15 Mistakes Agencies Make In Their Creative Content Process (And How To Fix Them)

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15 Mistakes Agencies Make In Their Creative Content Process (And How To Fix Them)

The creative content process can take a long time, and each agency has a different approach to it. There’s no standardized method of producing content, and what one agency provides will be vastly different from another because of how they go about developing it.

The diversity in creation has its benefits and drawbacks, however. In a lot of cases, agencies may develop a creative process that inadvertently creates issues, leading to a sub-par final product. Fifteen associates of Forbes Agency Council take a look at some of the mistakes agencies make with their creative process, and how they can seek to fix those problems.

15 Mistakes Agencies Make with Creative and how to fix them

1. Focusing On Quantity Over Quality

Sometimes quantity can kill quality and creativity. The most common mistake I have seen is when, in the rush of producing more, agencies compromise on quality. We must focus on building content that will be followed, liked, go viral. The consumer will never decide to buy just because the content is abundant, but the consumer will always pay attention if the content is interesting. – Ally Spinu, USA Link System

2. Letting Creativity Overshadow Goals

Agencies forget to ask, “what’s the goal?” throughout the creative process. In an effort to produce unique and creative content, it is easy to forget what the goal of the content is. Do you want the reader to contact your company? Watch a video? Sign up for your webinar? Keep the core goal in mind as creativity flows from concept to launch. – Bernard May, National Positions

3. Not Doing Research First

One of the most common errors we help clients correct is the notion that creative concepts are by necessity based on intuition or happenstance. The biggest brands in the world know that effective creative is grounded in customer journey research. Knowing who your customers are and how they interact with your brand is essential to consistently creating campaigns that connect. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

4. Becoming Order-Takers Instead Of Idea-Makers

On one level, clients hire agencies to produce content or to do PR or marketing or web design. But ultimately, they are hiring you for your ideas. The most common mistake agencies make in their creative content process is to let their clients drive strategy. They become order-takers instead of idea-makers. Agencies must make sure their process always centers on strategy first, output second. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

5. Not Having A Clearly Defined Process

Many businesses never clearly define their process or they use an undocumented process. This is a common mistake. Once you document steps and, subsequently, results, you can refine your process, as you’ll see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also ensure that your system is maintained. Your process does not need to be written in stone, but it should be written somewhere! – Fran Biderman-Gross, Advantages

6. Account Teams Trying To Influence The Creative

A common issue we’ve encountered in agencies is the account team injecting themselves into the creative process and direction. Account team lends perspective for the creative team to then consider but they should not be directing the creative. Attempting to implement thoughts the client has without thought to the decisions that have been made and why they were made, can be disastrous. – Paul E. Benninghove, Pavone Marketing Group

7. Creating Content That Doesn’t Fit Your Brand

A common mistake is spitballing content ideas that don’t fit a business model or branding. An easy way to fix this is just imagining how each tactic fits into your company’s mission, vision or overall presence. How does that piece of content reflect on you? Where is it going to be posted? Is it quality content? These are the questions that you should be asking when creating content. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Overstaffing A Campaign

When there’s a favorite campaign that everyone wants to work on, don’t fall into the trap of overstaffing it — everyone will start applying their hours to it, thus escalating time and budgets. Assign a small creative team to the campaign early on and keep the meetings short. Team members must adhere to the account lead and finance but don’t limit creativity — just pick the right team for the project. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Thinking Too Big

As marketers, we’re trained to “think big” but in truth, sometimes our clients want us to solve a singular problem without rewriting the entire constitution. What if instead of thinking big, we started small and clearly defined the desired outcome coming up with uncomplicated, smart solutions? Too often, I see agencies overworking the creative concept and missing the core challenge. Small is big! – Danica Kombol, Everywhere Agency

10. Not Checking The Analytics

One of the worst mistakes that firms make is that they over-advertise and they over-saturate people with information as well as with content. This is not a wise move because it  means that people will not pay attention to messages when they are important. One of the most important lessons is to take the time to know your audience. A part of that means getting to know when to mail them. – Jon James, Ignited Results

11. Not Allowing Enough Time For Collaboration

The most common pitfall for agencies in this modern age is failing to allow enough time and space for real, organic, creative collaboration. This cannot happen in conference calls or over email. At our agency, when we gather in our conference room, close our computers and turn off our phones for an uninterrupted design sprint, we accomplish twice as much. – Jenni Smith, EGR International

12. Not Talking About What Matters To Ideal Clients

It’s amazing to me how many pro service firms do not have a clearly defined ideal client profile. I believe this is foundational to all creative messaging and promotion strategies. The ideation process, where campaigns are won or lost, should keep the goals, opportunities and challenges of ideal clients at the center. This is how “creative” creates distinction and brand differentiation. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group

13. Holding Onto Agency Structures Of The Past

Times have changed. Gone are the days when an agency is staffed like an assembly line, with everyone adding their cog to the wheel to make it move. Agencies holding on to the structures, processes and titles of the past are killing their creative process. Today’s modern marketing dynamic demands lean, nimble teams with better creative output, and everyone (from the top down) pitching in. – Jessica Reznick, We’re Magnetic

14. Using Excuses To Replace ‘This Isn’t A Priority’

There are hundreds of easy approach solutions to every limitation. Excuses are a smoke screen covering micromanagement and misaligned priorities. Executives overseeing the process, middle managers overemphasizing limitations and team members feeling unempowered — that is the real problem. Empower the team to find and own solution, and the process will work, every time. – Kirk Westwood, Glass River Media

15. Getting Caught Up In The Flavor Of The Week

One common mistake is to focus on a new flashy technology. It may be getting a lot of press and the clients may be asking for it. Don’t get caught up in the flavor of the week and stay grounded in what the brand is trying to accomplish. Bright and flashy creative ideas come and go but something that is creative and aligns to brand strategy has a much better chance of having a business impact.  – Laura Glotzbach, LGS Marketing Services

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