My father was in the Army for 27 years and shared with me a story of when he was before a promotion board. Two weeks prior to his meeting with the promotion board he was on night maneuvers with his troops. They were involved with a live fire exercise and my father was at the command post. The maneuvers were successful, and since his troops had been up for several days in a row they were finally able to get some rest. But while they sleeping live fire began and landed on my fathers soldiers. He immediately called a cease fire, but tragically soldiers were killed. How could this happen?
The coordinates were not cleared through the command post. The decision was made at a higher level without proper communication. These "higher levels" were the same individuals that comprised most of the promotion board which my father was to stand in front of in a few short days.
While standing before the promotion board my father was asked how this tragedy happened.
His response was clear and direct, "What we have here is a total breakdown in communication."
Who caused this he was asked, "I am looking at them," was his response.
He received the promotion.
The reality is that often times there is a total breakdown of communication between a company's strategic goals and objectives and their marketing plan. This misalignment causes frustration for everyone involved and nobody ends up getting what they want.
It is not possible to measure success until you have defined success. This is a common issue for many companies. If you do not know what success looks like, how will know if you have reached it? How do you make improvements without knowing what good is?
Why does your company exist? What makes you different from your competitors? How do you want to be perceived in the marketplace? These questions must be answered BEFORE you even consider how your website, social media outlets, and advertising campaigns should look.
How To Align Your Marketing
Our recommendation is to use a Six Sigma Methodology — Define. Measure. Analyze. Improve. Control. (DMAIC)
Define — This step is usually the most difficult. It is critical that you can clearly articulate the objectives of your website, social media outlets, etc. in the framework of your business' strategic plan. Don't do this in a vacuum, you need input from sales, customer service, upper level management, and other relevant departments. If you don't do this no one will be happy, ever. A clear sign that you have failed in this area is when you hear an employee or colleague say, "We do all the work and they get all the credit."
Measure — This is as simple as it seems. X clicks, Y downloads, Z Page views, etc. Set goals, targets, and key performance indicators (KPIs)
Analyze — This is where data driven decision making happens, with no wiggle room. You either reached your goals, targets, and KPIs or you did not.
Improve — Did you meet your goal or target? Great, now figure out how to do it again. And if you didn't meet your goal or target find out how to fix it.
Control — Have a predetermined review process, but keep in mind that strategic objectives change, and markets change. Be ready to realign as necessary.
We have made the Digital Marketing and Measurement Model available as a fill in the blank tool.