The Tech industry, decades ago, created the Agile methodology. In part, they needed this because the client was set apart from the overall work. When keeping the client in the dark, most aspects of the process (wins, blocks, set-downs) were never communicated to the person of interest. As a result, the goals of the team and the ones of the client didn’t match.
In the marketing industry, the same thing happens: the team might create strategies and reach metrics day in and out, but if those are not the ones aligned with the client’s goal, then most of that effort might be a loss.
In this article, we’ll go over:
The importance of choosing the right goals
Vanity metrics vs. performance metrics
Including the client in the team
It’s all About Reaching Those Goals
As a marketing team, once we get a new client, we also get all the expectation and fear they have with the investment in their product. Especially when working with startups: from the idea, the venture capital search or bootstrap founding, all the time and effort the entrepreneur puts on that particular project, once they choose the right marketing partner, other doubts arise.
These are some of the usual conversations we go through:
How can you be sure the investment you’re suggesting will bring back the estimated ROI?
Is anyone calculating that ROI?
My product is ground-breaking, and I want everyone to know about it
My budget is the size of a sailing boat, but my audience requires a Royal Caribbean cruise ship investment
We’ve all been there at one point: as business owners, entrepreneurs, or decision-makers in our companies, we’re no saints in having high expectations and demands. And that is never a bad thing.
Keeping the Foot on the Ground –and the Head in the Clouds
A marketing strategy has to align the goals with the budget. But most significantly, it needs to align goals with expectations.
The strategy document is the compass that will guide each tactic, action, and spend, and it has to include the expected return.
As part of the marketing agency, this is the document we use to negotiate when facing the sailing boat budget but Cruise ship expectations situation. If that negotiation doesn’t go well, we will all be on board the Titanic.
It’s also the document to set clear ROI expectations and measurements.
Because of all that’s been exposed, the goals need to be chosen alongside the client: they know where they want to go, we know how to get them there –and sometimes, negotiation is required to find each other in the middle.
Vanity Metrics vs. Performance Metrics
Numbers don’t lie, but we might get the wrong impression if focusing on the wrong numbers. When talking with Product Managers, they put a lot of emphasis on the right metrics, measuring everything (color-coding and heat maps, but we’ll talk about that in another post).
There’s a reason for that, as the attention can be easily moved away from the right place when caring for the wrong metrics.
Vanity Metrics are the pretty numbers. These numbers don’t necessarily show us what we need to know about the business but look good on paper. An example of these metrics is Social Media followers or Post likes.
We can be easily distracted by the number of followers our competitors have, but that number is not saying anything fundamental about the business: How’s the engagement? How much is customer acquisition? How many active users do they have?
Product Plan wrote down a list to know which ones are Vanity Metrics (SIC.):
It lacks substance
It’s overly simplistic to measure
It skips context
It’s often misleading
It doesn’t help improve the business
According to Product Plan, the other metrics –the ones that hold value– are Actionable metrics. But of course, it always depends on the specific goals.
Actionable or Performance metrics are the ones that drive results: engagement, interaction, time the user spends on the product.
Although Vanity metrics should be considered, the strategy needs to align with the Performance ones.
The client, as Part of the Team
When working closely with the client, the chances of misunderstanding their true objectives with the marketing investment are minimized.
Among the benefits of having the client in the project meetings and as part of the decision-making team are:
They are part of every ticket created, so the client is a witness to the blockers and wins of the team.
By holding periodic meetings, the investment into the marketing department is economical and emotional, so the client gets to understand the actions and the reasons for each action.
There are no reasons to justify the tactics that didn’t work, as the client is manning the fort with the rest of the team so that they can make more insightful decisions.
Align the Goals
As a marketing team working for tech clients, our goal is to drive the product to success. So in more than one way, our goals and the client's ones are the same.
By working closely with the client, we ensure they are involved in the decision process, vetting actions, and understand results because they live with them in every periodical meeting.