Only one hero can save the day: Marketing project management

FADE IN: GENERIC OFFICE CUBICLE — DAY

A man, shopping online for a high-end product.

We see flash cuts between the man’s face—looking increasingly aggravated—and his computer screen, showing dozens of similar Web sites, each one just as friction-inducing as the next. . . . .

marketingexperimentsman.JPG CUE DRAMATIC SCORE, CUE MOVIE TRAILER VOICE-OVER GUY

In a confusing world of online stores all offering hundreds of choices, the lowest prices, and discount delivery, two companies will join forces to optimize a landing page that millions have seen before. . . .

SWITCH TO SUMMER FUN SCORE

This summer, get ready for one of the best landing page tests ever, when MarketingExperiments and their ideal partner team up to increase conversions beyond their wildest dreams. . . .

CUE NEEDLE-BEING-PULLED-OFF-A-RECORD EFFECT

Or not.

CUT TO: OFFICES OF MARKETINGEXPERIMENTS – DAY

FULL SHOT: Director Flint McGlaughlin, backlit by 10 computer screens.

FLINT: What’s the partner’s willingness and ability to make changes?

CUT TO. . . .

Okay, so this work in progress is not likely to be a blockbuster hit, but it does have a viable premise — “X leads to Y” — the movie producing equivalent of a Value Proposition.

In this scenario, lack of data leads to less than ideal project results.

“The point of finding the right thing to test is having the right data,” said Flint in a recent Training and Solutions meeting, as we discussed the challenges of a recent project. “All of the information we need to design this [landing] page is in [the company’s] metrics program.”

Unfortunately for those who partnered with us, someone in their organization was unwilling or unable to get us the information we needed to help them achieve the best results.

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Whether you’re a hired gun or an internal testing team, the roadblocks to optimization efforts — corporate politics or culture, bureaucracy or malice, laziness or indifference — may well be insurmountable without one critical element: professional project management.

Marketers should insist that their online testing and optimization projects follow the same project management best practices that have shown real results for corporate IT projects.

Let’s start with project sponsorship. If you’ve ever attended a Project Management Institute course, you know the importance of engaged sponsorship from a strong leader or leadership team within the organization. That sponsor must be empowered to cut right through the smoke, the flak, or anything else being blown or thrown, in order to achieve the established objective of the project.

Having said that, if the project’s scope isn’t adequately defined at the outset, if establishing the key requirements (for example, access to specific data) has fallen short, then producing the deliverables will be a nightmare. The project is set up to fail from the beginning.

Paraphrasing Flint, it’s all about a company’s willingness and ability to make recommended changes.

Even if you get access to the data you need, if the IT team can’t or won’t help you implement, if the project sponsor is a sponsor in name only, or if inertia cannot be overcome . . . well, your optimization project is really done before it’s over. Stick a fork in it and . . .

FADE TO BLACK

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