"Begin at the beginning," the King said, very gravely, "and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” –Alice in Wonderland
It should be a no-brainer. If you do something right the first time, you’re much less likely to have to double back or start all over. But what if you simply don’t know how, or even where, to start?
There is a lot of hype around mobile and social marketing. Nearly every day, marketers hear about, talk about or read about the importance of mobile and social as part of an effective marketing mix. But how and where to get started still remain open questions for many of today’s marketers—a problem I addressed in great detail earlier this month in my session on mobile and social marketing at the CMO Club Summit in San Francisco.
No matter the industry, the bottom line is this: we live in the age of the customer. And in today’s marketplace, providing a seamless customer experience is a necessity, not an option.
From the age of manufacturing (1900-1960) to the age of information (1990-2010) and into today’s age of the customer (2010 and beyond), an accompanying transition has happened in the C-suite. Successful companies have witnessed the transition of customer experience “ownership” from the COO to the CIO to the CMO. Today’s CIOs are learning that the customer experience is “non negotiable” and CMOs are dominating IT spend within many organizations in an attempt to leverage “Big Data” to effectively speak to customers in a personalized and meaningful way across emerging digital channels and pre-existing channels.
But to develop a truly cohesive social and mobile marketing strategy, companies need to go back to the basics by aligning with key business objectives and gaining internal buy in from the onset.
Unquestionably, hindsight is 20/20, and we can learn from others’ mistakes. But when it comes to planning a full strategy, basing your mobile and social marketing program on the negative space around what not to do, is akin to trying to draw an original work of art based on a reflection in the mirror. Almost impossible to do, and likely your Mona Lisa ends up looking a lot like the Cheshire Cat. So while yes, you can listen to the advice from the many who have started and failed, why not bring it back to the basic business objectives of your organization to achieve success the first time around?
To get you started, here are the key steps to obtain internal buy in:
- Find internal stakeholders who are engaged: Make sure that the partners and teams you’re working with internally are as invested as you and your team. One huge roadblock to the success of many social and mobile efforts is leadership who “give lip service” to, but who are not fully vested in the success of the overall strategy.
- Be clear on objectives and success metrics: It’s great to have creative campaigns and strategies, and to predict huge business benefits from implementation. But be careful that you don’t get stuck in the weeds with all tactics and no metrics. Before you ever launch your mobile and social efforts, you should have a clearly defined roadmap of what you want to achieve, how you want to achieve it, and what metrics you’ll use to ensure you’re staying on track toward your end goal. From the onset, build that roadmap to correspond to the specific business objectives of your company. It won’t do you any good to have a wildly successful campaign, if it has nothing to do with helping to achieve your company’s goals.
- Use small wins to prove benefit, build momentum and drive internal demand: By having usable metrics firmly in place before beginning, you can use small wins to justify expanding or fully rolling out your program. And you’re far more likely to keep that initial buy in and obtain additional funding or support along the way if you can show with hard numbers that your efforts are working. I know we all tire of hearing it, but keep in mind; this is a marathon, not a sprint. All of the showy tactics in the world won’t matter, if you don’t have longevity on your side.
- Use basic ROI analysis: It’s common sense. You set your metrics, you tracked your impact, now make sure you’re analyzing it and demonstrating ROI. By collecting and analyzing the impact of your efforts from start to finish and at pre-determined set points along the way, you are enabling your team, and more importantly, your leadership and investors, to see what you did, how you did it, and what the broader business impact was. It also gives you a springboard to identify areas for improvement, and to project future strategies and ROI.
It all comes down to this: in today’s world of at-your-finger tips social and mobile technology, the customer is king for businesses that want to stay in business. It’s up to us in the marketing department to ensure the right message is getting out, at the right time, and to the right person.
But like Alice, lost in Wonderland, without careful strategizing, observation, and ways to show where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’d like to be, we will be stuck in the rabbit hole, running aimlessly through the maze, while the white rabbit of our competition scampers ahead, just out of reach.