Of all the stages of a marketing program, the final reviewing phases can be some of the most frustrating, due to communication challenges.

This past week I was working with a company outside of Boston on a direct mail program we are executing for their marketing plan. Postcard series, mailing lists & sell sheets. This week had had many emails back and forth and a 70-minute conference phone call involving 5-6 people in 4 different states.

This same week I was working with a different client from St. Louis, finalizing their website and brochure with the sales people and president, then providing direction to the copywriter and the web designer. Everyone is in a different office, a different location, with different working styles.

Two great clients. Two communication challenges.

Perhaps you can relate.

If you’ve ever tried to get lots of input, relay good direction to the creative group and then deliver a quality marketing project on a deadline, you can relate to these communication challenges. It might be a virtual company, it may be everyone is traveling, it might be the snow belt weather… whatever the challenge, the day of gathering around a conference table with the client and the creatives is long gone. No one has time.

So, you can see why I was interested when I hear about a new website called Review Basics. It’s an online way for everyone to review a project on their own time and keep all the input straight. Content, photo, image, document.

Right out of the gate, I liked the idea of it. Tim S. said he was a reader of my blog and called me at work to ask me to try Review Basics and write a review about it on this blog. I told him I would, but needed to wait until Saturday morning when I had time. Last Saturday was very busy, so I’m doing it this Saturday.

Overall impressions of Review Basics:

  • Explanations are easy. It is intuitive. I like the emoticons, balloons for text and the ability to print a hard copy of my marked up changes for proofing afterwards.
  • Definitely a product that provides a solution to a challenging problem.
  • I also like how once submitted, no more changes for that version. That is where you can get so messed up when there is ONE more thing so you have so many versions flying around… one person is changing version 5, where someone else is still back on version 3.
  • Thumbs up.

What I like:

  • Quick tutorial, very easy.
  • Very easy to figure out how to use it.
  • Like the ability to move the balloons around with comments.
  • Like the emoticons and arrows to express feelings & specifics.
  • Easy to use. Worked like the tutorial.
  • Seems like both Mac people and PC people would like using it.

What I didn’t like:

  • Music in the overview video is annoying, so I turned off my speakers.
  • I thought there would be narrator explaining how it works. I didn’t expect to be “entertained”
  • The movie runs without a control, (flash?) so I can’t go back and review something, I have to play the whole movie over again (not.)
  • When it was time to submit all changes, I got an error message. AND the message was code to the programmer… not a message to a reviewer about what I did wrong.
  • It’s still in beta, so they’ll fix the bug… but they probably should have fixed the bug before they called me yesterday (again) to ask about checking it out. If there are error messages, there is NO WAY I’m going to ask a client to figure out how to use it. Clients are too valuable to have them experimenting with program that might not work.
    • When I tried to just close, (instead of “submit changes”) I got a different error, but still no hint on what I did wrong.

I recognize it’s still in Beta. But would I use it? Someday, you bet. But not yet.

But only after all the bugs are worked out! I can’t risk a client relationship when something is still in Beta and not quite there. I’m just surprised that Tim called me twice to get my review when it wasn’t working right…

Suggestion for the Review Basics programmers: If I did something wrong, give me an error message that I can act on. If it’s something wrong on the programming, have the error message say that it’s not my fault and have it automatically save so I don’t lose all my changes (time is money in my business!)

SIDE NOTE: Ever try Reviewing with the Microsoft Word toolbar? I hate it. It’s that red thing… when you first open the page, you get that “red-pen-teacher-hates-you” feeling (and I was a good student!) that sets up a negative vibe before you even read what the review might be meaning. Or worse, you do it to a creative & crush their creative juices like a mosquito! You get two or 3 people working on it, it gets extremely confusing what is in or out, which version, who said what. To top it off Word Reviewing is not intuitive. Takes longer to work with the program than it does to review and revise the project. And it only works in word (obviously). Most of my reviewing with clients is done via PDF and beta web sites, Not a good tool. Review Basics has it ALL over Microsoft Word in that way!

Do any readers out there know of another site that does something like this? I’d like to do some comparisons. Thanks!

Technorati Tags:, Marketing Project Review, Marketing, , Business, Review Basics

Faster Communication? A new Tool to Review Marketing Projects
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6 thoughts on “Faster Communication? A new Tool to Review Marketing Projects

  • Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Thinkature is free and very similar but all ajax no flash. Please Review has the word docs aspect but thats about it.ConceptShare is sorta similar but more professional and for design, marketing and web arena. Better at the process and doesn’t feel like a kids application. Its what most firms probably use right now.

  • Sunday, February 4, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for your comments. Good Stuff! I appreciate your recommendations.

  • Saturday, February 17, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Hi Chris – thanks for the very thorough review.

    BTW the name of your blog in my RSS reader says ‘Unknown Source’. Couldn’t find your email to send you a screen shot – may need checking.


  • Sunday, February 18, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I don’t know how to fix it…Are you using Feedster? Atom? or another RSS feed? I’ll keep clicking around and see if I can find the problem. Thanks for the heads up!

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