The Easiest Part of Building Websites

Building websites doesn’t have to be painful or frustrating. Proper planning and air-tight documentation will make the process smooth — and the results much more effective.

I was recently in a meeting with a prospective client. We’d made it to the final cut: just us and one other firm still being considered. During that meeting, I mentioned that my job building websites was easy, which got a laugh, as intended.

Really, beyond the fact that I love what I do — which makes just about anything easy, even raising kids or puppies — what I meant was that what most clients think of when they think of building websites — the coding and programing — is the easiest part of the process.

Planning and prep make website success more likely

Based on the horror stories we’ve heard from clients who have war stories to tell, that’s not always the case. And the only reason the coding is the easiest part of my job is because of all the work we do before the coding ever gets started.

Before all the coders and programmers out there send me bags full of hate mail, let me qualify my claim of “easy.” Coding and programming isn’t really easy, but it’s a whole lot harder if you don’t have a plan.

We create our plan through our discovery process, where we do a deep dive into what the website needs to do. Armed with that information we develop a series of documents that lay out

  • who the target audience is
  • how we’re going to attract that audience
  • what action we want site visitors to take
  • and what content, features, and functionality we need to achieve our goals

In other words — the really tough part of the job happens before coding (and design, for that matter) are even beginning. It’s the discovery process, in which we create planning documents that lay out exactly what we need the site to do in order to succeed, that makes other steps so much less painful.

Those documents are:

  • Strategy Brief
  • Site Map
  • Wireframes
  • Functional Specification
  • Design Brief

With these core, critical documents, you create a framework that provides guidance to the team that will be down in the trenches doing the design work, copywriting, and coding.

To these documents we can also add outlines for KPIs, integration with other marketing efforts, and maintenance and security protocols.

Too often, we see clients balk at the process, feeling that they “just need to get the new site up” rather than “waste time with all of these planning exercises.” (Which always brings to mind the snarky thought, if you don’t have time to do it right, when are you going to find the time to do it again?)

If you’re tempted to forego proper planning because it’s just a small update or because time is of the essence, I urge you to reconsider. You’ll never regret the time you invest in thinking through your goals in something more than a perfunctory way.

And if your web development team looks at you like you’ve got three heads when you suggest a process that creates the documents above, press the pause button and reconsider your partnership.

3 Tips for Dealing With the Stress of MarTech-Driven Marketing

As a marketer in today’s data-driven world, it is very hard to keep your head on straight. With thousands of martech solutions in the market vying for your attention, combined with the pressure to make data-driven decisions and justify expenses, it is easy to become overwhelmed by martech-driven marketing.

As a marketer in today’s data-driven world, it is very hard to keep your head on straight. With thousands of martech solutions in the market vying for your attention, combined with the pressure to make data-driven decisions and justify expenses, it is easy to become overwhelmed by martech-driven marketing.

The result is a constant feeling that you are falling further and further behind. While that may be, it is also likely that you are in good company as this is a common anxiety among most marketers.

Here are three tips for dealing with the anxiety from tech-driven marketing.

Understand and Acknowledge the MarTech-Driven Marketing Landscape Is Needlessly Complex

It’s not your job to sort it out. There are thousands of martech solutions out there and you can’t/shouldn’t keep up with all of them.

If you did, you would hardly have time for your day job. It is better that you understand the technologies as broad capabilities (such as marketing automation, CRM, content management systems, etc.) then focus on determining if you need that capability and why.

Then carefully select vendors with that capability to work with on specific solutions.

Ignore the Noise and Get Back to Marketing Strategy

Too often, marketers are letting the marketing technology world dictate how strategy should be run.

For example, when discussing lead development strategy, I had a client tell me that their marketing automation vendor was looking into it. This is akin to having your building materials provider design your dream home. Some may offer basic design services, but the result is likely to be staid and semi-custom, at best.

Similarly, most martech companies do not want to be in the business of developing your marketing strategy, but they oftentimes are forced to do so in order to get you comfortable with leveraging their technology.

No one wins in this scenario, and what often results is a generic marketing strategy.

The key is to understand what broad martech capabilities are relevant for you and to build a custom go-to-market strategy that reflects your brand’s vision and purpose.

Then incorporate data-driven capabilities — and lastly, evaluate a specific solution.

Don’t Be a Slave to Your Data

I often hear marketers ask, “How can we better leverage all this data?”

This is like starting your holiday shopping by asking, “How can I leverage all of the available retailers out there?”

The more sensible questions should be: “What do I want to achieve and how can data help me get there?”

Then, look into your own data to determine if the relevant data is there. If it isn’t, don’t fret. Many times, the relevant data is cheap to generate, and you should begin to understand what it is you specifically need and how best to generate it.

Concluding Thoughts About Tech-Driven Marketing

After many years in consulting with Fortune 500 companies on marketing data and technology strategy, I can confidently tell you that the vast majority of marketers feel overwhelmed and not in control.

What I can also say is that most marketers do not struggle with what to do; rather, they struggle with what not to do.

With a torrent of marketing solutions available today, it is easy to lose focus. Successful marketers understand that martech solutions affect how you think about marketing and customer strategy execution. However, they also understand that smart, brand-centric strategies drive solution selection — not the other way around.

Increasing FinServ Market Share in a Rising Rate Environment

If you are a marketing leader in a FinServ company, then you are interested, and mandated, to increase the market share for your institution. The reality is that it is never easy to increase market share. Especially if the market is investors. Especially in a rising rate environment.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are a marketing leader in a FinServ company, then you are interested, and mandated to increase the market share for your institution.

Great, I am a genius, we can all go home, right?

Stating the obvious, and being able to execute effectively on those mandates are two separate matters entirely. The reality that I face, and I am certain if you are reading this you face as well, is that it is never easy to increase market share. Especially if the market you are trying to increase are investors. Especially in a rising rate environment.

When Finding New Investors Seems Easy

For those of us in the FinServ industry that ply our trade in investment banks, credit unions and certain funds, or are dependent upon rate to determine product value, we oft find ourselves at the whim and mercy of the Federal Reserve and general market forces. We like market stability, it is our friend. It allows us to predict, safely, the amount of capital we can raise. It also allows us to compete on something other than the rates we offer (which, let’s be honest is a whole lot more fun).

However, if market stability is our friend, our bestie is a dropping rate environment. That is, when the Fed decides to lower rates, pushing down the value of investments (which costs us less) and rates for loans (which makes them more attractive). This is the butter zone for increasing market share for two reasons: more investors will grab rates before they drop (decreasing decision making time) and you can outpace competitors by being the last to lower your rates.

Rising Rate Environment

Unfortunately for us, we find ourselves in a rising rate environment. The most recent activity by the Fed not only came with a bump, but a strong indication that more increases are likely. What this means is that we cannot count on either differentiation or lagging rates as strategies. In fact both strategies, although they work in stable markets and dropping rate environments, are likely to cause a reduction in market share (or at the very least severely weaken your ability to retain investors).

So regardless if your a brokerage firm, bank, or somewhere in between, I offer two key  strategies to consider as ways to increase market share.

Strategy 1: Do Not Worry About Cost of Funds

Your senior banking or operations officer may not like this one. But, if you are like us, this is a fairly useful strategy. Before I go on, let me define Cost of Funds (COF) in its most basic terms: it is the weighted average of the interest yields owed to investors (here is a longer explanation). If you do not know your COF, talk to an analyst, find out what it is.

Logical thought compels us to accept that an increase in our COF without a increase in loan yield (the weighted average of your capital deployed) means margins will get thinner and profits will drop. While this is technically true, there is one interesting phenomenon that as a marketer you should not ignore.

At volume acquiring new customers above COF does not create a significant increase in COF. Let me explain. If a bank has a COF of 3.0% and total assets of $90,000,000 then acquires $10,000,000 in new capital at 3.5% the new COF would be 3.05%. The reason for this is that the new capital is a smaller percent of the holdings than the existing capital. The larger the financial institution, the less effect on COF is seen.

The strategy then becomes to find a way to offer a special investment product at a rate that is above market average that only applies to new customers or new investments by old customers. In other words, do not be afraid to pay a premium to attract new customers because in this environment the best rate wins.

Strategy 2: Do Not Be Afraid to Use Incentives

The harsh reality faced in a rising rate environment is this: when investors know rates will rise, they are less likely to tie up capital now when they can wait. This is problematic even if you have competitive, or even premium, rates. They simply may not be as good as rates may be in six months or a year.

This is compounded by the fact that competition is leveled down to a rate discussion as most investors make their decision to invest based on rate first, so again differentiation is almost meaningless in marketing terms. Do a Google search for investment advice, it turns out the advice most people give is to get the best rate you can. Not find a place you trust or a cause you believe in.

So we have to be creative and find new ways to give potential investors a reason to invest with us that lies just beyond rates. If all things are equal, and rates are the same, what can you do for investors that others can’t that makes a difference?

There are many paths you can go on here from personalized service to reduced or no fees to feature based investment products. The idea is simple, find incentives that match your core investors desires.

The Truth of the Matter

There is no guarantee that having better rates and nice incentives will help increase market share. It just does not. What it does do is it remove obstacles to growth and eliminates variables as your problem solve. Nor does having them mean potential investors will know about them. You still have to do the work to get the message out there.

Grow the audience, deliver relevant and easily understood offers, and provide excellent customer service. Those things are critical, but absent a product offering that people actually want, they are equally as useless as good product offerings with no marketing. In the FinServ industry there are no shortcuts to increase market share.

Content Marketing: How to Produce Better Content Faster

Whether your content marketing team is 10 members strong or it’s just you, having a content production workflow is critical to success. Putting a process in place will make you more efficient and keep your efforts on track even when time is scarce. Even better, a strong process will improve the quality of your output.

Whether your content marketing team is 10 members strong or it’s just you, having a content production workflow is critical to success. Putting a process in place will make you more efficient and keep your efforts on track even when time is scarce. Even better, a strong process will improve the quality of your output.

There’s no one process setup that will work for everyone, but there are some basic parameters common to all successful content development processes. Here a few that should be part of yours.

Strategy Matters

Though not technically a part of the content production process, before putting processes in place for your day-to-day tactical efforts, you have to have clear strategic goals in mind. Without them, you will flounder as it will be difficult to clearly define the topics you should be covering and the needs of the audience you’re trying to reach.

If you’ve already been doing content marketing without a formalized strategy, all is not lost. You can put one in place now. In fact, you probably have really useful analytics data on what resonates with your audience and (unfortunately), what doesn’t. Use that data to craft the strategy that helps you engage with your audience.

Schedules and Calendars

The next logical step — and another important factor in avoiding that floundering feeling — is creating an editorial calendar and a schedule for publishing the content you create.

Much has been written about the value of delivering on a regular schedule — only “Game of Thrones” level popularity will allow you to publish erratically without losing your audience’s interest — but there’s great value to a schedule internally, as well. It’s far easier to make content production a part of your work routine if it’s, well, a regular part of your work routine.

Be realistic in assessing your resources as you create the schedule. If you’ve never done social media before and don’t have resources for a new hire, scheduling hourly tweets is probably setting yourself up for failure. Better to succeed by doing a few things well. As you can comfort you can expand your scope.

The Bullpen

Even with a realistic set of content goals, there are times that other priorities will intrude. That’s why having a bullpen of content you can tap into is perhaps the most important part of your process.

Marketing Strategy Must Co-Opt AI

Artificial intelligence is expected to change the way we market. And AI applications in customer acquisition and customer experience are already under way. However, effectively leveraging AI to expand strategic thinking will be the most difficult and rewarding challenge.

AI
“artificial-intelligence-503593_1920,” Creative Commons license. | Credit: Flickr by Many Wonderful Artists

Artificial intelligence is expected to change the way we market. And AI applications in customer acquisition and customer experience are already under way. However, effectively leveraging AI to expand strategic thinking will be the most difficult and rewarding challenge.

Customer Acquisition

AI use in customer acquisition is probably the most advanced. Aside from programmatic buying, there are additional applications that will help marketers better target the right prospects and allocate spend to the proper channels.

The eventual goal is to better understand which campaigns work and which ones drive overall engagement. One critical development area is Virtual Assistant Optimization. This is an analog to SEO and follows similar principles. As consumers rely on virtual assistants, such as Alexa, to do what they used to do on search (find recommendations, find a business, etc.), the ability to set up information in a way that can be easily accessed and ranked by virtual assistants will transform the craft of SEO.

Customer Experience

The application of AI as a driver of better customer experiences is also well under way. Today’s AI applications are primarily driven by historical customer behavior, such as product recommendation engines or algorithms that predict preferences.

However, the future of AI-driven experiences also involves the inclusion of current and future context. This means understanding the customer’s location, weather, time, activity and immediate objective to understand the need better. This means understanding that a customer who bought milk a week ago and is headed on vacation today may not need milk for another week.

To achieve high contextual awareness, eventually, IOT generated data will be critical.

Marketing Strategy

Using AI to drive a better market strategy will provide the most significant differential advantage. This is because AI-driven solutions for customer acquisition and customer experience will be developed by solution providers and will be within reach of most companies.

The use of AI to drive strategic decisions, however, will be more bespoke. For example:

  • Can you use AI to help you make sense of the comments you receive on social media, call centers, customer surveys and other VOC platforms?
  • Can you also use it to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors?
  • Can you then identify universal pain points not currently addressed by the industry?
  • How about recognizing innovative and unintended uses of your product that can lead to new markets?

The ability to answer these qualitative and situationally relevant questions is unlikely to come in a prepackaged solution. Rather, insight mining teams, conversant with AI tools and hungry for data-driven insights will be critical to generating strategic advantages. That means a growing need for talent who can understand how algorithms “think” and still step away to see the big picture.

In the Land of Shiny Objects

I am honored and excited to become a regular contributor on Target Marketing. I am excited at the prospect of generating vibrant conversations on a set of topics that represent one of the biggest challenges marketing leaders face today. As a marketing consultant at the intersection of data, technology and customer strategy, I have observed — frequently — that there is a vast divide between brand/ customer strategy and data/technology strategy.

shiny object
(Image via The Marketing Moron)

I am honored and excited to become a regular contributor on Target Marketing. I am excited at the prospect of generating vibrant conversations on a set of topics that represent one of the biggest challenges marketing leaders face today. As a marketing consultant at the intersection of data, technology and customer strategy, I have observed — frequently — that there is a vast divide between brand/ customer strategy and data/technology strategy.

Multiple industry surveys report that few executives feel their analytics and technical implementation are well-connected and strategic. Despite the fact that most customer interaction is becoming tech-driven, the abundance of affordable tech options is leading to highly tactical and sometimes confusing customer experiences. The core issue is rarely the technology itself. Most solutions can work just fine at driving greater customer engagement and building brand equity. The real impediments are often organizational and strategic in nature.

The Real Problem in Marketing

Organizational challenges include overall resistance to change, but also the presence of silos where they do not make much sense. Although much has been written about this topic under the umbrella of digital transformation, it’s incredible how challenging the organizational factor remains. I hope to unpack some of the critical underlying factors in subsequent postings.

The strategic issues, on the other hand, are discussed less often. The problem begins with the marketing technology industry, itself. Driven by billions of dollars in investments, the industry has thousands of solutions in the market, each desperately trying to prove its unique value. I refer to this as the “land of shiny objects.” As marketing leaders attempt to navigate this landscape, it is easy to lose strategic focus.

In this blog, we’ll discuss ways in which marketing organizations regain their strategic bearings and leverage their tech stack for both short-term and long-term gains.

Note to Airlines: Don’t Follow the Cable Companies’ Lead

There’s no disputing that 2017 has gotten off to a tough start for the airlines. Consumers were already frustrated with seats that seemed inspired by medieval torture devices, proliferating fees, and yield management algorithms that manage to pack the planes to the gills, forcing tense games of seat-rest elbow chicken. Oh, yes, and there was that thing about dragging a doctor off a flight, bloody and unconscious.

Peter Horst is chair of the Fusion Financial Services event later this year. Click here for more details. The event is free to qualified attendees (including travel and lodging) but seats are limited, so apply today!

There’s no disputing that 2017 has gotten off to a tough start for the airlines. Consumers were already frustrated with seats that seemed inspired by medieval torture devices, proliferating fees, and yield management algorithms that manage to pack the planes to the gills, forcing tense games of seat-rest elbow chicken. Oh, yes, and there was that thing about dragging a doctor off a flight, bloody and unconscious.

If people are comparing your airline to he people on "The Walking Dead," a TV show about a zombie apocalypse where the people are even worse than the zombies, you've made some mistakes.
One example of the reaction United received on social media after the incident.

Helping keep temperatures at a boil, social media made it so seamlessly easy to publicize every instance of crabby crew behavior, ticketing injustice, and righteous passenger indignation. Little wonder that an actual riot broke out in the Spirit Air terminal at Ft. Lauderdale’s airport after pilots expressed their displeasure with management by not showing up for work.

A Tone-Deaf Airline Industry Response

In a recent article, I argued that the soul of a brand is really the best prevention against ending up in such a tough spot — building an explicit promise and strong cultural commitment to a set of customer values. But in response to this gloomy atmosphere in their industry, Airlines for America appears to be taking a different tack.

The trade association seems to have brought back a TV ad campaign from last year. It’s an upbeat, peppy piece that stars one of those iconic, yellow-vested guys with the red flashlights and the emphatic directional gestures. With magical red flares in hand, he guides a surprised office-worker from her drab, gray cubicle to a tropical paradise, complete with the requisite flower girl, mai tai boy, and galloping horse on a beach.

The tagline is, “We connect the world”, and it emphasizes all the flights to all the destinations that airlines provide in order to help people get where they want to be.

While it’s a nice enough spot, I think it misses the mark in a few important ways. The first miss is in tone. The cheery focus on the joy of getting away from it all seems a little tin-eared in the context of the meaningful angst surrounding the topic of airline customer experience. If indeed this re-airing of the spot is an attempt to restore some good feeling, the spot risks reinforcing a perception of clueless ignorance of the present feelings of their customers. We’re emotional creatures, and the airlines’ marketing challenge is a deeply emotional one, so hitting the wrong note at this high-pitched moment seems clumsy. Effective empathy requires that marketers show they appreciate their target’s feelings.

A second miss is in the underlying insight. I passionately believe that all great marketing sits on a rigorously true, powerful insight that reveals some aspect of tension within the target’s life. In this respect, I think Airlines for America picked the wrong perch.

I’d bet my house that a core sample of the average air traveler’s brain would not reveal the most relevant insight to be, “Gosh, I just can’t wait for someone to sweep me away from all this!” A less cheerful, but more relevantly true, insight would likely be, “I’ve really come to dread getting on a plane. They just don’t seem to care about me.”

How to Suck Less at Your Personal Pitch

The number one thing people want to talk about is themselves. When you facilitate this, you’ll be remembered because they enjoyed the conversation. Just remember: A good question prompts people to tell a story about themselves, in turn creating a deeper connection.

i am uniqueWhen you meet someone for the first time, the question “What do you do?” inevitably makes its way to the conversation. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of this question. It is not a great question to ask, nor is it fun to answer.

Let’s explore some reasons for why this question is not so great. “What do you do?” implies you are asking what someone does for a living. This makes people define themselves by how they earn a paycheck. What if they are in transition? What if they hate their job?

So you can see how this simple and common question can quickly make someone uncomfortable. Plus, you are not really getting to know that person.

Here are some alternative questions to ask instead:

  1. If you won the lottery what would you do?
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What do you like to do?
  4. What is your favorite thing that you own?
  5. How do you spend your days?
  6. What are you most excited about right now?
  7. What are you working on?
  8. What are you most proud of?
  9. What’s the number one item on your bucket list?
  10. What gets you up in the morning?

The number one thing people want to talk about is themselves. When you facilitate this, you’ll be remembered because they enjoyed the conversation. Just remember: A good question prompts people to tell a story about themselves, in turn creating a deeper connection.

Now let’s examine some ways to answer “What do you do?” because you will undoubtedly get that question. Do you say, “I’m a marketing manager” or “I work for ACME Corporation”? My guess is 95 percent of you answer with something along those lines.

Don’t let your work define you. How would you answer that question if you are currently between jobs? You might feel a little deflated when someone asks you that, especially if you haven’t given much thought into what you should answer.

What if you designed a different way of answering that question? What if you told a story? For example, I might answer that question with, “Right now I am really excited to be launching a new product that will help marketers manage their personal brand in only two minutes a day.”

It’s not true, but if that sounded interesting to you, let me know, and I may just start working on that.

To start to tell your story, think about these three things:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. How do you serve them or provide value?
  3. What results are achieved?

Small Blog, Big Strategy

It’s incredibly tough for even the biggest brands to master content marketing. So what about small blogs? How are they staying relevant today? Microtargeting and interest-based awareness have changed digital strategy and these tactics are now home to small bloggers.

Kia Street blogIt’s incredibly tough for even the biggest brands to master content marketing. So what about small blogs? How are they staying relevant today? Microtargeting and interest-based awareness have changed digital strategy and these tactics are now home to small bloggers.

Let’s call “small” any blog with more than five active content contributors and at least a few published posts. Sound like you? Keep reading for more of my take on how to amplify your blog’s online presence. If you site has yet to be born, refer to this easy-to-digest explanation on the first steps of getting a website — securing a domain name.

kia street blog graphicDevelop Reasonable KPIs

No matter how big or small the budget, there are plenty of ways to get your content out there. For example:

  • Be at the top of results when users search for you on Google
  • Maximize reach and awareness of new posts immediately after release
  • Drive and sustain website traffic via Twitter and referrals
  • Focus on what is most important to your business: such as user acquisition, overall awareness and user engagement.

This allows you to divide and conquer with paid search, native advertising, social media and affiliate marketing. Consider this perspective when developing your own KPIs.

Aggregate Your Audience Data

What does your audience like on each channel? What do they care about?

Ask your audience data a lot of questions to help you dive further into who your readers are, how they use the chosen platform and what type of content they respond to most. Now see if you can match your blog’s content to the trends found within your audience data. This can help you understand if you’re offering the right content for your audience.

Think of your analysis as instant market research. Your audience data allows you to truly map out your customer’s journey. Some marketers are innovating this concept entirely by creating content paths to match their content marketing goals.

Identify a Content Strategy

Once you’ve solidified your goals and target audience, examine your strategy. Nix any initiatives that don’t contribute to your ultimate mission. What is it that you ultimately want your audience to do? The answer to this question should drive your content marketing strategy.

Experiment With Social Tactics

Experiment with targeted content that is engaging and personalized. Be transparent and interesting to your users. Here are a few simple ideas to make this happen:

  • Host a live Q&A panel on Periscope featuring your editorial staff;
  • Let the audience choose the topic of your next blog post via Twitter polling;
  • Find, attend and capture industry events with Instagram Stories.

Depending on your audience and the theme of your blog, there are many ways of standing out to both followers and non-followers, alike. Play with and test different tactics for best results!

kia blog post chartLearn, Try, Repeat

The best piece of advice for any small blogger is to learn, try, repeat. Here are three principles for riding the trend waves of your industry:

There are tons of sources that can provide you with the training you need to be successful in content marketing. Use them!

You can never go wrong with experimentation, but you can definitely go wrong without it. Don’t be hesitant toward failure.

Digital changes by the second — and so do the needs of your audience. Remember to periodically optimize content to fit the needs of your users.

Learn, try, repeat: It’s the most effective way for small blogs to sustain authority and relevancy in 2017 (and beyond!)

Walk a Mile in Your Client’s Shoes

Agency folks love to complain about the pace of our work, the numerous bosses (AKA “clients”), the often restricted budgets, creative latitude and so on. It is human nature to bemoan the challenges we face personally, but to serve the interests of our clients we also have to factor in the obstacles our clients must, in turn, surmount.

Hipster shoesAgency folks love to complain about the pace of our work, the numerous bosses (AKA “clients”), the often restricted budgets, creative latitude and so on. It is human nature to bemoan the challenges we face personally, but to serve the interests of our clients we also have to factor in the obstacles our clients must, in turn, surmount.

The worst thing an agency partner can do is bring no ideas. The second worse thing is to present an idea, concept or approach to a client that does not fit their strategy or creates a headache disproportionate to the potential upside and opportunity. It’s the headache that often gets discounted or ignored. You’re just bad at your job if you are off strategy — but the risk-reward balancing trick is tough to achieve for anyone without a crystal ball and even tougher without the consideration of internal decision factors that the client may not explicitly divulge. This is where perceptive agency partners take a walk in their clients’ shoes.

Agencies are regularly tasked with helping their clients locate the edge that is relevant, strategic and effective for clients without pushing them over that edge. It’s the proverbial fine line that is influenced by factors well beyond those commonly found in a plan or brief. Marketers confront pressures unique to their particular environment when making difficult and finessed decisions regarding budgets, partners and opportunities. This allows them to make the best decision for their business in that space and time. It may not be the optimal decision according to a sterile predictive model but none of us live in that sterile world.

How can we factor in the real world issues that can and should influence marketing decisions?

Some Things We Can Glean From Historical Response

Have similar recommendations met with resistance or delay in the past? What was the underlying reason for that resistance? Is it likely to change or is it endemic to the organization or industry?

Industry factors like regulatory constraints should be pretty straight forward and clearly considered but companies and individuals have different appetites for risk that also need to be considered. You can moderate the tendency to play it too safe over time by building trust, gaining proof points with successful recommendations and a thorough, objective examination and presentation of your plans.