Getting Comfortable with the "F" Word, Part II

March 30, 2015 Merrie Beth Salazar

In part one of this series, we introduced the idea of incorporating feedback (the big "F" word) into all stages of your creative process.

We discussed how to approach feedback in the brainstorming and pre-production stages, and today we'll take a deeper dive on how to do so during production, post-production and finally, the launch of your campaign. Understanding and recognizing these critical feedback points along the way will streamline your efforts while keeping your team on track (and within budget).

PRODUCTION

You’ve got the vision and the plan - now the fun begins.  And so does the outflow of dollars.  Feedback during production is one of the most important aspects of ensuring your advertising development stays on-time and within budget.  Changes on-site or during development are a whole lot easier than reshoots or redesigns.  

Lay the foundation by telling your big-idea team members that you’ve reached the point of no return on the concept.  This will save you some headaches later, like “ohhh, let’s have that guy wear a blue shirt instead,” or “I know – KITTENS!!”  (We’ve all been there).

The best way to provide feedback during production, especially for ads that contain elements like live footage or other video, is simply to be on-site as these are being developed.  In the video world, you really can see it start to come to life during this production phase, but it can be intimidating to provide instant feedback.  

Great producers will seek to involve you in the on-site process, but if you’re feeling a little left out, try this: just say, “I have a note.”  It’s lingo that is often used during development and immediately understood by producers.   Then, use colorful and descriptive language to communicate your point.  Things like “give that more pop,” or “build to that point,” or even “let’s make that frisky” help convey an image of what you are looking for that will translate to the creative mindset.  Not a feeler?  Cheat by learning some new words that express creativity.

 

POST-PRODUCTION

Post-production is another film-making term that can translate to any creative.  Think of it as the time between when the first draft is shared to when the final product is delivered.  

The name of the feedback game here is specific, actionable and tracked.  Instead of shooting off random emails that provide your edits to online or video ads, content, etc., organize your thoughts.  Steal a page from your brethren in Finance and use a spreadsheet to make this easy.  In addition to numbering each line of feedback points, some things you might want to track include:

  1. Who identified the issue – important when working on teams of reviewers, just in case you need to go back to them for more information.  
  2. Where the issue or opportunity for improvement is – for video ads, include the exact second that needs to be edited.  For long-form content like eBooks, include the page and paragraph number.  For websites, print or online ads, take a quick screen shot. 
  3. What issue you’ve identified – be specific and use language that conveys detail.  For a video, this might be something like “What the voice over is saying does not connect in a powerful way with what is appearing on the screen.”  A design piece might look something like “the edge of our logo is too close to the call to action, making it hard for my eye to know where to go.”  The trick here is to articulate the issue, not the solution.  By separating the two, you’ll be giving the producer or developer the opportunity to come up with a new idea to tackle the issue that might be better than what you’re thinking.
  4. A correction suggestion – right next to the issue, offer a suggestion on what the correction will be.  Have good communication with your developer up front so that team knows if your suggestion means “do it” or “consider it” – there’s a fine line of great impact there.
  5. The status of the update – use three final columns to track if the issue has been corrected (YES/NO), its current status (NEW/IN PROGRESS/CLOSED), and a final spot for your developer to provide notes back.

Keeping your feedback log updated and versioned is a final step to ensure everything gets addressed before launch.

 

LAUNCH

The launch of your advertising creative is a perfect time to close the feedback loop.  Shift back into the gathering mode to see how your message performed.  If it was a digital piece, like a display ad or eBlast campaign, consider your performance metrics as feedback on your concept and execution.  Use these insights to text other copy, calls to actions or subject lines on the same campaign.  Track your results so you can create a playbook of what worked and what didn’t for next time.  

As for the video-based ads, now’s the time to amplify them across channels to get real-time feedback from your customers.  How about placing that video on Facebook, which rivals YouTube for video viewership?  What comments or clicks does your content generate?  What customer feedback can you gather to refine your vision for your next campaign?

No matter what the scope of your next creative advertising message, it’s important to be involved in its development.  Taking the extra feedback steps along the way is a great way for marketers to ensure the end product comes to life without added complexity and confusion. 

About the Author

Merrie Beth Salazar

Merrie Beth Salazar is a marketing professional experienced in leading teams and projects to measurable success. With a background in research and storytelling, she looks for the untold insights behind marketing campaigns and brings them to life.

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