Whether you've been to a press run one time or one hundred times, you can't miss feeling a combination of excitement and trepidation. This is the point at which a creative project is ready to "hit the road" ... when edits aren't simple and still (relatively) inexpensive.
I'm sure that many of my colleagues in marketing and creative professions share my point-of-no-return emotion. Like me, they can always change or improve concepts by tweaking one word, changing punctuation or shifting a color palette.
Sometimes middle-of-the-night inspiration has me re-thinking entire strategies and adjusting the messaging of an entire marketing piece.
So how do I get big projects out the door?
Here are my five tips to help you let go and get your marketing project on press successfully:
1. Outline a strategy
Brainstorm your project at the front end, not after it's a growing file on the designer's computer. Make certain that every angle is considered and every person involved in the project is included. If this is a sales piece, include sales staff. Talk with the printer for direction on what is possible. Consider all ideas that will save you money and make your project the most effective.
2. Establish a budget
Do the basic math: how many pieces you need, how much will it cost (copy, creative, project management, printing, fulfillment, etc.), what your target response rate is and the dollar value of each response. Make sure that you have a firm handle on your anticipated ROI - don't let yourself be surprised by timeline snafus and budget overruns that eat into the fiscal effectiveness of your project.
3. Set firm deadlines
Let your team members know the deadline, and the interim deadlines for all components: budget development, copy, photography, mailing list compilation. Build in time for unavoidable delays (scheduling issues, equipment failures) at the front end of your project. Circle your PRESS DATE in red. Make yourself adhere to your schedule.
4. Assign clear responsibilities
Establish a point person for each phase of project. This may be one person, or a series of people across departments. It might only be you. Be clear about who does what. Write names on the project timeline, right next to dates. Make certain that everyone has a copy of deadlines and responsibilities.
5. Retain your creative vision
Set high standards for everyone. Change any part of your project that isn't what you want it to be -- before you go to press. Negotiate at every stage. Make certain that revisions, additional components and extra effort don't blow your budget. But get what you want. When I go to a press run, I might change the color three times, but the final product is perfectly aligned with my expectations.
How do you move your projects efficiently from concept to printing press?
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