University Relations and Communications

Client Feedback and Planning

Clients provide the necessary technical expertise and act as subject matter experts in their respective disciplines. Therefore, client feedback is absolutely critical to ensuring project objectives are met in a timely, high-quality, and brand-appropriate manner. Our marketing specialists will work with clients to identify the project’s objective, develop an agreeable scope of work and production schedule, and solicit relevant feedback.

Here are some marketing industry best practices for providing meaningful feedback:

  • Stakeholder approval—to expedite projects and use resources wisely, make sure new content submitted or feedback provided has been reviewed and approved by all necessary stakeholders before submitting to Marketing and Creative Services. And, all feedback should be consolidated—provided in a single document at one time.
  • Be specific—make your feedback factual and specific; convey what is wrong and how to fix it. Ideally, this does not mean rewriting the copy yourself, but providing specific, factual changes and corrections so the copywriter can incorporate your changes.
  • Remove emotion—it is natural to react emotionally to a design or copy and immediately think, “I love it!” or “I hate it!” When providing feedback, it is much more effective for us to understand your rationale for loving or hating something through objective feedback.
  • Review copy as a customer—if you review with pen in hand, you are probably reviewing as an editor. Instead, review from the customer’s point of view. Ask,“If I were a customer, would this get my attention? Would I be moved to respond?”
  • Check the facts—when finalizing content, be sure names, titles, academic degrees, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, URls, dates, locations, and other factual data are correct. If the copywriting staff fact checked all data, our turnaround time would significantly increase.
  • When in doubt, call—even with the clearest direction, there may be times when you have questions about edited copy or new content. It is always best to have open dialogue.
  • The fewer levels of approval, the better—everybody has a different opinion of what is in the best interest of the target audience. By trying to please a committee, you often end up with content that is too spread out and watered down, with no strong message or point of view. Four reviewers or less is ideal. The fewer revisions made, the better.
  • Consider letting copywriters rewrite—it is most effective for copywriters to rewrite copy. If you want changes made, convey them to the marketing specialist so that the copywriter can revise. Please do not dot i’s and cross t’s. The copywriter is a professional on how to use language as a marketing tool and IPFW editorial standards.

Portions excerpted from “How to Review and Approve Copy;” Copywriter’s Handbook, by Robert W. Bly

Some points to consider during the review process

Information Architecture Standards

  • Editorial
  • Design
  • Photography
  • Digital
  • Social media
  • Graphic identifier

Graphic Design

  • Use of background images, color, and/or textures
  • Photography
  • Typography
  • Layout

Copywriting

  • Headline and sub-headline actionable, engaging standards, not tombstone headlines
  • Calls-to-action
  • Body copy length and directives, if appropriate
  • Easy-to-read, vernacular style (unless audience is academic)

Planning Ahead Helps Projects Meet Expectations

As part of determining your project’s scope of work and as highlighted earlier in this guide in “Understanding Our Workflow,” our marketing specialists will develop a mutually agreed-upon production schedule to approve and initiate all marketing projects. This document will define the clients’ and Marketing and Creative Services’ understanding of the project requirements, timing, and final deliverables.

Planning before beginning project work will help set expectations between both parties, which increases the likelihood that projects will be delivered on time and meet or exceed client expectations in a brand-appropriate manner. Our iterative workflow does, however, require client feedback and approval and, as such, must be provided during the agreed-upon time frame. Projects are otherwise subject to delays. Determining the scope of work ahead of time also helps to minimize “scope creep,” where a project incurs unplanned additions or changes that expand the resources and budget. When this occurs, the marketing specialist will let the client know and next steps will be determined together.

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