In large organizations, marketers can end up on their own islands. You might call it a “silo” instead, but the basic concept is the same: marketing ends up in its own corner executing plans and hoping that other teams will jump on board when the time comes.
This process of developing on our own leads to the death knell of many well-intentioned projects.
Marketers need the chance to get buy-in from other teams as quickly as possible with little risk to other teams. They’re busy. They have deadlines but they have to hit, too.
Not only do we need to limit risk, but we also need to have a compelling reason for another team to be willing to take a chance on our idea. Simply put, what’s in it for them?
Can they be the first sales team to demonstrate a new value add to the customer? This would help the sales team’s clients feel like they’re on the cutting edge of what your company has to offer.
If you have education materials that need to get out to HCPs or to consumers directly, can you work with key internal stakeholders so they get a chance to help shape the conversation?
The point here is that your success needs to be their success. The other teams that are taking a chance will also get to look good, and you’ll have a stronger product due to the collaboration.
The Pilot Program
Everyone loves a pilot program. Like a TV network testing out a brand new show, you get the opportunity to try out your idea with a fixed budget to see if it’s going to work or not.
The engagement has a clear ending point, and your key objectives and measurements must be abundantly clear from the get-go. You may learn that there are other benefits than what you set out to measure, but you will be on the lookout for that on your own. In order to get the initial pilot launched, you need to know exactly what you can show off to the rest of your company.
This sounds a lot like a minimum viable product, but it doesn’t have to be software or product related. You’re testing your marketing ideas to see if they will get people to interact with a product or software.
As a part of your pilot program, you can even talk about the risks you run and the company runs by trying this campaign. The only risk might be wasted advertising spend, but you can go ahead and be transparent here. This allows other stakeholders to see what can happen if the campaign goes bigger. One pilot program doesn’t prove how the campaign will always work in every market, in every situation.
This helps the naysayers know you’ve thought through their concerns. You’re demonstrating awareness as to what other people are feeling, which is critical, even in a data-driven organization or industry.
When you have a pilot program that does succeed, everyone will have the chance to see how you overcame those risks. They will feel more confident in what you’ve accomplished and how it can further benefit the company.
Report the Hell out of Your Success
If there’s one thing that my boss had said to me, it’s the following framework. (Scott’s definitely a sales guy — former stints selling hips & knees for some of the big companies out there.)
If I’m honest, I don’t really enjoy numbers two and three in the process, but I have seen how effective they are in reassuring stakeholders and in creating additional opportunities. As marketers, we tend to go into hiding (at least I used to… maybe it’s just me) when the campaign is in full swing. We want to wait until we have something positive to be able to before we go back to the client / the stakeholder.
But keeping the stakeholder in the loop the entire time helps the stakeholder become a part of the process. They get to see where the wins occur and understand the setbacks more. They may even see the ways that your secondary results became more important than the primary ones you were attempting to measure.
When you do have that story of what happened in the campaign, then it is time to shout it from the rafters. Not only are you trying to say how well you did, you are also attempting to get buy-in for the next phase of your campaign.
A simple report with a few bullet points isn’t going to be enough.
Show the numbers. Be honest with the data you have.
Ok, a quick sidenote…
When you’re pitching discounts on consumer products, the “Rule of 100” is a great idea. Jonah Berger talked about this in his book Contagious.
If the product’s price is less than $100, the Rule of 100 says the percentage discounts will seem larger. For a $30 T-shirt or a $15 entree, even a $3 discount is still a relatively large number. But percentagewise (10 percent or 20 percent), that same discount looks much bigger.
When you’re talking about how well a campaign did (a 20 percent increase!), include the actual numbers–especially in data-driven industries. A 20 percent increase on 10 visitors isn’t all that great, and we can be honest about that.
After all your (honest) reporting is done, be sure to give your stakeholders a few key soundbytes to be able to share more widely. Make the process easy for your would-be advocates to champion your cause.
If you’re looking for another way to get off the island and engage other teams in your organization, check out this recent post: The Interview Method: Getting Your Teams to Use Internal Resources.
Michael spends a great deal of time with the healthcare industry both professionally and personally, which gives him the perspective of what stakeholders on either side of the care equation need.
He began coding in 2008 and subsequently shifted his attention entirely to online marketing. Michael completed his MBA in 2018, focusing on the intersection of healthcare and marketing.