Sunday, 1 March 2015

We have Moved!

After several years of publishing this Blog on the Blogger platform, I have now migrated it to my new Purple Salix website.

All these articles have been replicated there - but now they look better! And there will be lots of additional content appearing there soon.

I hope you will continue reading at our new site.

Please check it out

Friday, 16 January 2015

Deploying Marketing Automation - Beyond the Pilot

For most of my clients who are looking to integrate Automation into their marketing, at some point the question surfaces about what should be the best deployment strategy. Typical areas for discussion are

  • How do I make a noticeable difference to our performance without reaching full deployment?
  • Should I deploy using in-house resources or using partners?
  • How should I phase the deployment of functionality?
  • How should I phase the geographic deployment?
I've seen, lead and advised on a number of Marketing Automation projects I have a few observations to make: If you are involved in the deployment decisions around Marketing Automation, here are a few things to consider. 

This is not a pilot - it's Phase One

There's no going back on Marketing Transformation. That would imply that you could try being more responsive and relevant to your customers and prospects, but that you could go back to your old ways if it doesn't work out. That's clearly non-sensical. Even if you screw up the whole thing you'll have to keep transforming until you build something better!

So if we accept that, our objective is not to execute a pilot. Our ultimate goal is, of course, to get the whole marketing function using a redesigned approach (combining people, processes and tools) so that we deliver greater value to the marketplace. We need to keep focussing on that goal while we make our first baby steps.

Of course, it makes sense to initially focus on a relatively small number of people and to exercise only a small subset of the capabilities available. This is Phase One of the plan - and the learnings from this initial phase will help define how best to proceed in subsequent phases. 

Use Quick Wins to buy some time

In this initial phase there is typically lots of interest/inspection from across the organisation, and a desire to see early results. The challenge, however, is that we are unlikely to see significant results in terms of revenue performance for the following reasons
  • Given the length of B2B buying cycles, it will take time for any meaningful financial results to show up.
  • During the first phase you probably don't have enough scale to make an appreciable difference
  • Frequently in the early days we start with taking existing marketing approaches and simply migrating them to a new toolset. So it's unlikely to deliver any incremental value in the eyes of your customers
I would strongly recommend that while your busy architecting your approach to nurturing streams, content strategy and all the other areas of the transformation you keep a parallel focus on tweaking your existing operations using your new Marketing Automation platform. For instance, many companies use different platforms for different channels (e.g. Webinars and email campaigns). By simply leveraging the cross-channel integration capabilities of the MA platform you can almost certainly identify some short term opportunities enhance the customer experience and deliver some improved results - or at least some more integrated insight. 

The Phase Two Balancing Act

Sadly many organisations (particularly at the Executive level, if I'm honest) make the mistake of assuming that the next step after some early successes is simply to take what you've developed and deploy it everywhere. But this is naive.

When we get to the next phase there are two audiences that need to be considered. On the one hand 
the teams that worked with you in the first phase will most likely be impatient to explore increasing levels of sophistication - for example to expand into more sophisticated nurturing approaches. However at the same time as you deploy to new teams you will need to take them on an accelerated version of the steps that you used with your first cohort. There may also be some new requirements to be catered for that weren't part of the first phase.  

So therefor you need to think about how you are going to manage these two audiences at the same time. Even if you dedicate resources to onboarding new users and teams, your initial users are going to want to dive deeper so you will want to consider how much support that needs from you, whether you need to help them to become self sufficient, or to adopt some other approach. I don't thing there's a right or wrong answer here - but thinking about this ahead of time will save you additional grief.

Are we there yet?

Transforming your marketing approach is a never-ending process. It's not for everyone. But helping build the marketing function that you've always aspired to be a part of is an inspiring proposition. f you are leading a project such as this it will take time, energy, passion and agility. And one of your greatest challenges will be managing the expectations and impatience of your bosses. But, from personal experience, I can guarantee it could be the highlight of your career.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

2015 Resolutions - 7 tips to help them stick

Did you make any resolutions this year? You’re going to live a more healthy lifestyle - right? Drink less, exercise more, spend more time with the family? Or perhaps you’re going to be more focussed on your career, or even get a new job?

Well we’re now into the second week of the 2015 so it’s probably appropriate to ask how are you doing with those new resolutions?

But Pete - give me a break, I’ve only just made the resolution - I haven’t achieved it yet!

So I’m sorry to tell you - you probably won’t!

Does that matter? Maybe, or maybe not - depending on your point of view.

Studies show that 25% of us abandon our New Year Resolutions within one week. That’s pretty scary when you think that these resolutions were supposedly about things that really matter - our health, our wealth, our relationships. Furthermore 60% of us abandon our resolutions. And 60% of us have abandoned our resolutions within 6 months. Even more interestingly we “recommit” to the same annual resolutions an average of 10 times.

So how do we increase our chances of actually achieving our resolutions (or Goals to make it sound a little more business-like). Here are some of my thoughts on what works for me:
  1. Write them down. Sounds trivial, but this really is an essential starting point for clarifying what your goals actually are. Psychologically this act creates a degree of commitment to the goals. It also gives us something to refer to later in the year (see point 7).
  2. Get Specific. Lose Weight, get fit - these are far too loose to give yourself a chance of success. Define how much weight and by when. Indeed, is “losing weight” actually the goal or is just a step towards another goal. Applying the statement “so that…” to the goal in order to provide a stronger emotional connection to your Goal. For example, “Lose 2 stone by August 31st so that I can comfortably get into my suit for Fred’s wedding"
  3. Be Unrealistic. This may sound slightly controversial to those of us brought up with the corporate mantra of setting SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timescale), but I think goal-setting is different from objectives setting. My view is that the purpose of goals is to help motivate us to change our behaviours, so it’s as much about the journey as the destination. If we set ourselves easily achievable goals, then there is little motivation for us to do anything differently.
  4. What Next? This is an absolutely critical step. For each of your goals ask yourself “What can I do today to make progress towards this goal”. It doesn’t need a full project plan, but simply completing the next small step or two will give us a sense of forward momentum.
  5. Tell someone. Peer pressure can be a wonderful thing. Once you declare to your friends that you will exercise 3 times a week, then it becomes much more likely that you will. 
  6. Think about Habits as well as Goals. Goals are typically thought of as being outcome based. However perhaps there may also be new habits that you wish to develop - for me it’s things like drinking 2 pints of water first thing every morning, or meditating at the start of every day. Perhaps you may wish to keep a list of these things too - here the challenge is to sustain rather than achieve.
  7. Review your progress and celebrate success. You will increase your chances of success exponentially if you regularly review your list of goals, think about where you’ve made progress and plan your next step on the journey. 
How do you go about increasing the likelihood that you will achieve your goals or resolutions?