When we’re approached about strategy at SHIFT, we’re often being asked about the reasons behind why we’ve made the recommendations or choices we have about the approach to a program. Alternatively and understandably, clients want to try the shiny new marketing thing they’ve heard about – social media, remarketing, retargeting, and so on.

With a lot of time and effort involved in each trial, it’s to no one’s surprise that explaining the work and the outcomes is key. The best approach to take with each client request – no matter the tactics they want to try – is with three questions to get to the answers that help determine if the trial is something that fits in their bigger strategy while justifying the test.

  • What are the goals?
  • What are the methods best suited to achieve the goals?
  • Does our company have the bandwidth to contribute to the tactics?

That’s it. They seem like simple questions, but why those three?

What are the goals?

A key question that often doesn’t have an answer entirely determined at the start of a conversation, but important nonetheless. Is the goal to drive brand awareness, get a promotion in front of interested audiences, or drive conversions? Whatever the outcome, nearly everyone has an outcome in mind at the start of a conversation and those outcomes are different depending on the person’s role.

The VP of sales wants more deals. The VP of marketing wants more leads. The VP of comms wants more brand awareness. Having everyone at the table to establish goals is vital for long term success.

Now’s the time to share those expectations, to think them through and approach the plan as a team – the more minds centered on solving for the goal – the better the outcomes will be.

What are the methods best suited to achieve the goals?

Once the goals are firmly in mind, beginning to formulate tactics that lead to goal completion is the next step. Let’s say that the goal is “driving more leads through thought leadership”. What are some tactical ways we can achieve the goal? eBooks, whitepapers, a good blogging strategy, speaking, and so forth. Those are the tactical elements of the program.

Now which is best suited tactically given the time and the effort the company can realistically contribute? We’ve stumbled on the key.

Does our company have the bandwidth to contribute to the tactics?

Given the tactical decisions, now it’s time to realistically about what we can achieve with the resources that exist. Do we have the budget we need to do a data-driven test of the tactics? Do we have people who have the time and the mandate to contribute to this effort?

Don’t be fooled. If anyone one piece of this puzzle is missing, then we’re doomed to start. Time, money, effort, methods and goals are all necessary in achieving success.

If we lack the foresight to see what we’re attempting to achieve, we’ll fail.

If choose the wrong tactical elements to drive toward our goals, we’ll fail.

If our bosses are all on board with the ideas behind the program, but not on board with time and effort being contributed to that program with realistic expectations on the length of time it will take to show results, we’ll fail.

So, how do you plan to win?

Chel Wolverton


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