Friday, January 12, 2007

Continual Improvement

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In today’s fast paced world of content hungry intelligent consumers who have seen every marketing gimmick out there it is becoming increasingly difficult to successfully sell your products and services. Marketers need to constantly innovate and connect with their customers on deeper levels across the entire relationship of consumer to company. A long term approach to marketing communication is the key to achieving this. Usually when the marketing message begins to slip, if a company is even lucky enough to keep a tight view on analytics long enough to determine it has slipped that is, the first reaction is always the same, “Let’s get a new agency, we need some fresh blood.” This knee jerk reaction is based on the idea, at least subconsciously that success happens in creative sprits thus it must be time to find new creative to put some new life into marketing.

Success however doesn’t work this way. Success is more of a series of continual improvements over time rather than a short sprint.

Jim Sterne – wrote in his book, Advanced Email Marketing:

“The secret to truly successful marketing is actionable measurement. Measuring your results alone isn’t enough; the key is feeding them back into your sales and marketing process to make continuous improvements. Many marketing projects fail in this regard.”

This is the basis for the continual improvement process which makes small improvements overtime, learning from each success and failure with each improvement. These small and consistent improvements in design, ad copy and web usability have a much larger impact than wiping the slate clean and starting with a fresh agency.

The first step in the practice of implementing a continual improvement process if to define your business goals, which was discussed in another blog post. Once a clear definition of success has been squared away you will need to be able to know what your current situation is in the form of measurable metrics by defining what key performance indicators are important to your unique business goals. Your key performance indicators need to be constantly measured so that your current conditions can be compared against your desired results. Without knowing the distance of this gap there’s no way of knowing how far design will need to jump to get you to the other side.

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