In a recent meeting with a potential client, they asked me “how long will it take for us to start running a campaign?” At first, I wasn’t really sure I understood the question. After thinking about it for a few seconds, I realized the client didn’t understand what they asked either. Giving a timeline at that point was way too premature, however, I needed to give an estimation based on my experience. I originally said three months, using the usual standard rule of setting a later date, so you can deliver early.
I then started to backtrack, so they would understand where this schedule came from and explained what I needed to do to give them a more accurate timeline. These are the 3 things that I needed from them before we could get started.
- Share all the information you have about the product
- What is the overall growth strategy for the coming years?
- Getting on the same page takes patience and learning
Sharing is Caring
First and foremost, I needed information. What I have found over the years of creating marketing strategies, is that most companies don’t share all the information they have about their company online. There is usually a good chunk of product information that hasn’t been shared with the public. Not because they are hiding something, they usually don’t see value in sharing this information or they haven’t figured out how to make it relevant for the average reader.
So when the agency asks for information make sure you share as much information as possible. Share information about the company culture, the drive of the company, ideas you scrapped or didn’t like, or even the ones that didn’t work. The more information an agency gets the more likely they will be able to deliver high-quality services.
It also means access to the data they collected from Google analytics, their CRM, past and current campaign results, and of course social media.
This step is important for us to learn about the company, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Secondly, this usually becomes a chicken and an egg situation, is knowing what type of growth are you looking to achieve? Not with marketing or branding campaigns, rather what is the overall growth strategy for the coming years. This can cause serious problems in developing the marketing strategy if the company doesn’t know where they are going. It will also put undue strain on the marketing team to figure it out for the company.
The most important part of any campaign is making sure our goals align with the company’s sales goals. Companies need to understand what share of the market they have, what potential growth they can have in the first 5 years, so we can position them properly. Before, during, and after a campaign, we measure the results based on these goals.
For example, there is a huge difference in setting up a campaign that is trying to target one or two new clients compared to a campaign that needs to bring in 100s of new clients. The whole strategy from channel, message and budget will be completely different.
Once we understand the direction of the company, we need to look at who is the target audience. This is the task of developing your target persona. This is crucial when setting up a campaign. This helps us define personal characteristics as well as geography, competition, and where they are hanging out online. Not to mention we often get many new keywords to target from this exercise.
The Third Perspective
Lastly, is getting on the same page. When you have a group of insulated people working on a project, as an outsider, you can’t expect us to be on the same page after one meeting. Your employees are immersed in their product and what they think can be the potential direction. For an outsider to succeed in creating a strategy and building a brand that your customer base can relate to, it’s going to take time.
This is the main reason why sharing as much information and understanding the growth potential of the company is so crucial, if you want an outsider to get on the same page, we need it all.
An outside perspective can look at all this data and analyze it only to come out with a totally different understanding…and that’s ok. We can look at a failed idea or an idea that you don’t like and revitalize and tweak it so it can work for you. Many ideas are just one or two changes away from being exactly what you need.
Just because it didn’t work for an employee, doesn’t mean it won’t work for an outsider.
The key to getting on the same page is patience and learning. Any founder of a startup can attest to the struggles of explaining their product and people just not getting in the first, second, or even third time, you tried. Talented marketing or branding professionals will have a slew of questions they will ask you to get to know you and your product better. Some of them may seem unusual, however, they have a purpose in getting to the core messages and identity of the company.
So, if you’re planning on bringing in outsiders to develop your marketing or brand strategy these tips will make the external group feel part of the team. Most importantly, these will get us to reach your target goals for growth.
Are you ready to take the next step?