Are you new to working with a design agency for your marketing? If you have never partnered with a design firm OR have had a bad experience in the past, it can be daunting to begin. At Annatto, we value our client relationships and work hard to make each project run smoothly. This series will give you some great tips for working with a marketing agency. First up: communication, scope and scheduling!
Meet and Greet
While each agency will have slightly different processes, generally the basics will remain the same. For Annatto, the process usually starts with a face-to-face video call to introduce ourselves to each other.
This is a great way for you to get to know our team. You should know who to direct questions to and how to communicate with your designer(s). We like our clients to feel comfortable with our team and we’ll answer any questions that will help with this concept. We genuinely enjoy getting to know our clients and we hope you will feel the same way.
For Annatto, this is where we get to learn more about your company. We’ll ask a lot of questions to better understand your goals, both for your business in general and for the specific piece(s) we may be discussing.
Once we have a deeper understanding of the scope of work, we’ll create an estimate outlining the details including deliverables, timelines and costs. For Annatto, this can happen in three different ways depending on what makes the most sense for you as the client and the scope of the project.
- Flat Fee: If the scope of work is well-defined, you’ll likely see a flat fee estimate. What this means is that everything to complete the project, from start to finish, is included. If there are exceptions (for example, third-party expenses like printing, stock photography, etc.) they will be detailed in the estimate (because no one likes surprise fees).
- Hourly: The second option is based on tracking the project hourly. If the scope of work has a lot of unknowns, we’ll go this route. But don’t worry, we don’t send you in with a blind budget! Annatto handles this option by setting a “bucket” of hours. We’ll estimate the time we’ll need to complete the project and start there. As we track time (by the quarter hour), we set checkpoints to make sure things are on track. Once we hit 75% of the hours allotted, we assess whether more hours are likely to be needed (or not) and discuss options with you. If we set the hourly allotment for 20 hours and your project takes 16, your invoice will reflect the actual hours used.
- Retainer: The third option is to set a monthly or quarterly retainer. If you have recurring projects or you consistently need project work each month, this might be the option for you. We’ll discuss your particular needs and set a retainer budget based on the specifics.
No matter which type of estimate your work requires, you are welcome to questions and/or modify the scope as needed. Once and estimate is accepted, we send out a deposit invoice and the project is considered a ‘go’!
Annatto works hard to schedule your project’s start date as quickly as possible, but it depends on the studio schedule at the time. Sometimes we’ll have the space to begin within a week and others we are scheduling several weeks out. Regardless, we are always upfront about realistic timelines and conscious of any deadlines that you might have. If you think it’s going to be a tight fit, let us know as soon as possible – you never know if you don’t ask and we’ve been known to get creative with our calendar.
You’re on your way!
Working with a design agency does not have to be a stressful endeavor – we promise! The most important thing is to ask questions when you have them. We don’t expect our clients to be experts in marketing and we’re happy to answer questions about anything. Communication is key to receiving the best piece for your purpose.
Stay tuned for the next part of the series – Working with a Design Agency: How to supply copy and other files.