The Initial Interview

In an earlier post I discussed the importance of conducting research before entering into development on any marketing/advertising effort. When dealing with a client, it’s important to set aside time for an initial creative interview. I have a graphic designer I work with who will never start any project without first sitting down with the client to discuss the needs of the business.

But how are these initial meetings conducted? What do you talk about? How do you know if you’re asking the right questions?

Ultimately, being able to conduct an effective initial interview will come with practice. And the questions you ask will depend on your particular discipline. I might not ask the same questions as a graphic designer would, because I deal with video production.

As you work with more clients, you will be able to refine your interview skills and quickly mine those nuggets of information that will aid you in your creative development. Here are some questions that I usually like to cover in my initial creative meeting:

  1. How do you plan on using the video?
  2. What’s the size and scope of the project, as you see it?
  3. What’s your time frame for completion?
  4. What are the objectives for this video?
  5. Who is your audience, as you see it?
  6. What do you feel are the main selling points of your business?
  7. Does your business have a mission statement? What is it?
  8. What objections might people have to buying from you, or using your service?
  9. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  10. How do you want the public to perceive your business?

From this initial interview, you need to find the core PROBLEM that your efforts will SOLVE. These questions are by no means set in stone, and you don’t need to limit yourself to asking only 10 questions. Sometimes the client has thought about these things, but often they need you to prompt them into evaluating themselves and their brand. Be sure to take a lot of notes throughout the meeting and feel free to jot down a few ideas during the meeting as they come to you.

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