All Revenue Projects Get Results–It’s the Unintended Ones that Throw Us!

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“Create social media campaigns that get results.” Which kind of results, I wonder—good results, or bad?

Semantic fuzziness—the literary equivalent of white noise. There’s too much of it in marketing hype. Results are not always ones people want. Still, many companies pedal their wares using these sweeping, but utterly hollow proclamations.

“We wasted our money!” That’s a result. Not a good one, obviously, but a result. So are backfires–results that are both unintended, and highly negative. Singer Mary J. Blige promoting Burger King’s chicken strips. #McDStories. Lance Armstrong, celebrity spokesperson. Oops. Results!—be careful what you wish for.

Best to always ask your vendors and your project team, “exactly which results should we expect?” Assuming they’re ones you want, follow with “how will we ensure those results are achieved?”

The answer should include:

Problem definition. As inventor Charles Kettering said, “a problem well stated is a problem half solved.” Many campaign failures result from a poor definition of the problem to be solved—or no definition at all.

Planning. Include realistic expectations, thorough risk analysis, and scenario building for what to do if the project results veer into the negative. And as Burger King’s CMO will now tell you, bring plenty of empathy for your prospects and customers to your planning meetings.

Testing. Before a campaign goes live, soliciting customer and employee input reduces risk.

Proper execution. Guard against scope creep, and gold plating–adding capabilities “because we can.”

Using the right metrics. Too many controls can be just as stifling as insufficient controls.

Governance. Every business development project must align with corporate strategy and comply with high ethical standards throughout the life of the project.

Learning. As Ogden Nash said, “At last I’ve found the secret that guarantees success. To err, and err, and err again, but less, and less, and less.”

We’re surrounded by unintended project consequences—some bad, some good. Bluetooth technology and Viagra,* respectively, come to mind. The first key: don’t just ask for results. Know the results you want, and how to get them. Then, know what to do if something else happens.

* Note: Through bluetooth, identity thieves (and governments) can eavesdrop on voice and data traffic to and from mobile devices; Viagra was originally developed to treat heart ailments and high blood pressure.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

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