Looking for Marketing Success? Make Time for Process

Everything used to be so difficult. I’ve been doing this long enough to remember when launching an email and hosting a web site was overly complicated.
Times have changed. An ever increasing list of technology options have made the world a more efficient place. The thing is, they’re only valuable when marketers take advantage of them.
I had a conversation recently with a marketer who was preparing to launch a new site. There were some behaviors on the site they weren’t quite sure about. I suggested using Google Optimize to A/B test variants and learn what works best. My suggestion was rebuffed; there wasn’t enough time to do an A/B test.

Success Takes Time

multiple clocks on a wall
Marketers strive to do everything right to raise the likelihood of their success. They build the robust technology stacks that are so critical to effective marketing. They push their agencies to step up their creative game so their strategies deliver positive results. They hire the people with great skills who they can mold into leaders. They get it all right… except for the process.
All things being the same, process is the secret sauce behind great marketing teams. Too many teams run, under the gun, to get campaigns to market just in time for some hard stop date. In doing so, they leave little time for the important process extras that contribute to marketing leaders’ (vs laggards) success.
The truth is, success takes time. Activities like A/B testing, proper site tracking and analysis, and usability testing will slow you down. They require planning that is too frequently skipped. They may even hit your budget. The thing is, the extras can also pay dividends. Planning around the extras and adding them to your process gives you a competitive advantage.

Nudging towards Success

So, how do you get it right? That’s the magic question. The magic answer is, you have to start planning for the success you want. That means:
  1. Start small – People don’t change overnight. You have to slowly nudge the ship towards success. Choose a subset of your team or a particular product you can use to begin testing these changes.
  2. Identify new activities – Identify three new activities you will add to your process. This requires some research but perhaps you’ll commit to A/B testing a particular call-to-action, using Analytics goals and building in time to update campaign based on measurement. It doesn’t have to be these items but if you’re reading this, there are three changes you can make.
  3. Take a step back and breathe — Your team has to come up for air. You need enough room to be able to build these extras into your plan. That may mean working more closely with other departments whose decisions impact your team. Alternately, it could mean finding time by using resources differently. How you get the breath is less important than taking the breath. This is a reset to prepare for a change in behavior.
  4. Plan and do — This one is pretty simple. Accommodate for the changes in your process and get going.
The most powerful changes are ones that add an experimental approach to your process. They lead to iterative changes that gradually improve the performance of individual campaigns. Over time, the rising tides of success begin to lift your entire portfolio of campaigns — making the entire effort well worth the investment.