That’s at the heart of all 7 principles I’ll share with you today so you can master marketing rollouts. Lack of decision is the death of done.
In my 15 years at the helm of Big Buzz, never have I seen a marketing executive so swiftly and gracefully move through a series of decisions culminating in a massive rollout as I did Missy Day of Sinceri Senior Living (formerly JEA Senior Living). She decided who would make the choices. She decided how and when to include her CEO and COO. She was quite decisive in her feedback on and approvals of each marketing asset – dozens in total.
Missy and I are lecturing together next month at the Washington Healthcare Association Winter Conference (Fireside Chat: How to Unify the Whole Team Around One Cohesive, Differentiating Brand), and she tells her full story on a recent episode of our podcast, Marketing Mysteries Solved!.
Meantime, I’d like to share here with you seven ways I witnessed her master the rollout one decision at a time. While in this case she was rolling out a new brand, these principles can apply to a campaign rollout or any other marketing rollout.
Limit the number of decision-makers.
Too often I see larger care organizations involve too many people up front in the marketing process and end up with too many chefs in the kitchen. When a larger collective cannot decide, no one decides. Limit the reviewers of every marketing asset to no more than three. Missy and her two colleagues Matt and April did just that. Certainly, they involved investors, executives, board members, brand ambassadors and front-line employees in data-driven marketing surveys and focus groups to gain buy-in and set an overall direction on which everyone could agree. With that actionable data in hand, they made great decisions on individual projects. Stakeholders were pleased with Missy and her team’s choices because their voices were represented in the first place.
Gain executive approval.
The jobs of the CEO and COO are not in marketing. Their respective duties are to envision the organization’s future and implement the right operational change to get there. Missy and her team included the CEO and COO in surveys, focus groups and rollout milestones, but not in every meeting and certainly not on every project. The top executives had eyes on what they needed to know – that the vision was being fulfilled and that they had the power to operationally carry out that vision.
Consider projects complete at 80%.
Your competitors are going for 100% on every marketing project, and this is slowing their time to market. Edge out tight competition in your industry simply by making steady progress with marketing rather than aiming for perfection. When the core decision-makers agree that a project is at 80%, it’s time to get it to market, measure outcomes and adjust as needed. Missy and her team launched a new website for their 60-location organization in a shorter period than I’ve seen some single-location communities accomplish. They launched at 80% knowing how easy it would be to continually make improvements over time. The operative word in the phrase “go to market” is “go”!
Get into relationships with hired agencies.
The agency you hire is not a vendor. When Missy signed on with the agencies of choice, she knew she was investing in relationships with each one. Sure, she asked the agencies to uphold certain commitments, but at the same time, she committed to holding up her end of the deal. She showed up prepared and on time for nearly every strategy session. She regularly asked for agendas so she and her team would be ready and on point throughout each session. She equally participated and gave voice to the agency leaders and her team. She asked great questions of everyone in the meetings. Marketing is about moving people to act. We must start with those we work with on these initiatives, first making way for inspiring dialogue so we can eventually inspire the external market.
Limit the number of reviews.
How many times did you review your last marketing project? If your answer was more than three, that’s too many. Armed with the right internal survey and focus group data, Missy and her team rarely went more than two review rounds. They knew the message and look were right since brand standards had been approved months earlier. They made a few redline edits and were ready to approve.
Sign the approval and move on.
If your agency is not already having you sign an approval form before launching each new project to market, absolutely insist that they do. This simple act signified to Missy, her team and everyone on the agency team that a particular project was finished and no longer open for changes. This allowed the collective marketing team to move forward swiftly and confidently on each next priority in the rollout process.
Trust the process.
One of my favorite mantras in my marketing work is, “Trust your former self.” I decided. I had all the right facts and data I needed to decide. I involved all the right people to validate my choice. I do not need to waste time second-guessing myself.
Which of these seven principles have you already mastered? Which one will you focus on this week to improve?
Big Buzz is a marketing agency delivering a steady stream of move-in-ready leads to teams serving the senior living industry. For more than 15 years, Big Buzz has helped senior living marketing and sales teams nurture leads to increase occupancy, grow and scale. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of the book Flourish!: The Method Used by Aging Services Organizations for the Ultimate Marketing Results, has been published in McKnight’s, has been a regular contributor to Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. The Big Buzz leadership team regularly lectures in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees, including at Argentum and various LeadingAge chapters. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association, HubSpot Academy Inbound Marketing Certification, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch.