Tough love from CreateAthon

  • Written by Teresa Coles

CreateAthon week is here! Partner agencies — at least those that hold their events in the fall — are scurrying around with prep work for the BIG DAY.

Here’s a word of advice from the Mother Ship to keep in mind during these final days: manage expectations.

That means doing things like:

• Developing a brief that specifies the marketing objective and the major deliverables you will endeavor to work on during the 24-period (you don’t have to have every single deliverable figured out by CAT; that takes all the fun out it). But the client should have a general sense of what it is you’ll be working on.

• Being sure to under promise and over deliver. Leave room for the magic of CreateAthon to take hold in the middle of night, and see what happens. Odds are you’ll end up producing than what you outlined in the brief. Which make it even more like Christmas morning when the clients come in to see their work.

• Reinforcing the rules of play. Don’t expect them to remember the stipulations on the application. For example, at Riggs Partners, some of our hard and fast rules are:

  • Clients have 24 hours to approve the work (since we have 24 hours to produce it). That means they come in to see the work on Friday morning, and they are required to come back into our office on Saturday morning with any minor revisions. We have sign-up sheets for these two meetings at the pre-event meeting.
  • Clients must be accessible to us via phone during the 24 hour event, in case we have questions.
  • Clients must feed us something. We have a sign-up sheet for this as well that we use at the pre-event meeting. So by the time they leave that meeting, they have committed to two scheduled meetings and a healthy or junky snack!

All this rule-making may seem a bit harsh, but it’s been proven effective as a tool to manage the event to everyone’s ultimate satisfaction. Besides, it’s the one time your firm gets to set ALL the rules.