June 30, 2021 | Sophie Caswell
Marketing isn’t easy. Not because it’s difficult to come up with effective strategies and ideas, the tricky bit is filtering the options of what you could do from what you should do.
What really doesn’t help is that everyone is an ‘expert’ – from the Chairman to your Mum… Everyone has their own ideas. And they’re going to tell you what they are, and they’ll be frustrated if you don’t follow their advice.
So, what do you do if you’re The Marketing Society and you need to market yourselves? You’re an organisation packed to the gunnels with the créme de la créme of the marketing industry – everyone thinks the website needs an overhaul and everyone has a view on what that should be.
No wonder the debate for the website redesign had been raging for 2 years. But when you’re Sophie Devonshire, new CEO of The Marketing Society, you book a Decision Sprint!
A bold choice? Bringing in a tech innovation company to facilitate a marketing industry conundrum? Maybe, but when the pressure’s on and you’re faced with difficult choices sometimes a different perspective is needed to solve the deadlock.
Sophie’s brief was simple: design a landing page which attracts more membership applications. The challenge was less simple: listen to everyone’s views, get consensus.
But perhaps the reason why The Decision Sprint process is so successful is that it’s designed to be a level playing field with specific methodologies which fly in the face of the traditional workshop techniques which everyone expects.
Firstly we used the Together Alone methodology to get everyone’s points out in the open, swiftly and without debate or dispute. It achieves this by a rapid fire ideation process where everyone in the session is asked to focus on the same question and write down their answers but without talking. These answers are then read silently by everyone and voted on anonymously for a collective prioritisation of what is truly important.
Now don’t get me wrong, achieving consensus amongst a group of people who are all used to being the thought leaders in the room can still take a little longer than usual. But it was amazing to see just how quickly this group of experts who started on very different pages, arrived at a collective point of view on what was the priority and focus of our efforts.
Armed with this focus the team were then asked to research for 20 minutes and find examples of organisations who had similar challenges on the web and how they had solved them. The ideas could be big or small, just relevant and ideally outside the sector.
We then embarked on a Lightning Tour where each member does a ‘Show and Tell’ of what they had found and liked, whilst other team members write down and anonymously share what they like from these examples and also where there might be sticking points.
This is a really fun and liberating exercise, not only does it help teams see that their challenges are not unique, but they can look for insight from outside their industry and get real inspiration for what ‘could’ be possible, with some fantastic ideas on how to approach similar challenges in very different ways.
The team was then asked to silently and individually review the ideas and comments ending with a vote on those which they felt best addressed these challenges.
Armed with these ideas and a clear vision of priorities, we set about assessing the practicalities of implementing these ideas. The Marketing Society had a very limited time window in which to design, build and release the site so practicality was vital. We set about plotting the priority ideas on an Effort/Impact Scale to decide what elements were going to give the greatest value within viable time scales, and which would be important but would be a ‘Day 2’ project.
This gave the team confidence in the direction of the decisions and the likelihood of achieving them in time. From these priorities The Marketing Society then asked Brew Digital to draw up a wireframe and a Mockup of their landing page. The team reviewed these designs with the prioritisation from the Sprint and these were approved within 48 hours! This is a website which has been under debate for 2 years!!
Within one month of going live the membership applications had increased 3 fold and if that isn’t a measure of success, then I don’t know what is!
This just goes to show what can happen when you get great minds aligned.