Many of our clients require a bit of re-education when we onboard them. They're used to working with their marketing vendors like they shop for groceries. They want to itemize, price and checkout. We've done marketing projects in the past and we really shy away from them now. Unless we can price a project to accomodate several iterations, we typically walk away from the deal. We, instead, work with our clients on an ongoing basis to create marketing processes.
The problem is that marketing implementations are very, very different. You're not buying a server, you're molding a strategy based on resources and outcomes. Marketing is a ready, fire, aim strategy. In order to get an understanding of the impact of the marketing project, you have to execute and begin seeing the results. I don't care of that's a site redesign, an email marketing program, or it's just an infographic design.
As an example, when we design infographics, we propose a design with an actual draft to show the client the art work and layout. If they love it, we then go through several iterations with the content to ensure it's telling the right message. Only when we have a full acceptance and our facts are verified and documented do we release the infographic. We also don't slam it across every website… we'll launch locally, ensure we have a means to measure the impact, watch the results, and then start promoting it. Ready, fire, aim.
When we work with a client on their search engine optimization, we would never ask them to sign a contract for specific keywords. We optimize the platform and content (ready), then we execute the strategy by launching the site (fire), and then we observe how the site is indexed and which keywords are converting best… and we re-optimize for them (aim).
We love target dates, but see them come and go with virtually every client. Most clients recognize that additional changes and adjustments will occur so the target date is not a finish line, it's more of a pace. Some clients, though, like to press the date… while they aren't on time with resources or they ask for additional changes… OR the market changes and the campaign requires some redesign. Still other clients succumb to the ‘ol “Let's beat the crap out of the vendor to try to squeeze more money out of this relationship”… we have learned to fire those clients.
The key to successfully developing a good marketing process is to be agile and to move as quickly as possible. Ready, fire, aim. Ready, fire, aim. Ready, fire, aim. Recognize that all the pieces are moving and it requires a delicate balance to get a marketing strategy that wins. If you develop a strategy from front to back, invest all your time and money in it, without being able to adjust the output when things are in the wrong direct.