Help! Most of us could care less about all the tech jargon. Just give me a Web site that works…right? Well, you have to understand that Web site design and Web hosting are two totally different services. But in order to have a Web site you must first choose a hosting plan. It seems like it should be a simple process. There should be a standard…an easy choice…a perfect fit. Right? Nope. Not really.
I sat in a great session at SXSW 2011 where Intuit talked about how they define the user experience in their software by starting broad and working narrow. They use a very simple question to define user experience decisions, it’s so simple I am ashamed that it took me this long to see it.
Ask yourself this:
Good work is subjective, smart work is successful. Great ideas and beautiful design work are often judged on the backend of the project by clients and creative teams. Where smart work is judged by ROI after the results are in.
Smart work takes time. Time to think through the problem before we ever get to a solution. Sometimes it even takes more creativity to find the problem than it does to come up with solutions. So make sure that you give yourself enough time on the front end of a project to identify the real problem and then concept a smart solution.
Good work looks nice but often solves the wrong problem. Smart work defines the problem, and then delivers a great solution that drives results.
It is inevitable that I end up explaining the evolution of the web several times a week. Whether with clients, prospects, peers, family or friends, the web and social media have hit a point of intersection where advertisers and consumers are now in the same dialog. Even Googling and facebooking are terms my seven year old uses regularly.
In times past, the “mother-in-law test” as I called it (no offense, Grandma C.), was a litmus test to determine how simple an idea was. I would just ask, “Would your mother-in-law get that idea?” If the answer was “No.”, then the concept was either bad or overcomplicated. Well, here is my “mother-in-law test” for the state of marketing on the web today, so tell me if I have passed my own test.
Marketing reporting and performance tracking seems like it would be the foundation for any marketing program. But as we talked with clients, prospects, and attendees at many conferences this fall, we find that with all of the marketing options today, many people stand there like a deer in the headlights when asked how they are tracking results.
Not tracking marketing performance is like being on the PGA Tour and not keeping score. You just can’t compete and win without doing it.
Here is a list of six tools for your consideration. Let me preface by saying we define what tools we will use at the beginning of each campaign and these only represent a few that we leverage most often. Also, not everything is easily tracked in one solution, so we often take reports from various formats and pull up our old-school friend, Microsoft Excel, to build custom dashboards based on the client’s specific data views.
It seems that marketing budgets fall into two camps these days: I cut my budget because why throw good money after bad. Or, I am spending a lot less but I still getting no immediate results. It has been said that we create the worst of habits in the best of times and I think the “good ole’ days” of the early 2000’s have given us a microscope instead of a telescope. What I mean by this is marketing, like wise investing, should be done with the long-term in mind, not the short-term. Placing every marketing decision under a microscope when we know times are tough is like watching your 401k bounce around everyday. In the end, you create a lot of anxiety and are so short-term focused that we often begin to make emotional decisions because we need some instant gratification. And if the dollar did not move the needle in 30 days, then it was a dollar wasted.