Say that you’re launching a new product and need your agency to create sales and marketing materials. Or say that you’ve signed with a new agency and need to bring them up to speed on your company. How much information do you provide? At Wordsmithie, we generally say, “Send us whatever you have.”

There’s no such thing as too much information

Any data that we don’t need right now we might well find useful in the future. So pass it along—we’ll take everything you care to send us. The thing is, though, we’ll also want you to help us sort through it all and make sense of it. To tell us what we should focus on, and what we should set aside for now.

You know much more about your business, products and services than we ever will. We need your guidance, so that we can communicate your message to your customers or users. We’re the filter or the translator between you and them. So, after we say “Send us whatever you have,” we follow up with a not-so-simple question: “Now, what are we looking at?”

Gaining fuller insight and understanding

Often, the key information is readily apparent. We see right away what we need to know, so that we can write and/or design your case study, white paper or microsite. Other times, though, we need to do additional work to understand not only what you want to say, but also what you need to say. Then we’ll dig a little deeper. We might set up a call or meeting with a product manager or an engineer to gain more insight or a fuller understanding. Once in a while, we might even ask to talk with a customer or client, because she’ll have a different viewpoint from yours or ours—one that can be particularly useful.

A case study: information in action

Recently, a new client prepared a workshop to introduce us to their technology and markets. We reviewed numerous documents and materials beforehand. We helped fill whiteboards with lists and diagrams at the workshop. And we worked closely with the client team afterward, to hone our understanding of exactly what the company did, and what and how we should communicate with their potential customers. That sort of understanding takes teamwork and time, and involves much more than a one-time data dump.

So, by all means, please send us any background information you have. We’re eager to review it. But also be ready to help us sort through the materials, define what’s most important, and communicate your message effectively to your target audience.

Communication takes teamwork.

Jim Leeke

Widely experienced in journalism, marketing communications and advertising, Jim has worked with top creative agencies to deliver print, Internet and interactive projects to Fortune 500 companies. His expertise ranges from technology and healthcare/pharmaceuticals to defense and veterans issues. Jim is also the author/editor of six books, writing extensively on the Civil War and baseball. In addition to his Wordsmithie role, Jim is Co-founder and Creative Director of Taillight Communications.
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