Business moves at a torrid pace. Dynamic customers, volatile business conditions, global markets, needy sales colleagues, feisty competitors – all making our jobs as marketers increasingly more difficult. On top of it all, expectations are high with demonstrable business and customer value a must.
We have to prioritize. A small problem: most marketers are perfectionists, type-A by nature. Every color palette, font size, and word is dissected and debated for days. Everything must be perfect!
It’s 2014 and time for a resolution – we must learn when to let go, prioritize and, most importantly, decide what marketing tasks require good-enough efforts, and what projects need 110% of your and your team’s attention. Few marketers can do it all perfectly and deliver consistently.
This is a bit my own therapy. I’m sharing the efforts I’ve seen work to reach ever-increasing marketing goals, deadlines and commitments. A few thoughtful words of wisdom to pass on, earned the hard way!
Where to innovate. Where to iterate. And where to imitate.
Whether on the back of a napkin or on a shared Google Doc, this is approach will help you organize, prioritize and lay out your initiatives and projects, both for yourself and across your team. It also helps get buy-in from your board, executive team and colleagues on priorities and identify the key elements that move the mark.
The chart below illustrates some ways I’ve traditionally organized and prioritized various projects along the scale from good enough to awesome/mind blowing:
When the time calls for innovation, strive to create kick-ass content, experiences, deliverables and processes. For less-important projects, iterate by repurposing your best work and reinforcing your message. Imitation is the rinse-and-repeat mode in which good-enough efforts are sufficient because you’ve already laid such a solid foundation.
I’m not advocating damaging your brand or reputation by putting out shoddy work. But, the world hasn’t stopped because the caption on that white paper wasn’t perfectly aligned or because the website’s News page was a bit outdated. Stop and think: How many people and how many rounds of reviews until the project hits diminishing returns? Are we burning precious resources and time for incremental advancement? Re-thinking your standards regarding what and where to apply good-enough marketing to get the desired outcome will free up time and resources to nail the game-changing initiatives.
The 67-33 RULE.
Put 67% of your resources in the 33% of the initiatives that will move the mark for your business, revenue and customers. You can jump start this re-focus during your budgeting and planning process or use this formula on an everyday or project basis.
An increasingly popular application of the 67-33 RULE is aimed at customer acquisition strategy. For example, if growing customers is a top 3 initiative (33 x 3 = 99% – close enough to 100% J), put your main effort on mastering engaging content, your processes for discovering and converting a prospect to a customer, and automating non-essential tasks for scale. Apply good-enough marketing for the rest. Identifying your top priorities and then delivering high-impact, innovative work will create better overall outcomes.
Kick-ass marketing matters more than ever. However, if we give equal energy to every marketing project and initiative, we are doomed for mediocrity. And that’s a fate I can do without.