21 May 2013

FOR AGENCIES, 2 Key Steps to Creating a Shared Language of Success

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Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language? If so, you know that much of your time is spent trying to find shared terms or gestures that can be understood by both parties. Does pointing down the road mean that’s where you’re going, or that’s where you came from? Without a shared language, it can be hard to tell.

Marketing agencies face a similar challenge. Increasingly, successful client engagements depend on achieving goals that are clearly understood and agreed upon by both parties. Chances of success improve when goals are specific and measurable. Developing such goals requires a shared language, and embedding research into client engagements can provide that language.

Step 1:  Use Research and Analytics to Set Specific Goals – Clients often have a clear sense of their problem – sales aren’t growing as fast as they’d like, for example – but they may not have determined the root cause. Is sales growth slow due to lack of awareness of the offering, or is some other obstacle in the way? Without understanding the cause, it’s easy to throw good marketing dollars after bad. Money spent on raising awareness may do little to spur sales if the brand is misaligned with the needs of the target customer, or if the target customer feels no compelling reason to investigate your offerings. Research can narrow down the potential causes of your client’s challenge, allowing you to set clear goals to address it, and giving you a shared “language of success.”

Step 2:  Measure Progress – Once you’ve arrived at a shared language of success, your marketing plan can target the specific goals. Research can once again help in assessing progress against those goals. Research can provide benchmarks to start from – for example, establishing the current level of customers’ awareness and usage of your product or identifying a barrier to trial or repeat purchase – and a measurement plan for gauging changes in these metrics. This kind of measurement provides a very clear focus for your marketing plan, and a very straightforward path to success to your client.

So when you’re starting out in a new engagement, make sure you and your client are speaking the same language. Research and analytics can help with the translation.

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