Let me begin by saying how much I admire women in tech. More precisely, women who’ve learned to apply technology without being naturally predisposed to it. Yes, I’m biased – I am a woman, I work in a marketing technology company, and I would have never thought that technology and I would get along. So to a large extent I admire every this-is-who-I-wish-to-become vision of myself.
Most recently I got inspired by Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway. Besides the fact that she is gorgeous, intelligent, chic and has pretty much any woman’s dream job (her company’s mission statement is “delivering a Cinderella moment” – seriously, how much cooler can it get?), Jennifer lives by the most simple, yet powerful principle – “Just do it!” This resonates so close to heart, because of how much this statement gets used in my household by my soon to be 4 (going on 18) daughter. This is what I hear every day: “Mom, do you want to go to the beach?” – “I wish, I could” – “Well, just do it then!” OR (most recently): “Mom, what is that girl’s name?” – “I can’t remember” – “Just do it, mom, use your brain!”
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Here’s my point:
Enough already coming up with reasons for why something innovative and impactful cannot be accomplished – let’s just do it! Here are “just do it” responses to 3 of the most commonly used reasons I hear:
Reason 1: Our IT group won’t take on a new project until sometime in 2012.
Answer: First of all, are you friends with your IT department? At a minimum, you have to make an effort to speak their language, understand how they operate, and very importantly – know how they spend their slow Friday afternoons. Nothing will gain you an “in” better than bringing in a few exotic IPAs for a beer connoisseur working in IT. Once you’re “in”, learn the rules of engagement. For example, you may learn that every second Friday is “Innovation Friday”, when technical resources work on projects of their choice – you may be able to capitalize on this, and pitch your program to a member of the IT team. If it’s something truly innovative, there would be no reason to say “no”.
In the end, if your best efforts fail, consider outsourcing your project. Get it up and running and have your IT team integrate the end result when they come around to it. Don’t forget to enter the integration project into their queue now.
(By the way, if your email program in its entirety is currently owned by IT, I’m deeply sorry. The only thing that your program is missing is a tomb stone).
Reason 2: We’re short-staffed, so we won’t even begin thinking about this (btw, great) program until 6 months from now.
Answer: Let someone else do all the thinking. How about your ESP team? The team can get you 90% of the way there, and with minimal input allow you to accomplish twice as much as you would have otherwise.
One of the common mistakes that marketing managers make is engage their vendors in solely executional capacity – they focus on delivering instructions as opposed to asking for input. In this type of engagements two things happen: one, the vendors’ effectiveness and value proposition get diminished, because they never get a chance to show off their abilities, and two, marketing managers do not get to realize the maximum value of their vendor relationships. Think for a moment – how many expert resources are available to you outside of your immediate team? When was the last time you asked for their input, or invited them to an internal brainstorm or quarterly planning meeting? The more you invest in your vendor relationships, the more benefit you will garner in the end.
Reason 3: The program is cost-prohibitive.
Answer: Email is cheap, but smart email – one that’s well-planned, well-targeted and integrated with other channels – is not. Innovative programs require people and technology resources, but the return on the investment is multi-fold compared to basic batch and blast. So before you dismiss an idea as being cost-prohibitive, make sure you do the math. What is the anticipated impact on the business? Are there any case studies that can demonstrate probable return? Have you considered all of the options, for example: test on portion of the file, phased roll-out, automation, re-purposing of existing capabilities, re-allocation of budget from underperforming areas, creative financing options, etc.? You will not be able to answer these questions alone, so engage your vendor in the discussion every time.
I’d like to wrap up with a quote by Jennifer Hyman – “If you’re passionate about something, go for it, because people are great at what they love”. Here at e-Dialog, we’re passionate about helping our clients be the best digital marketers they can be. So let's “just do it!”
Lilia Arsenault, e-Dialog