Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning


Building Front-line Buy-in

by Randall Craig on November 18, 2016

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management,

Tagged as: , , ,

If there has been one significant change in the area of marketing and engagement, it is the almost complete ubiquity of “programs”.  Some of them have names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.  Others have names like Salesforce, Marketo, Dynamics, and Infusionsoft.  Yet despite the great fanfare, why does the system’s promise rarely materialize?

Consider how the system is implemented:
  • A problem is identified.
  • A vendor prescribes the medicine: merely purchase software package X (or spend time doing Z), and all will be well.
  • The software is purchased and configured.
  • No one uses it.
  • The problem remains.
The biggest obstacle to solving the problem is not the lack of software, but the lack of buy-in from front-line staff.  Or in other words, tools make it possible, but people make it happen.  Too often, the “cost” of the software is measured only in the license fees, not the implementation.
Here are eight critical factors that if omitted or poorly executed, will guarantee failure:
  1. Training (and more training, and more training.)
  2. Monitoring activity (by leaders and front-line managers.
  3. Align front-line interests with the organization’s goals.
  4. Incentives / Gamification to encourage usage.
  5. Performance appraisal/personal goals tie-in.
  6. Leaders lead by example:  the new system isn’t just for the rank-and-file.
  7. Sensitivity to the difficulty of change.
  8. Flexibility / Mid-course correction: as the system is implemented, more will be discovered.
This week’s action plan: Are there any programs that should solve “the problem” in your organization, but remain either unused, or actively opposed?  If so, it isn’t too late: what might it take to re-launch the program to generate that buy-in? The list above can help.
Marketing insight #1:  While front line buy-in is absolutely required, there are other important reasons why a system might not be adopted.  Chief amongst them are Incorrect system selection in the first place, poor configuration, data quality problems, and lack of integration with other systems.  Not sure if these are the problem?  A system and process review can provide an objective assessment.
Marketing insight #2:  Momentum is more important than perfection.  Implementing a modest first phase with plenty of “wins” will generate the momentum that is necessary to implement later, more complex functionality.
Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Viewpoint: Virtual and augmented reality

by Randall Craig July 22, 2016

Back in the 1960’s, the venue of discovery was outer space, and particularly the race to the moon. In the late 1980’s, Star Trek popularized the holodeck, a virtual reality simulator that people walked into and “experienced.” Today, we have the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Pokemon Go.  One can debate the merits of these specific […]

Read More

Avoiding tech project failures (2)

by Randall Craig July 1, 2016

Have you ever had a problem – or a disastrous – project in your organization?  When this happens, it is often “clear” that the problem is with the consultants hired to help, and sadly, this is often true. But is some of the fault also with your organization?  While a previous post looked at issues from an […]

Read More

Avoiding tech project failures

by Randall Craig June 10, 2016

Has your organization invested in a “game-changing” software project, only to discover that the promised benefits never really materialize?  Or that the implementation was so flawed that the system is regarded as a financial and operating disaster? Sadly, this happens far more than it should… but must this always be the case?  Here are five […]

Read More

Avoiding a disastrous CRM implementation

by Randall Craig May 20, 2016

CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems are known for two things: the promise of driving sales, and the almost inevitable disastrous implementation.  And the same is often true of other big tech projects.  But does this really have to be the case? Here are 12 key items that can make a difference between a successful implementation… or a costly mistake: […]

Read More

Branding and Web Security

by Randall Craig April 29, 2016

What determines the confidence in your brand?  Yes, the visual identity and what people see.  And yes, the experience and interaction people have, both online and in the real world.  And yes, the social media (and traditional media) buzz – both positive and negative.  But there is another factor, hidden from most marketers, that can […]

Read More

Viewpoint: Software as a Service – a Rocky Transition

by Randall Craig April 22, 2016

There is no doubt that software as a service (SAAS) holds great promise, but are there downsides?  And for both software vendors and their customers, is it a disaster in the making?  (Maybe.) If you are not sure what SAAS is all about, it is the movement to rent software on a monthly basis, rather […]

Read More

Brand Building: Strong On the Inside

by Randall Craig February 5, 2016

How much does your organization spend on your brand? Usually, this question yields answers in the following categories: logo design, collateral production messaging, and ads. And for more sophisticated organizations, it also includes elements of Social Media. While all of these items are important, this list is missing the two fundamental delivery mechanisms of the brand itself: people, […]

Read More

When to fire your web developer (18 reasons)

by Randall Craig December 18, 2015

Every organization has its group of trusted partners: accountant, lawyer, banker… and web developer. They know your history, strategy, and people, and are available to help when their special skills are needed. But how do you know when it is time to move on from the relationship? While we can’t precisely help with the other […]

Read More

Website launch checklist

by Randall Craig December 11, 2015

While websites aren’t new, most organizations only redesign their website every 3-4 years – which is just enough time for everyone to forget what needs to be done to properly launch it. While every website (and organization) is unique, here is a partial list of activities that can help: Three months prior to launch: Confirm metrics to evaluate the […]

Read More

Building Your Marketing Stack

by Randall Craig October 2, 2015

Most marketers think of themselves as builders. Their work grows the organization, grows market share, grows the portfolio of products and services. A bit more tactically, the marketer builds page views, conversions, and social engagement; underlying all of these activities, the marketer builds relationships. But is there merit in growing marketing itself? Not the ad […]

Read More

Viewpoint: Spoiling the broth with a “bad” post?

by Randall Craig September 11, 2015

It’s amazing how a “different” perspective-type post generates a ton of feedback.   Two years ago I wrote a post on how to become invisible on the web.  The post described how to remove your footprint, guard your privacy, and generally how to avoid being digitally targeted. The post also generated a firestorm of comments […]

Read More

Viewpoint: the Unintended Consequences of Low Fidelity

by Randall Craig July 10, 2015

It wasn’t that many years ago that both people and organizations craved higher and higher fidelity: 7.1 Dolby Digital sound, Ultra High Definition TV screens, and so on. Today though, mobile (and digital) is driving size in the other direction: smaller. An unintended consequence, however, is that the fidelity of the user experience has also dramatically shifted downwards: Mobile phone operators […]

Read More

Three approaches to mobile responsive design

by Randall Craig June 12, 2015

If you use the web on a mobile device, do you ever get frustrated by a site that forces you to pinch-and-zoom to read the content?  Or a mobile website that seems to hide what you think is key information – like the street address and phone number? If your organization is considering a new […]

Read More

Web site testing fundamentals

by Randall Craig May 29, 2015

Most marketers understand the basics of putting up a website, but rarely get a glimpse into what is likely the most important part of the process: testing. Done properly, testing is time-consuming. When the schedule (or budgets) are tight, unfortunately, it is the first thing to go. And when this happens, errors creep in that […]

Read More

Mobile Marketing: location, just-in-time, and simplicity

by Randall Craig January 2, 2015

What have been the most transformational marketing innovations in society?  TV and Direct mail/database marketing rank up there.  Email, the web, and social media also do.  And so does mobile – but why? It is too easy to think of mobile as nothing more than a small screen.  Web designers and developers work hard to […]

Read More

Mobile site or Mobile App?

by Randall Craig November 28, 2014

At a certain point, every organization will ask the question about whether or not they need an App.  Putting aside whether there is a bona fide reason for investing in an app or not, there is a second related question that always gets asked: if we have a mobile (eg responsive) website, do we actually […]

Read More

Increasing Newsletter Registrations

by Randall Craig August 29, 2014

Are you really satisfied with the response rate of your newsletter registration form on your website?  Do you think that, just maybe, your list could be bigger? Instead of thinking of the sign-up form as a sign-up form, think of it as a transaction.  The user – a prospective client – is paying for your […]

Read More

Trust: Earning the Right to Ask

by Randall Craig August 22, 2014

How often have you walked in a shop, only to feel pressured into buying something you didn’t really want?  Perhaps you were at a restaurant, and the waiter actually sits down at your table, introduces himself, and asks for your order? Or maybe you found yourself in the position I was in at a Danier […]

Read More