As a marketing professional, chances are you already have a lot of tools in your toolbox.

Qualitative and quantitative research? Check. Creative brief? Of course. Heuristic evals? You weren’t born yesterday. But beyond the usual suspects, what else can you do to make sure that what you’re delivering is consistently effective? Enter the Whittier Checklist. It’s a little something we developed to help ensure the outcomes of our work. It’s less of a strict formula and more of a gut check, which comes in handy when you’re investing in media, putting your ads in front of humans and expecting to grasp onto their ever-shrinking attention. So, we’re happy to share our checklist with you, dear reader. Try it out the next time you’re about to unleash a campaign into the world. Just be sure to let us know what you think.


People need to feel something in order to do something.


Take a hard look at your ad. If you’re using photography, who are these people? What are they doing? Is there any human connection in their eyes or are you looking at a blank stare? Read the copy as someone who knows nothing about this topic. Does it move you to take action? Tapping into a feeling is really the only surefire way to create something evocative. Think about what makes you feel something. What makes you stop the scroll? What makes you sit up straighter? Are you doing that for your audience? If you aren’t feeling something, chances are
no one else will either.


In a cluttered world, less means even more.


As the icon Dieter Rams evangelizes: Simplicity is the key to excellence.The same can be said for a great ad. Ask yourself “Am I doing many things pretty well, or am I doing one thing exceptionally?” Kill your darlings, people. Before you let your creations out into the world, remove any clutter, delete unnecessary elements and always use as few words as possible to communicate your desired outcome. Remember, you’re only ever trying to accomplish one thing per ad. If you can do that, you’ll be miles ahead of the masses.


Look at all the puzzle pieces to see the bigger picture.


Make sure what you are putting out into the world is cohesive with your brand position, marketing channels, and campaigns. How you look and talk about your brand will evolve over time—and it’s OK to have a random guerilla tactic here or there—but in general, your look, your message and your call to action should be unified and carefully scaled by channel. This will build your brand, not just your sales. Then sit back and watch the power of synergy.


That little something extra to leave ‘em wanting more.


Research shows that surprise is an incredibly effective tool to captivate an audience. Finding opportunities to surprise or delight should always be part of your content strategy. Maybe your version of delight is an amazing price. Or a headline that makes them laugh out loud. Or those little goosebumps you get when you see a breathtaking landscape. Find the angle that works for you and charm their pants off. Figuratively speaking of course. 🙂

— By Montana Scheff

So what do you think? Message me and let us know if you try out the checklist. We’d love to hear from you.