Marketing ROI can be elusive. The results we intend to reap in a marketing effort are often dependent upon multiple players’ synergies. The mis-match in intentions and marketing results is typically due to lack of strategic context, clear prioritization, and/or blinders.
- Strategic Context: Sometimes best intentions are not adequately aligned with a strategic outcome. If a marketing effort isn’t resonating strategically with those you rely on, there are sure to be some mis-steps. Without meaningful context, people get lost in the weeds, so to speak. Those we think are working toward a common goal may not have truly come to an agreement.
- Clear Prioritization: We’re all moving at a hectic pace, juggling many things. It can be tough to distinguish between what’s urgent and what’s important, as Stephen Covey points out in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Without clarification and prioritization, those we’re relying upon may not have a clear view of where they’re at in achieving a success.
- Blinders: When we’re put in a situation where we need to act like we know, it can cause us to not realize what we don’t know. As a coping mechanism, we may resist humility and sensitivity needed to help ourselves and others – and get help as needed — to navigate our dynamic environment. Our comfort zone has historically tended toward a static environment where we feel a high sense of control, but things are now more dynamic and less predictable than ever.
First, let’s be clear about the definition of intentions. An intended outcome is a result that has staying power. It’s not just a number or a tool or activity. It’s a result — or a stepping stone toward a result — that has geometric force behind it, for sustained benefits.
To zero-in on consistently achieving intended marketing results, patience and preparation are the watchwords. Patience is needed to develop shared vision and preparation is needed to develop contingencies.
- Shared Vision: Take the time to go through a shared vision process rather than expect leaders at the top to forge the path without wisdom of the team. And equally important, invest in a shared vision process rather than expect your team to gain the vision by osmosis. We need to consistently define the exact outcome we’re looking for, in SMART goal terms: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
- Contingencies: In our dynamic world, it pays to anticipate changes, and to plan for in-situ learning and flexibility as your team moves toward the goal. The path to get there may end up looking different than you originally thought. Teach people how to be more flexible in the moment, and give them the freedom to put aside their usual ways of thinking and expand the possibilities as they deploy their talents.
Empowering others to co-deliver is the essence of consistently achieving intended marketing results.
- Lead with Trust: Too often we act like we’re suspicious of others to do what they say they’re going to do. This leads to micromanaging, which disempowers people from putting all they have toward making the needed contribution. To lead with trust we must have high self-confidence and respect for personal responsibility, to manage people in a way that they can be most effective and still be held accountable.
- Nurture Growth: Help people increase their capabilities and ways of thinking. Your team will achieve better results when they’re energized by career-enhancing opportunities and team diversity.
- Results Oriented: Some of us may be too process-oriented, or otherwise, too action-oriented – and in either case, miss our intended outcomes. And sometimes we find ourselves setting task goals or individual goals – which imply potential finger-pointing rather than trust-building. A focus on the intended outcome frees up people’s creativity about the how they can best achieve shared goals.
A few ideas for reaping intended marketing results as a new habit:
- Learn how to conduct a shared vision process that sets strategic context and priorities
- Learn how to identify what you don’t know, so you and others can grow in success
- Get out of the weeds to define your intended outcome (a geometric force)
- Put trust in people & processes
- Measure the right things the right way