One of the most important situations we prepare for here at CREW is presenting powerful recommendations. It’s an essential development step for anyone in marketing but frankly it’s also valuable for those in a leadership position as well. The strength of your recommendations could mean the difference between going in a strategic direction or continuing down an aimless path.
For example, I recently asked one of our younger in-house digital marketers, “Should our client be investing in a strong PPC (Pay-Per-Click) strategy?”. He didn’t know how to respond at first—as that question has a lot of ‘it depends’ scenarios—which is common among new hires and it’s where a lot of people usually get stuck.
When making recommendations to our clients we use the Three C’s Approach so that we can help move them towards action and provide better results:
I’ll stick with this PPC scenario to illustrate how we address these kinds of business issues on behalf of our clients.
When faced with a decision we first look to understand its strategic context. What is the overall objective the client is trying to achieve? Who is the target audience online and does that audience makes the most sense for the brand? What is the search volume and what are the key words currently being used? Is the competition active in PPC? What is the process of converting visitors to customers within the pipeline? If we don’t understand the big picture we will not be able to add greater value.
The next step is to clarify the recommendation using rationale that meets the objectives. For example, if the client’s objective is to increase sales of lower priced items to young adults in urban centres, then ‘yes’ they should invest in a PPC strategy. We then assign specifics in order to create a compelling case, such as: at $1,500/mo., for these specific key words and in these specific geographies, they should expect a 22% ROI (Return on Investment) in six (6) months. Clarity is always best when you can back-up your thinking with objective information and research.
Hopes and dreams don’t make a marketing strategy come to life, action does. Communicating next steps, in terms of tasks and deadlines, ensures everyone involved is engaged in the process. For example, if the client wishes to proceed and they want to launch this PPC effort in two weeks, we would communicate that we need budget approval on the scope of work by Friday at 3pm to make sure we can dedicate our time and resources accordingly. We then ask, “Are you OK with that?” The key focus with this type of communication is to set expectations and increase our chances of success; as well as, wanting no one to walk away from a meeting or phone call uncertain of what’s about to take place.
So there you have it, our Three C’s Approach to making powerful recommendations.
Have a great day!