Marketing is an expectations game where you have to read the future.
You put in long hours developing a marketing plan. It is filled with grand ideas and garnished
with bells, tweets and whistles. Your goal is to be a smashing success. Then
you execute and hit all your milestones only to come crashing down to earth
because your colleagues think the program failed. Someone quips, "it didn't live up to my expectations."
expectations is so critical to success because so much of our work is a game
filled with anticipation.
You put a big bet on outbound marketing, inbound SEO, web design, promotion, direct mail, etc...(pick a marketing tactic) and
get everyone excited about your idea. But have you done the really important
work to define what success looks like when the program is over?
I think we
marketers are guilty of over selling expectations because we fall in love with
our own tactics. We want it to do well so we puff up our feathers and get
everyone believing that we have found the magic elixir. We are great
cheerleaders but need to do a better job of setting the table.
goals and expectations, most companies also suffer from trying to do too much
with each tactic. I can’t say it often enough but a lack of focus and
specificity gets in the way of success.
Pick a goal. Make it a really important one. Tie it to a well-understood
incentive. Assign an owner. This isn't difficult but requires some discipline. Executing well is in the details and setting expectations is directly linked to achieving the results you establish.
To achieve greater success with your marketing, take these six critical
- Understand what successful means to your stakeholders. If you have
5 colleagues with wildly different views of success for your program, than you
need consensus. At least try to get them
all in the same neighborhood of expectation.
- Before you jump into the tactics,
define success in a short written
success sentence. It would read something like this: "If we can achieve 10% more quality leads per quarter, the effort is a
success” or "If we can convert 5 additional leads in the next 60 days and they place orders exceeding $100,000, then we will be successful." Be extremely specific.
- Think of this like a math problem where you have to solve for X. X is success and you have defined it. Now,
figure out what tactics can help you get to 10% more quality leads per quarter.
- Brainstorm with your marketing team on two approaches to achieve
the goal. Pick two people to champion
different tactical approaches and have them present it to your marketing group with their best
evidence why their action is superior to the other approach. Airing it out
helps to get the risks identified. Make it a competition.
- Pick the best idea. Assign one person to own the effort and
let them be the champion of the project. And, pick a reward for achieving
success for the team. (An extra day off, dinner at a great new restaurant, $100
Starbucks cards, etc.) This way everyone in marketing is invested in achieving
the goal. You might also include other key stakeholders in the project like inside sales or a distributor who plays a key role in achieving the goal.
- Send a note to all stakeholders that summarizes what you are doing and what success looks like. Some would call this a CYA memo (cover your ass), but I like to think of it as plain old communications. In simple terms the note defines the project. Here is what we are doing. Here is what we agreed success looks like. If you tell me we failed in six months, out comes the memo for us to review what we said six months ago. It is like a contract for success.
Invest in Agreeing on Success
While you are dotting your i's and crossing your t's, remember to get keep internal stakeholders sold on a common statement of success. Keep it simple. Be specific. Use a time frame. Use numbers to measure results. You'll find your marketing becomes more successful, when you agree on what success looks like before the marketing effort begins.
Does your marketing need to do a better job of defining success? Maybe I can be of some help to coach you along your path so you can leap toward your goals. Connect with me through Clarity.
Labels: Defining a problem, Managing expectations, Marketing Moments, path to success, Recipes for Success, setting expectations