Overcoming the Dysfunction of 'Moving the Needle'

  |  September 26, 2012   |  Comments

Knowing where to focus time and energy can create efficiencies and streamline process for any organization.

There is an increasingly large focus on what quantifiable results an organization is able to garner and how they can be used to "move the needle." Frequently, there are so many different stakeholders between an organization and its partners (with each in charge of specific verticals of the business) that it becomes a challenge to collaborate and really impact the bottom line. What results are silos, each with their own disparate attempts at improving performance, or even worse, simply attempting to satisfy the need. Satisfying the need can be fine, but is fine going to "move the needle"?

Working in digital marketing, it's easy to get caught up in the endless metrics we have available at our fingertips. From looking at the conversion rate, interaction rate, completion rate, bounce rate, click rate, etc…we can easily get lost in the numbers. We try so hard to make sure that we accurately regurgitate "what" happened that we forget to ask "why" it happened or "how" it relates to performance overall. Yes, the results may not always be favorable, but the results yield a story that may force us in a new direction and new way of thinking as we gather recommendations to improve performance in the future.

The economic downturn has reprogrammed us to overanalyze everything and dissect where each dollar is spent. The same thing happens within organizations; there is so much time focusing on performance in silos - seeing a collective snapshot and being able to truly attribute what is working, what is not working, and why - often it's looked at too little and too late.

No organization is perfect, and no organization can do everything perfectly, but knowing where to focus time and energy can create efficiencies and streamline process for any organization. The more time you save on internal functionalities, the more time you have to dedicate to the external ones; the ones that are keeping the business going - the customers. There are so many places your customers are already providing you feedback, and all it takes is some listening. This can be done through monitoring social platforms, talking to your call center, or evaluating website metrics. However it is done, it can give you an initial read on what big challenges the customers are facing, and you can start thinking about how to improve their experience. Maybe it is the website, or distribution, or production…whatever it is, if the customer is experiencing it and it's causing a negative association with the brand, then bottom line - it is a problem.

Within organizations, each section or stakeholder has the ability to perform better; the sum is always stronger than its parts. When the organization is open and honest about its objectives and the right solutions to meet those objectives - not a patch to plug the hole - then "the needle" can really start to move. Sure, a patch can be a short-term solution, but having a long-term roadmap and the ability to adjust the roadmap based on the ever-changing economic and digital environment is essential. A patch may allow you to keep moving, but a strategic plan provides you with a direction to go in. After all, you may be moving the needle, but are you moving it in the right direction?

Speedometer with Needle image on home page via Shutterstock.



Amy Manus

As senior media director for the Razorfish Atlanta office, Amy brings more than 15 years of media expertise that spans across both traditional and digital media. Often noted for her passion of media and dedication to finding the right solution, Amy ensures clients business objectives translate into targeted, measurable, and successful initiatives. Although her skill set is vast, her greatest expertise centers in the worlds of media research, strategic media planning, interactive planning and buying, social media, analytics, and search engine marketing. Amy has worked with world-class organizations such as AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, Pleasant Holidays, Clarins, Disney, Equifax, and Loews Hotels to name a few. Aside from her work at the agency, Amy has been a regular columnist for ClickZ's "Data Driven Marketing" vertical for the past five years and has been a contributor to notable industry media including Adotas, Media Post, The New York Times Online, and the IAB. Amy holds a double major in Marketing and Speech and Communications from Clemson University.

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