Many marketers are all too familiar with the perils of diving into a new initiative unprepared. Companies pull the trigger too early on projects for lots of reasons – they’re pressed for time, they figure the details will fall into place as they go along, they don’t understand the elements critical to the project’s success. Whatever the reason, the results can be bleak: astronomical costs, blown deadlines and squabbling team members.
Never fear, though. Taking the time to prep goes a long way toward avoiding these mid-project woes. To start your initiative on the right foot, consider these factors first.
Your goals. Why are you starting this project now, and what do you hope to accomplish? It may be a marketing initiative tied to a particular milestone, such as a mailer to announce a new product, or part of your overall strategy, such as a new website with updated content and features your customers have been clamoring for. Either way, consider how you’ll measure the project’s success. Whether you want more e-newsletter subscribers or a certain number of customers to switch to a new version of your product, setting specific benchmarks will help you define whether the project works or not.
Your timeline. When does the project need to be done? Is there a specific deadline, such as a trade show or a product launch? Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to do quality work with the resources you have.
Your audience. Who are you trying to reach with this project? Define what you know about your audience, such as age, gender, occupation, education level, technology expertise and business needs. Your understanding of your audience should shape your approach — if your customers aren’t Internet-savvy, for example, avoid sending them a postcard with a QR code on it.
Your project scope. What elements will the project include – copywriting, design, Web coding, media outreach? If it’s part of a larger initiative, what other projects does the initiative include, and how does this project fit in? For example, if you’re creating a postcard and accompanying e-blast, you’ll want to make sure the look and messaging are consistent across both pieces.
Your team. Do you have the capabilities to handle the project internally? If not, what will you need to outsource? Establish a team of internal and external members, if necessary, that can handle the project from start to finish and assign a leader to manage the process.
How do you prepare before launching a project? Let us know in the comments below.