Before you decide to present your next great idea to market or push your company on the Internet, you can probably expect your boss is going to be measuring your plans against some high-level but very critical criteria. If you don’t know in advance what these factors are, the campaign is likely to go in the circular file before your 15 minutes of spotlight time are up. So it’s important to know what is going to make your boss or supervisor respond favourably.
Here are 5 things any good supervisor is definitely going to be looking for, and marketers in the trenches need to remember not to take criticism personally. In most cases, your boss is immediately thinking in terms of the company or organization at the first sight of your proposal. No surprise then, your own digital marketing criteria should follow a parallel of logic:
There’s no end of fanciful ideas marketing assistants can come up with, but that doesn’t mean any one of them will see the light of day. One of the key roles of a marketing manager is to find and maintain efficiencies in operations while pushing productivity as high as reasonably possible. That also means avoiding distractions and energy-sucks that don’t produce big results. So any digital marketing proposal needs to be able to show how your idea can and will produce a measurable benefit (i.e. why it’s worth the risk).
A manager is going to look for both proof of requisite research as well as concise proposal delivery or pitch. If it’s a proposal, your idea should be carefully thought through, have the research summarized for a quick read, and you should be able to anticipate your manager’s questions with ready answers and recommendations. Your job is to prove viability, not just spotlight your creativity, so be the first to find the holes in your own plan. If a manager detects guesswork or substantial missing information, even a great idea will never get off the tarmac .
There is more than likely an existing digital marketing strategy already in place for your company or organization. The question the manager has will be what your new idea adds to or how it leverages the existing plan. Again, prior research and analysis before proposing matters a lot. If an idea runs counter to an existing strategy, it will likely need much stronger analysis and additional support to convince management to get behind the change.
What is often overlooked by marketing staff (especially, but not always juniors) is that a supervisor becomes accountable for an idea as soon as he or she supports it. It’s no longer a staff-level idea. That means the argument has to be strong enough for your supervisor to see the viability and logic pretty much immediately. Adaptations of what is proven to work and enhancement proposals often see less resistance than plans for outright change, regardless of how brilliant the guiding inspiration may be.
The best marketing ideas are often built out of gut eureka moments, gut feelings and common sense, but when it comes to an important decision, managers want to see clear, convincing and quantified data supporting the proposal. That means your digital marketing idea is going to need homework behind it that demonstrate objective metrics that support performing the test or new prototype activity. If you're proposing an inbound marketing plan, for example, common measurements like return on investment (ROI), the necessary startup and maintenance costs, projected financial impacts or pro forma sheets and similar need to be included. Successful proposals come with multiple alternatives to choose from even if one choice is the primary recommendation.
It’s important to be extremely clear on who the digital marketing target is for any new campaign. Don’t use a generic, identity-lacking target that attempts to capture all your prospective customers in a single net. Be detailed and specific. This information comes from prior marketing and demographic research and metrics on existing customers . Buyer personas are fictional characterizations of your ideal customers, flushed out to the point of understanding the needs, fears, desires and pain points of each one. The marketing plan should be directly tied to the specific buyer persona target, its benefits for that target, and how that translates into the company’s goals being realized (i.e. the conversion path for each persona you target). Don’t leave any part ambiguous.
Every good idea, whether it’s digital marketing or traditional marketing, should have pre-established benchmarks for success measurement after the fact and a feedback loop. A good manager will expect ongoing updates that the campaign is staying on track. A personal opinion or loose anecdotal assessment won’t qualify. Focus on objective metrics that are hard to dispute if everyone agrees on the methodology of the measurement to be applied. It’s amazingn how perspective can change, and each player will have a different perspective. By inclding clear metrics from the start, you can be sure everyone will agree upon whether or not the campaign was actually a success at completion. Any digital marketing idea without a clear measurement plan is not ready for prime time.
One of the most amazing advantages with digital marketing is that it can be easy to know what is working, and to tweak for top performance. Marketing managers are expected by their own bosses to make the most of every dollar, and to minimize risks while doing amazing things. Pay attention to these capabilities and needs, and your next proposal is more likely to gather the support and backing required to reveal its brilliance to the world.
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Laurier Mandin is president of Graphos, the Edmonton web design company, branding consultancy and digital marketing agency he founded in 1993.
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