Agency secrets: Reduce revisions to save time, money and headaches


Everyone’s talking about being more agile. In theory, it’s a great practice. In reality, a lot of companies and agencies just aren’t set up to do it successfully. And that leads to projects that start with high expectations and end with big headaches.

Agile or not, there are three simple things that you and your agency can do together to reduce revisions, helping keep you on budget and on deadline.

  • Limit the number of reviewers. More input = less meaning.
    It’s tempting to vet your projects with your boss, your cube mate—even your dog. But our experience reveals that the more opinions you get, the more diluted, conflicting and even outright contradictory the feedback can become. You often end up having to choose whose feedback gets implemented and whose does not.Instead, limit the number of people who will review and approve the work—we suggest three at most. While this isn’t always possible on every project, it’s a good target to aim for. Include only those who can add real value to the project—such as someone who will actually use the work in the field, a trusted subject matter expert and a critical influencer in the company.
  • Cut out the middle man. Reviewers should be approvers.
    All too often, companies will appoint an employee to manage the agency. That’s fine—it can be helpful to have someone who serves as a day-to-day contact, manages schedules and keeps budgets on track.But if that employee isn’t going to use the asset or doesn’t have final say over the creative work, he or she should not serve as a gatekeeper. The project manager should enable the agency to present the creative work to approvers, rather than initiating a first round of reviews. Suddenly the three rounds of review you scoped are gone, and the actual approvers or the people who will be using the asset have never even seen a draft.Trust your agency. We’re professionals—intelligently applied creativity is our expertise. Let us take the fall if the work is off the mark. Don’t add unnecessary revs before the person using the work actually sees it—the work is likely to suffer.
  • The brief is essential. Take it seriously.
    The creative brief sounds so … ad agency. But it really is a key to any successful project. A good brief will clearly define the audience, project objectives and all vital information that strategists and the creative team may need to meet your expectations.Make sure it is accurate and clearly reflects your goals, objectives, audiences, messaging and mandatories. And don’t stop following the brief if any of these factors change. Rewrite the brief to incorporate these changes. If everyone sticks to the brief, life is good. And efficient.

None of these ideas may seem earth-shattering or original. But they are often forgotten. Following them will not only help make the client-agency relationship more successful; it will also result and stronger creative and more productive work. Try it and see.