Marketing campaigns are started for specific reasons – to target pain points within a business and the opportunities outside of it. Many times, these pain points revolve around lead generation and customer acquisition, often pointed out and targeted by executives within the organization. At the beginning of any new marketing campaign, especially those started under executive directive, it’s often made clear what the expectations for results are and how they connect to the overall pain point. Yet, often times as campaigns progress, activities can begin to stray from their initial goals for success due to ineffective project management. Whether it’s the executive who led the campaign astray or one of their team members, it is ultimately up to them to realign and reset the expectations and stage for success.
It can be easy to get pulled into the weeds and start to focus on items and activities unrelated to your initial goal but you can’t do that if you want to be successful. What exactly makes it so that teams stray off course and how can you ensure courses are corrected and remain so in the future?
What causes marketing campaigns to stray off course?
Poor Executive Understanding and Communication of the Goals & Expectations of Results to Team
When marketing teams (and potentially even their leaders) don’t explicitly know and understand the goals and expectations of results for their marketing campaign, it can be very easy for the wrong activities and results to be targeted and prioritized. As an executive or team leader, do you know exactly why you started this campaign? Is it because you wanted to try out inbound marketing or because you wanted to build a new, organic channel to generate qualified leads for your sales team to convert into customers, ultimately helping your organization grow? Does your team know that? Do they know what the main results are that they should be focusing on above anything else? They should.
How This Happens: An executive goes through the numbers and realizes that marketing needs to be providing more qualified leads to the sales team through digital efforts. She does her research and finds inbound marketing to be the solution. She rolls out the new methodology to her team but fails to connect this new direction with the end goal of generating more qualified leads and ultimately customers from their efforts. Because of this oversight, her team is overwhelmed by the many different directions they can go with content creation and promotion and fail to create campaigns that drive the leads they're looking for.
Urgent and Important Items Aren’t Properly Prioritized Through the Campaign Goals
Even if goals are established and properly shared with the team, campaigns can quickly be thrown off course by urgent and important items thrown at them that aren’t properly measured and prioritized against those goals. While tackling urgent items as they come up is fine and should be done, doing so without considering how they affect your campaign and the other tasks that you’re working on can ultimately make it so that you spend more time in the weeds and less time focusing on the important things connected to your campaign’s goals. Are you and your team planning out your tasks and activities using the campaign goals as your guide? Are there processes in place that are meant to help people decide whether or not something urgent and important given to them can or should be connected to their main goals? Consider implementing these if the answer is no.
How This Happens: A team leader spends the necessary time building out campaign goals and explaining them to the team to get them bought in. At the beginning, everyone knows what success looks like and how they can achieve it. Unfortunately, when they're hit by the whirlwind of day to day organizational requests and needs outside of their campaign activity, things start to get pushed and forgotten. Soon, items that are urgent to other people are being prioritized over the important items connected to the campaign, leading to missed numbers and ineffective activities.
How to not lose sight of your campaign’s main goals
1. Make Your Goals and Expectations of Results Crystal Clear to the Entire Team
As you might have already guessed, making your goals known by everyone connected to the campaign (if not the company) is the first step to ensuring that people don’t lose sight of them. Spend the necessary time building out SMART goals and potentially additional structure around them before then presenting them to your team in a way that makes it crystal clear as to what they are being charged with moving forward.
2. Empower Everyone to “Own” These Goals
Next up is establishing ownership. If your team doesn’t believe they can affect the goals you’ve given them then you’re less likely to see the results you’re looking for. Get everyone’s buy-in and acceptance of these goals (this may mean taking a step back and building your goals with them) before then making it clear that they must filter all ideas and tasks given through these goals in order to maintain expectations.
3. Build a Reporting System Around These Expectations and Goals
Once goals are set and accepted by everyone who can affect them, you now must establish a scoreboard that can be used to view and analyze results compared to goals. Make sure that only the metrics that are connected to your goals are reported on so that unnecessary metrics distract the team. This can be done in the form of a monthly report that or a real-time dashboard, just make sure you focus on the right things.
4. Establish a Cadence of Review
Finally, to ensure that your goals are continually front of mind for everyone on your team and to ensure progress is being made, public reviews of your reporting system must be done. Focus on tracking progress and activity toward the results and hold everyone (even yourself) accountable for successes and failures. This cadence should be done on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) and shouldn’t last longer than 15 minutes.
As you can see, it can be very easy for both executives and their team to lose sight of their campaign’s ultimate goal. Without establishing and maintaining a system of ownership and accountability towards reaching these goals, your marketing campaign is at a much higher risk of failing, no matter if it’s being implemented by an internal team or by an agency. As an executive, you must use the framework laid out above and work with others who understand and appreciate this model to make sure everyone keeps their eye on the ball and ultimately drive the results needed to help your business grow.