it can make a significant difference in your satisfaction with the process—which matters a lot.
  • Identify and work through a single point person. Nothing can derail a project more quickly than an out-of-control chain of command. It’s OK if there are multiple sign-offs, of course, but in the day-to-day process, it needs to be clear to all parties who the ultimate decision maker is on any given component.
  • Share the results. Once the dust has cleared, a brief post-mortem meeting can reveal important information about outcomes that can lead to improvements in future campaigns—whether you choose to use the same firm or a different one.

Final thought: Shortly before uploading this post, I was alerted to a terrific post by Sean Madden on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network: “Before Hiring a Design Partner, Consider This”—some additional tips that can help you build a positive working relationship.

Those are my 7 ways. How do you create better working relationships and results from the creative process when you’ve outsourced design work?

Find out how Eileen and her team at Burick Communication Design can help B2B marketers like you implement an integrated campaign with stunning digital design that connects your marketing and visual branding with business results. Download your BCD Fact Sheet here.

Eileen Burick

About Eileen Burick

Eileen Burick and her expert team at Burick Communication Design (BCD) are passionate about combining creative aesthetic, strategic communication skills and cutting edge technologies to accomplish your key business objectives. Whether you’re a CMO or marketing leader who wants to launch a digital makeover, redefine your brand’s value, generate/nurture leads for sales, or make your online marketing more effective with targeted campaigns, BCD can transform your message with WOW-factor to drive results. Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn

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