In the previous post, Discovery, I wrote that a strong strategy and effective tactics are born from solid insight.
Now that you are armed with a strong Discovery Project and have the facts and insights, it is time to start crafting a Strategy and developing a Scope of Work.
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” –Sun Tzu
The first step in a strategy plan is establishing clearly defined goals. When you have a clearly defined set of goals, and know how you are going to determine success, combined with the data and insights obtained from a thorough Discovery Project, then you are ready to begin planning a Strategy.
While working on a strategy I like to start with job descriptions. I don’t mean job descriptions for people, but rather in-depth job descriptions for your website and for your marketing collateral and platforms. Having a detailed job description helps to define the purpose and performance expectations.
With a set of goals and job description in hand, creative strategy planning can then begin with brainstorming session. The more ideas you can explore, the better your chances are of finding the right strategy for your business and your budget. While the big ideas are flying around the table, keep an eye on the goals.
Each and every goal should have a strategy attached in order to achieve success, and the overall strategy should tie these together into a smooth development plan.
Scope of Work
“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” –Yogi Berra
The Scope of Work serves as the road map to building and deploying your project. A Scope of Work includes the design and technical considerations needed to accurately obtain estimates and identifies the resources that you will need from your own team as well as the resources you’ll need to purchase and hire.
Today everything is—and well should be—centered around the ‘user’s experience’ and so process mapping of features, functions, and calls to action should also take place. Think through the nuances of how your website, social media platforms, and your campaigns will perform. There is a feedback loop to be considered here, meaning that the customer’s or prospect’s interactions deliver data and results, and therefore process mapping should include what data you want to collect and how or if it will integrate with any of your enterprise solutions and your business operation.
With a well-developed Scope of Work you are more likely to get competitive responses that are more apples-to-apples rather than grapes-to-pineapples, and it weeds out providers who can’t meet your needs.
Breaking down the information that should be included in a Scope of Work, I suggest the following outline:
- Begin with a general overview of the nature of the project.
- Provide some company background and brand story to give your prospective vendors a solid sense of who you are.
- Set the tone and standards for the work to be done as well as lay out the results that are expected.
- Describe the expectations for project management and communications.
- Include project milestones as well as review and approval process.
- Set the expectations for length of engagement.
- Include your goals and objectives. Be fair and include what you expect from the work and how you intend to measure and monitor performance.
- Break out Features, Functions, and Process Mapping in as much detail as possible.
- Review requirements post project such as updates, maintenance and changes.
- Open for suggestions (sometimes you get some great ideas from here but make sure that these are quoted separately to keep the playing field level).
Once you’ve completed Discovery, Strategy and Scope you are ready to go to Design/Build/Deploy. Sound overwhelming?
Yes, it can be overwhelming, but by going through these steps you’ll find two things for certain: 1) you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it, and 2) clear and specific guidelines for vendors and providers, minimizing the risk of budget and schedule surprises.
If you are still overwhelmed, you can contract for Discovery, Strategy, and Scope of Work development and even Project Management services from a firm that isn’t actually going to be doing the work. This can be a great solution for the busy executive who is juggling multiple priorities. Outsourcing these critical steps also ensures that the outcomes are not limited to a marketing firm’s area of expertise and can give you more objective results. You wouldn’t do your own bookkeeping and taxes unless you were schooled in this area; likewise, doing your own marketing and technology projects should be conceived, managed and performed by professionals.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.