I’m currently engaged in design development for the cover to my upcoming new book AVOIDING CRITICAL MARKETING ERRORS – How to go from dumb to Smart Marketing. I’m taking two routes to creating the book cover. One is to use one designer, who created the cover for COMPETITIVE POSITIONING, to focus on the assignment. The other is to open exploration to many designers.
Accordingly, in addition to using my star designer, I’ve created a contest on the service 99designs. The name of my competition is “Strut Your Stuff!” The engagement starts with the development of a creative brief. The service asks several questions. My answers make-up the basis for the brief that provides direction to interested designers.
Following brief development, I select from a few different service offerings, each one promising X-number of designs from specific grades or levels of designers (based upon talent). I chose the Gold level, which promises me more than 60-designs from “Top-level” designers. (It’s like creating an all-star team of independent designers.)
The contest runs for seven days. Yet, within a couple of hours of posting my contest, designs begin pouring in, with requests for my feedback. Within just a few days, I have more than 70-designs from a host of talented designers. I’ve had private exchanges with select designers enabling me to provide further direction regarding their submissions.
I have an overwhelming number of cover designs, and the contest is still running. This is a far cry from the standard practice of using one designer, design house, or agency to opening your assignment to many. It’s an internet “shoot-out.” (For those of you new to the term, a shoot-out is where a few agencies compete for your business.)
When the contest deadline draws near, I will select the top 5-designs and work further with each before I choose the winning one. The designer will deliver all the artwork to me for digital and paper formats of the book. By the way, did I mention that if I don’t choose a design, my fee is refunded? However, I am gladly paying as there are several from among the many submissions that may adorn the new book.
Seeking many options is a “best practice.” This practice is referred to as taking “shots on goal.” The more shots you make, the better the chance of scoring. Indeed, the more shots taken by top-performers against sound strategic direction raises the success percentage.
However, there is another advantage to taking shots on goal that further contributes to the likelihood of a successful outcome. Namely, it helps us to become more effective managers. Specifically, more shots or submissions provides us with a context with which to assess the work. We begin to compare and contrast. Importantly, it forces us to address why we prefer individual submissions over others. This, in turn, helps us to provide sound direction.
Taking more shots on goal provides more stimuli to appreciate what is possible, refine our thinking and provide productive direction (coaching) to improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. In brief, it makes us and our marketing smarter.