by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Planning, Social Media, StrategyTagged as: Effectiveness, Efficiency
When the economy is tight, most organizations face a financial call-to-action: tighten your belts, manage costs, and cut-cut-cut. This seems reasonable – financial management will rationalize that revenues no longer support a “higher” level of expenditure, so either sales must increase, or expenses must be cut.
But how are these cuts determined? Too often, it is a question of expediency (easiest to cut), recency (latest programs), or politics (weakest sponsors’ programs.) A far better approach is to cut based on efficiency and effectiveness.
Instead of merely looking at the cost of a particular initiative, why not consider whether it was worth the time and money to do it in the first place? And whether, after X months (or years), it is pulling its weight? Cutting lazy investments frees resources for higher-value activities.
The best way to do this is to build evaluation in from the outset. What are the goals of the program? How will they be measured? What are the expected results: financial, marketing, operational, and otherwise? What are the downstream benefits? Understanding these upfront means mid-course corrections can be made along the way. And it also means that when the call to cut happens, objective measurements can be introduced as criteria. In short, you can’t manage what you can’t measure.
This concept is even more important when it comes to digital. For whatever reason, the concepts of managing and measuring seem forgotten in the excitement of the latest tweet or blog posting. They shouldn’t be. (Clarification: there is no shortage of digital in-the-weeds measurements, but that there is an unfortunate lack of program-level measurements that allow a comparison to other initiatives.)
Review your digital marketing initiatives, and set the overall goals, measures, and expected results. Don’t get caught when the call to cut occurs.
Bonus idea: This same concept works on a personal level. Can you quantify the impact of each of your activities? If not, spend the time setting goals, measures and expected results.
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