Garbage in, garbage out.

In everything from mathematical computations to creative endeavors, the output is largely influenced by the input. For marketing projects, that means the energy invested and the quality of details collected at the very beginning of a project will directly affect the entire project lifecycle and ultimately, the end result.

I mean, that only seems natural, right? Collecting the important information is a vital part of every successful project.

Enter Discovery.

But First, What is Project Discovery?

I’m so glad you asked! Discovery is a marketing agency’s opportunity to dig deep and gather the details we need for the project at hand, and really, it takes different forms depending on the scope of the project.

For larger projects like a new brand, Discovery could be getting in a room with our client and navigating through organizational goals and pain points, while learning more about their unique selling propositions and competitive climate. For smaller projects like a print ad, Discovery could be a quick conversation to clearly define the creative direction, the call to action, and what the overall goal of the ad is.

Large or small, it’s incredibly important. And when great information is provided upfront, it has a wonderful trickle-down effect.

Great Discovery Saves Project Budgets

Time is money and every project has a budget. Our brilliant creative director, Mark Adkins, has a mantra I really love. (He has several actually, but this one is my favorite.) It goes something like this: “Let’s spend more of our time on the work, rather than the pathology of the work.”

What he means is that the more time we spend figuring out how to get something done, the less time we’re spending actually doing it. And unless there’s an unlimited budget and no deadline, it’s really best if we can hit the ground running.

We’ve found that even just a 30 minute conversation with the right stakeholders can save hours of research time because we have the information we need and we’re able to immediately start creating something brilliant.

Great Discovery Shortens Marketing Project Timelines

If I asked for a sandwich but gave little direction about what I wanted on it, what are the odds that it would come out the way I like it? I’d likely send it back to get fixed, delaying the moment I finally get to eat this awesome sandwich.

I know that’s probably a silly scenario—I mean, who orders a sandwich without specifying what should be on it? But the same principle applies to creative work. When there isn’t enough valuable input at the beginning of the project, it’s harder to get it right the first time. More time is spent in revision cycles than necessary which draws out the project timeline.

Great Discovery Produces Even Greater Work

My favorite part of great Discovery is the work that comes out of it. We were recently working on a branding project for a local architecture firm. Upon reviewing the concept we created, our client told us that he was so happy with what we came up with, that we captured exactly what he was looking for, both the spoken and the unspoken elements.

This is our goal for every project, and it’s an outcome that can only happen through great discovery. Taking the time to understand our clients’ spoken needs is ultimately what allows us to capture their unspoken wants. It’s how we get from “we think” to “we know.” And knowing, as they say, is half the battle.