All I Want for Christmas is Consistency!
by Cory McEwan • December 10, 2015
(image by Hernán Piñera)
As the holidays approach, it’s natural for people to start thinking about giving gifts and receiving gifts. This time of year is filled with family fun, crazy holiday shopping, good food and hopefully some relaxation squeezed in.
A business owner often enjoy these luxuries as much as the rest of the world. Too much time away from the business could mean a hit to profitability, and the holidays could be your biggest time if you’re in e-commerce. What can account managers do to relieve business stress this year?
The best gift a business owner can ask for, is consistency from their marketing agency.
Marketing success is more difficult than ever. The release of every new digital platform makes more things competitive. Businesses that embrace these platforms early are in a prime spot to reap the benefits.
It takes a lot more than early adoption to make a true profit from these platforms, though. It takes tactical and consistent account management. I’m going to break down the idea of consistent account management into 3 major categories; proactive goal setting, proper planning, and frequent communication.
Proactive Goal Setting
The first step to proactive goal setting is to understand the needs of the business. Without a healthy understanding of expectations, hard work goes to waste, and revenue is left on the table. It’s also important to establish the metrics that truly mean success. You don’t want your agency focusing on things that don’t improve your return on investment.
Invest some time in establishing well thought out and effective goals. Agencies that focus on results and valuable goals will be more effective for the companies that hire them. Companies that take time to ensure the agency is well prepped, will get a much better return on their investment.
There are endless amount of tweaks that can be done in digital marketing, but it won’t have as much success without a goal in mind. Goals will never be achieved in the expected timeframe without proper planning and execution. That leaves only one thing to do, right?
Determine the appropriate tactics, summarize how to implement them, and outline the expected outcome. This ensures that the account manager understands what they’re working on in the coming weeks and months, and that the business owner knows what to expect.
When planning out your strategy, understand that some things need time to percolate, and not all plans are going to be successful overnight. Establishing good expectations for timelines will make everyone feel a little less stressed.
One of the most important things in any agency/client relationship is communication. Communicate the shared vision of the goal, communicate how the goal is going to be implemented, and communicate any important milestones.
Asking for feedback often is absolutely essential to making sure everyone is on the same page. Miscommunication is very real, and often agencies don’t understand what the client is really trying to tell them. Account managers need to ask clarifying questions, and business owners need to feel free to show their frustrations and follow up.
Putting it into Action
I wanted to put this idea into perspective by providing a real example of these tactics where we saw outstanding results.
Several years ago, I started working with a large e-commerce company. The majority of this company’s revenue came during the holiday season. The holidays made the difference between a positive and negative year.
The traffic to the site during this time also increased dramatically. Because this was a new campaign, these trends were not well known. The dramatic spike in traffic was not a foreseen trend, and our PPC ad spend was running out early in the day.
I was in a position where I had to request more budget from the client so we could maximize our profits. They granted us additional budget, and we had positive results, but I knew with some better organization on my part we could have done much better.
After that situation, I decided to document all of my learnings. I immediately started planning for the following holiday season. The entire next year’s budget was planned around specific holiday goals, and I communicated the plan with the client.
Because I prepared myself better, the following Christmas was the highest revenue generating season that the company had ever experienced.
Throughout my career, I have grown to love account management. Nothing is more rewarding than implementing strategy that helps a client hit new levels and exceed revenue goals. When simple steps like the ones mentioned above are followed, great results will happen more frequently.