Avoid this crucial digital marketing mistake

“I need a ________.”

Fill in the blank with “website”,”logo” or some other marketing tool.  How many projects begin with a similar statement? Yet, this is one of the most dangerous ways to initiate any new design or marketing project.

In 13 years of design and marketing, I’ve seen the same habit from businesses and stakeholders of all sizes: “Brian, I need a ________.” This happened consistently at a publisher with millions in the bank, and I’ve seen it from HVACs, chefs, counties, authors, non-profits, etc.

Need is not a strategy.

Naming a marketing tool or element as the need overlooks the real priority: the desired outcome. More often than not, requests for tools as solutions aren’t based on good data or strategy. “The CEO said so” or “this other successful company has something similar” (shiny object syndrome) are the caliber of reasons supplied.

This is how many organizations start down paths of digital marketing failure, by focusing on the tool.  The focus becomes building the app or the website. Data-driven decision making has been undermined from the start, because the solution is presumed.

Retroactively fitting data analysis and strategy into projects like these is to begin with hands tied, because the ability to match the data to the best solution has been overruled.

There’s a better way.

Where to start if you want to win at digital marketing

“What is the outcome we are hoping for?”

This is a much better question. “I need to sell more books” is a better way to initiate a project than “I need a website.” This allows room to identify the most promising looking strategy and solution.  Selling more books is a desired outcome and leaves plenty of room for discovering existing data, customer segments, and possible tools.  Perhaps Facebook ads would be a much better tool than a new website.

Outcome-focused projects clearly define goals

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