Setting up a new project is always something thrilling and exciting. You have all theses ideas in mind that you can’t wait to put in place and some others that you are dying to dig out and research more to see if they are applicable.
This excitement is the reason we are all doing Inbound Marketing. Having to juggle with a large amount of data, previous experiences, various industries all with its own set of standard, all that in an ever changing web environment.
While everything has its flip sides, this great excitement also has one. Having been involved in many web projects, I realized that this excitement often leads project leaders to take shortcuts on the management aspect or project managers taking shortcuts on the leadership part of the project that undeniably ends up impacting the end results.
Today I will present you a model taken from Steve Jackson’s book “Cult of Analytics” that combines the required leadership and management abilities to successfully tackle your project. We will present it in an Inbound Marketing context.
The key to success lies on reducing the uncertainties, and we will do that defining a clear process to unroll your inbound projects.
Leadership Vs Management
Every project needs to be address with two different set of mind:
First, we need the leadership. We need someone to speak up and raise the flag. We need someone to be able to communicate the vision and the strategy.
Then, we need the management. We need someone who’s able to break down the strategy into a precise plan of action. This manager will then be able to come up with the specific budgets required to achieve the project.
Both of those dimensions are dependent on one and other. A weak plan will results in biased budgets that will impact you or the client. Or, a weak process will also impact your image and the client performance.
As mentioned earlier, the great excitement about inbound marketing often leads to people taking shortcuts. Too often I have been witnessing project that were only based on a strategy and budgets or other combinations. The results are always the same; one of the two parties is not satisfied and this end up impacting everyone. The last thing we want is to lose the trust from our client and the excitement of our employees.
Taking project development to the next level
Vision: “I have a dream”. Every project should start by those famous words from Martin Luther King Jr. Your project vision needs to be clear and concise. The success of your vision starts by its ability to create a sense of urgency while being clearly communicated and clearly understood.
Your vision also needs to be actionable and realistic. Having for vision to triple your business incomes by the next 6 months might not be so realistic.
With unrealistic or non-actionable vision, you will quickly lose the support from your team and will inexorably fail to meet the client objectives.
Strategy: Your strategy needs to flow according to a logical set of elements. Every element you bring into your strategy has a specific “Raison d’être” and aims at achieving a specific goal AND supporting the following element. Every step converge toward one specific goal that is the accomplishment of your project vision.
Planning: One of the most under see element of project development but yet, the one probably having the largest impact on your client and your business. Planning is the capacity of your business to measure the tasks to be accomplished and foresee the potential problems to that you can incorporate in your workload.
Without a plan, you will not meet your deadline, you will go over your budget, and you will probably not attain your client objectives…
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Budgets: At the end of the day, it’s all about the money. Just like Adam Smith wrote it in his book Wealth of Nations “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”.
You offer Inbound strategies to earn incomes and the client buy your services to eventually earn more income.
If you don’t budget your project accordingly, unexpected costs will occur that are undeniably going to impact your profitability. On the other hand, if you pass those expenses to the client, you are going against what he budgeted for, and he sure won’t be happy about that.
Reducing uncertainties and implementing process
This model forces your team to follow a clear workflow in the development of your inbound marketing projects. Every step of this model has a specific hierarchy that blocks your team to jump over one area.
Another element is that this cycle can be run many times. It is possible that for a specific project, you set a vision with the client, elaborate a strategy that is planned and distributed over time, have it budgeted to finally have the client not satisfied with the cost.
You then modify your vision, adapt your strategy, change your schedule, and reduce your budget to present maybe a cheaper alternative that aims at a lesser vision.
Finally, if large discrepancies occur using your model, it gives you a reference on where on the project development thing got out of hand. It will enable you to see that the mistake was done at the budgeting step, for example, and you will be able to bring changes accordingly to this area only.
Having a clear way of tackling your project enables your company to achieve profitability, to reach the SMART goals you set with the client, keep your team motivated and excited about their job and finally, proved your expertise in inbound marketing.
If you have any question, feel free to ask and I will do my best to address them in and effective and timely manner.
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