We have been advocating a different line of thinking when working with our clients around standard marketing campaigns and the piloting of new ideas. One of the things we learned from the software development side of our business is that when we are creating a new piece of code or feature, we really only want to build it once and then continue to evolve it. We don’t want each programmer building a different approach to the same problem – it’s simply not effective.
We have been leveraging this process for years in our software development process, and it has allowed our company to continually innovate. We figured we could apply this knowledge to anything, so we started advocating this approach to our clients for their marketing initiatives, campaigns, and pilots.
We call it building “sustainability” into a solution; instead of testing a concept once and seeing if it works, we build an entire system around a concept and a process.
Here’s What Happens
Suppose you’re a large retailer and you want to showcase different products via the web to drive traffic to your store or e-commerce site. After your marketing analysis is complete, you have identified a need for 40-60 landing pages to execute your initial campaign. Your internal web team gives you a two and a half month project timeline and a set budget. You give the green light, and three months later you’re ready to run your campaigns.
Overall, the campaign is a hit, but you learn some valuable lessons. You want to take your lessons learned and work with another set of products and vendors. But now you have to start from scratch again. You still need the three months of development time for your next set of landing pages, plus you want to try a few additional features. While this campaign might have a decent ROI, you have not built a sustainable campaign that can evolve.
Here’s What Should Happen
Instead of asking the web team to create 40-60 custom-designed pages, you could look toward implementing a content management system that would utilize a series of customizable templates. The system could include built in metrics to track the campaigns and report back instantaneous results, letting your marketing team quickly identify areas for improvement.
On completion of your successful campaign, you would be in a position to start the next campaign immediately versus starting the cycle back from the beginning. Any changes to the templates would be simpler and faster through the content management system, and future dollars could be applied to improving the tool and adding new features, allowing your campaigns to advance.
A sustainable solution takes longer at the start, of course. You are looking at a significantly longer initial timeline and a 30-40% increase in budget, but this is made back quickly in future phases of your site, and you now have an evolving campaign that will allow you to react quicker to the market and outmaneuver your competition.
Big Dreamers Only, Please
The key to these projects is having enough contextual data to know that youcould create a “sustainable pilot” around a specific idea or campaign. We don’t advocate spending the extra time and budget on a risky proposition unless the budget is low in relation to the reward or in relation to your entire budget. Sustainable solutions are the only way for large, continuously changing businesses to stay competitive online – no Prius needed.