It happens all the time. A new VP or CMO takes the helm, or a new consultant comes into the picture, and the first thing they do is critique the existing program, sometimes brutally and without background or warrant. The second thing they do is change it, often in extreme manners including replacing the internal teams or agency partners who have built and are often managing complex and integrated elements. If a digital program is underperforming, that may be a good idea, but oft times the end result is just a different approach that reflects the new person's prior experience and prejudices and often ignores or discounts the history and circumstance that have defined the current state. Different is not necessarily better and if you are going to create this stress, it should be for good reason and good results. In some organizations, this kind of change happens frequently. Wait three or six or 18 months for the next consultant and then rinse and repeat.
You can end up with a digital case of whiplash where your programs are defined by the person at the helm instead of the business objectives, audience needs, and performance metrics that should be driving ongoing planning. Programs managed with such short-sighted leadership suffer from a lack of ongoing testing and optimization that are the hallmark of successful and efficient digital programs as constantly shifting emphasis, management, and goals do not allow you to apply a consistent approach to measuring and improving against those goals.
If you find yourself in the middle of yet another leadership change, there are a few things to keep in mind to make the best of the situation:
During the critique:
During program transition:
All change is disruptive but not all change is bad. Change for its own sake or constant change without the application of an overarching strategy limits the ability of your digital programs to perform and also stresses your resources. Avoid digital whiplash with a commitment to long-term strategic planning, measurement, and optimization.
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Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.
March 19, 2014