This is a message I find myself struggling to get through the heads of my many talented creative friends on pretty much a weekly basis. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of great creative and realize how important producing great work is to talented designers.
But you can take your Flash and stuff it if it doesn’t do what I need to do – which is produce definitive results for the clients who hire me. Those clients don’t hire me so that you can do great work, have something new for your portfolio, reel or website and win awards. Those clients have businesses to run, employees to pay, products or services to sell. And they need results. And that’s why they hire me. My job: R.E.S.U.L.T.S.
There was an amazing piece in today’s AdAge, written by Mike Wolfshon, a creative, who totally nails this concept. Please do yourself a favor and read it. Especially you, my creative friends.
As Wolfshon so aptly puts it, portfolio pieces don’t matter. Results do. And these days, if you’re a creative type and you want a job – whether it’s for an agency or working for someone like me who outsources the bulk of my creative needs – I hope you’re prepared to come to a meeting and discuss results. Things like how you designed a website with the user experience in mind rather than what you thought was hip and cool. And how you factored in the importance of conversions, when designing various pages of the client’s website and landing pages. Or how the newsletter campaign you designed was specifically crafted to reach across social platforms and allow shareability – that oh-so-important factor in today’s world of content creation. Oh, and speaking of content, if you think you can whip up some web copy and stuff it with keywords (even though you barely know what those are) – because your other designer friends told you it wasn’t all that hard – and that would suffice. Well, you’re smoking some massively impressive weed.
And so, my brilliant and talented creative friends, here’s my plea. I don’t want you to do crap work. I want you to do GREAT work. But I’m looking for great work that WORKS for the one person that matters – the client. And that means results. Come to our meetings talking about results, and you’ve got yourself a gig. And if you don’t yet know about things like user experience, conversions, shareability and the importance of SEO optimized keywords, it’s not too late. Get out there and do what the rest of us have done — learn.
And your brilliance when it comes to design, coupled with strategies that focus on results will do what all really awesome creative is supposed to do – it’ll WORK!! That means that together we can manage to help our clients build strong businesses, sell more stuff to more people and, in the process, produce great work. And that, my friends, is a portfolio that you can be proud of.