One of the things we do at Nuanced Media that catches some of our clients off guard is that we enter into our discovery process early. Often, we start discovery before we’ve even been hired to design a new website or start an SEO or PPC campaign.
We begin everything with research because we believe that having a complete understanding of our clients and their businesses, industries, and competitors give us the best avenues for success with their projects. We also believe that companies that start projects without this level of understanding about their clients actually wind up doing harm instead of good.
Real, avoidable, harm.
Every single time we start discovery for a new client, we are surprised by something we find. More often than not, that surprise forms the core of an important idea or concept for the website or marketing campaign.
Our discovery process isn’t revolutionary, but our deployment of it is; before we agree to take on a project of virtually any kind, we do a discovery process for that client. We’ve found this beneficial for a few important reasons.
1. Who Are You?
Perhaps the most important aspect of the discovery process – and perhaps the biggest benefit of the discovery process – is gaining an understanding of who our clients and their companies are.
Too many creative firms think they can fake their way through getting to know their clients, instead relying on trying to blow them away with out-of-left-field creative concepts that don’t effectively communicate the core of who their client is as a company, the challenges they face in their respective industries, and their motivations for re-designing their website or starting a new marketing campaign.
Out-of-left-field is fine, don’t get us wrong. We just prefer when cutting edge creative concepts are backed up by a thorough understanding of our clients.
And so we begin with research; we research and interview our clients, we research their industry and their competitors, and we look at their previous websites and campaigns. The central aim of all this research is to get to know our clients as well as we possibly can.
2. Why Are You Here?
This may come as a shock, but not every client knows exactly what they need and exactly when they need it by.
When this is the case, and it happens more often than you’d think, we use the discovery process to help define the scope of the project. Through the research in our discovery process, we are able to make recommendations about the best courses of action to our clients, and by asking the right questions during our interviews we can help our clients figure out what it is exactly that they’re looking for and when they need done by.
What happens when a client comes to you looking for a new website and your discovery tells you that they don’t need a ground-up re-design? Is it hard to tell a client that they don’t actually need a new website, just some minor tweaks? Yes. Will they value that level of honesty? Yes.
Will that client be more likely to sign with you when they _do_ need a ground-up re-design? Absolutely.
3. Who Are Your Competitors?
Many of our clients have a very clear picture of who their competitors are and many of our clients do not. There are also a few clients who, somehow, fit into both camps, believing that they know exactly who their competitors are while not having the foggiest clue.
One of the most important aspects of our discovery process is our competitive analysis. As we mentioned a little earlier, as part of our deep dive into our clients’ businesses, we do extensive research into our clients’ competitors.
Because we want a full understanding not only of our clients and their respective industries, but also of the obstacles they face. Without a clear picture of the competition and their strategies, we can’t make the kinds of reliable recommendations to our clients that we pride ourselves on making.
This level of research into what your competitors are doing also gives us a good overview of the strategies that work versus the ones that don’t in your industry, which further helps to focus our recommendations.
4. How Can We Help You?
As we finish up our research, we begin to put it all together to form our recommendations to our client.
We take everything into account – our client background research, project research, industry research, and competitive analysis – to craft an action plan for our clients. Nuanced Media prides ourself on using this thorough analysis to make frank and honest recommendations about what is best for our client, and not what is best for us.
It is, admittedly, pretty great when those two ideas match up with each other, though.
Ultimately, a marketing agency’s job is to put your interests at the forefront and figure out the best way to help you achieve your business goals. The discovery process helps us learn not only about your goals, but also the best way to achieve them.
Want to learn more about the nuances of our discovery process? Leave a comment below or get in touch with us to start the conversation today!