Before Connected even begin work we need to get a good understanding of how your business operates now. We adopted a simple 4 step process. We like it simple, folks can understand it whilst it shies away from technical / marketing / operational phraseology.
As customers are the lifeblood of all organisations, how we recruit, close, retain and re-activate them is almost the sole measure of business success. Mostly.
This is a journey that every customer travels along with varying levels of interest/desire interspersed with events (we call them touches) that pull the customer closer or push them away from the organisation.
Understanding this journey gives great insight. Easy wins can be implemented by optimising, removing bad practice and replacing it with high quality stuff.
Simple idea but we need to start somewhere, this is our framework … and yes, we resisted the temptation to call it PROD!
All sales & marketing processes leak value, this is termed the conversion rate and to understand where we are starting from we need these benchmarks.
- Marketing spend and return, split by channel (i.e. PPC, natural, banner, PR, TV, radio, social etc)
- Current touch plan; what happens where and when and by who
- The losses at each touch point, what percentage of customers are leaving the funnel
- The cost of driving customers along the funnel, both in terms of major cost moments and a more general per time-unit
Finally, it’s ideal if we can see this data changing over a period of time to predict trends. Businesses do vary but the same broad starting point is required in every case. Typically, this sensitive information would require an NDA and some digging around to get accurate information.
Broken is two sections; Connected will analyse the current performance and by comparing this against industry figures the weaker areas can be isolated and dismantled for further inspection. The second half of of this stage involves an in-depth look at the marketplace, competitors and customer groups alike.
The output of this is a prioritised list of problem areas, highlighting in some depth what the issue are and why they exist. This is not the time for off-the-shelf solutions; this is time to step back from the problem areas and in a workshop environment hack through various options and ideas on how to deal with the problem. You’ll be surprised by the number of numbers that can simply be side-stepped by applying innovation.
Building of a key document covering all the major issues with outline solutions. The purpose it to get stakeholder understanding and buy-in for a solution. This intermediate stage give the process massive agility as making changes is embraced and not to be feared. This cycle may contain a prototype phase, whereby elements are evaluated in a real environment and tested for efficacy.
Theoretically, you could stay at this stage for the life of the project – spawning working prototype that slide into production using a Kaizen methodology of continuous improvement. This would maintain agility but also can suffer from big-picture blindness when focus become too intense on just a handful of areas.
For organisations employing a waterfall delivery methodology the final stage is a full scope for the chosen areas, usually with an outline delivery plan. This is used then as the basis of parcelling work up, recruiting suppliers and briefing project teams. At this point the original stakeholders will take a step back, handing over operational delivery to the designated project manager.
The agile organisation has more choice. The project teams need empowerment as chunks of output are delivered in quick succesion based on a time-clock rather than a feature list. Stakeholders must also stay close by, ensuring what is delivered meets the core aims of the business.
Rinse and repeat
Working down and re-working the list keeps the organisation ahead of the game, lean and quick to identify new issues. Unlike the Forth Road Bridge, work here is never done. Good practice says we start the process again, from the top, usually with fresh eyes.
Since the early days of the Internet we’ve crafted innovative and winning strategies whilst adhering to a Keep It Simple mantra. Keeping it simple cuts through the marketing bulls**t, keeps the cost manageable and builds consensus.
Customers range from startups to 1/2bn enterprises. The price? From around £3k gets you through the first 3 steps, subsequent steps and iteration depend on resourcing, project management and delivery.