Figuring out when to use Snapchat versus Instagram, or whether to launch a live event or just do a Facebook Live post, has made distributing marketing campaigns a cumbersome affair. That's why it's essential for marketers to adapt their workflows in order to make the most out of new technologies and distribution channels, says Noah Brier, cofounder of the marketing software management company Percolate.
But the mantra of efficiency—be more swift, more agile—isn't much good unless you have a framework for getting it done. Brier thinks marketers would be wise to follow the lead of software engineers, who have a lot of practice doing this kind of thing.
"One of the secrets of engineering is that even though it seems like 80% of the work is in the implementation, 80% of the work is actually in the measurement and the modeling," Brier told the assembled crowd at the Fast Company's Innovation Festival. "If you do it right then 20% of the work is in implementation."
First, marketers need to identify the problem they're tackling, and then find a way to measure potential success. This is trickier than it sounds he says, because it's easy to get distracted by perceived trends that might appear to be new problems but are actually just distractions.
Advertisers have long had to create compelling messaging that speaks to consumers in novel and interesting ways. Just because there is more noise than ever before, more competition for eyeballs, does not make creating quality content a new problem. The big issue, he says, is that many brands are trying to reach a global audience on a growing number of channels, but their budgets are not growing with their need.
Marketers therefore need to create efficiencies in their workflow in order to meet these financial restraints while also delivering the best possible distribution, says Brier.
To find the efficiencies, he says, look at the data. Take for example, the way Henry Ford marketed the Model T—the first consumer automobile. "There's a famous quote from Ford, about how you can get a Model T in any color as long as its black," says Brier. While that line of marketing might seem cheeky, Brier says it was actually quite reflective of the Ford's product strategy. "It was all about the cost. What they did is they recognized that cost was the single most important thing that people cared about and they did everything they could, including inventing a new way of producing cars to make sure that that was possible."
Brier says one way to develop a marketing model is to figure out the single most important issue that a product addresses. Finding that out can help focus campaign messaging, narrow in on the target customer, and refine where that message is distributed, ultimately reining in costs.
The final leg, implementation, should be fairly easy if you've measured and modeled effectively, says Brier. This is also your system test. In the implementation phase you get to see if your strategy works.
At the every least, even if the project fails, you'll have an opportunity to collect new measurable data, so that when you're modeling your next campaign, you'll be more informed.