Speaking the Same Language

As we know, marketers and salespeople have distinct personalities, as do designers and creative directors. Unfortunately, too often, they don’t seem to want to cooperate. As long as we’re sharing objectives (doing what’s best for our clients, remember?), we might as well bite the proverbial bullet and get to know each other. While we’re at it, let’s try to understand what we recommended to the client in the first place to reach their goals.As a professional in the creative industry, as a designer, a teacher of the visual arts, and as a creative director of my own company, I’ve discovered, much more often than not, that people serving different roles within, and hired by, the same company don’t necessarily speak to each other. Literally. Whether it’s Marketing vs Creative; Branding vs Sales; or Account Representative vs Designer, I consider this the inverse rule of what customer service is supposed to be about.

Can’t we all just get along?
Designers and design agencies have their portfolios. Clients have their brands. Clients pay their designers and agencies to build equity in their brands by adhering to continuity with their visuals, color palettes, type font, values, and integrating their style of language into their creative work.

Now, by a show of hands, how many designers define “success” by how well their own portfolios are evolving, using their clients’ work as stepping stones? How many define “success” as creating an intelligent solution for their client while maintaining the high degree of design integrity that won them the client in the first place? OK, the second group wins.

About a year ago, putting myself in my clients’ shoes in this daily-evolving competitive environment once again, I combined my company’s creative capabilities with another dedicated to Demand Generation expertise that integrates the critical features of sales and marketing into the overall strategy. Barnett Group now helps marketers seamlessly leverage their creative content, expensive and commonly under-utilized cloud technology, and Inbound Marketing strategy to more effectively engage their leads and customers to grow their businesses.

This represents an even higher level of cooperation among all key players; creatives, sales, marketers and clients, to create the most effective marketing campaigns that fuse all disciplines, beginning with “Hello.” The Demand Gen folks can explain this much better than I, but it simply means creating a campaign that is focused on qualified leads that have been collected by incredible modern cloud technology that a select talented few individuals know how to really use effectively. Due to the meteoric rise in this technology’s popularity, I’m finding that many new companies say they provide this expertise– they even heavily promote these services right upfront—but they rarely candeliver on this promise without rushing to pick up a phone to find a firm that actually knows this technology and is willing to act as a partner; and, even more unfortunately, do not truly know how to combine this advanced technology with the creative. The result; the client is often left in the dust, and the agency has a short-lived client relationship.

Staying on point, I’ve always been a believer in building my design company horizontally; that is, adding capabilities to mesh with those that already exist to expand services to our clients; rather than vertically, building a company with one’s head in the proverbial cloud (not Cloud), adding staff and office space, to improve a company’s “bigness,” while adding overhead instead of capabilities. The former builds relationships over time, enabling you to assimilate and adopt your clients’ cultures and mindsets, while the latter doesn’t improve the odds to even reach the next level with them. It’s great to be a bigger agency, but are you abetter agency?

I’ve hired many, and have been hired by many, over the years. Qualities that have always impressed me, often more than the resume or portfolio itself, have been personal commitment and character, quality of the thought process, manageable ego, and exceptional communication, on both sides.

This is what I call speaking the same language. It’s really not that difficult. You just have to want to do it.