Take advantage of some of the best advice I’ve ever received… “zoom out”.
Throughout the year, we are bogged down with crossing items off our seemingly endless list, attempting to tie up each quarter with a pretty bow. According to Boston Consulting Group, “white space” is created by underlying consumer needs not being met by current offerings. When businesses better meet needs, consumers do not have to concede and choose from what’s available (or choose to not purchase). So how do we open our minds for a potential big idea? Sometimes, we simply need to slow down and “zoom out” as we buckle down for the next quarter. Identifying white space opportunities can be difficult if we are caught in the minutiae of the daily grind.
Understand your clients’ big picture goals, and approach each account as if it were brand new to you
Sometimes it can be hard to pull ourselves out of work mode even on the weekend, but make sure you enjoy your personal time. With the end of the quarter fast approaching, I urge you to allow yourself to take time at the end of each week to clear your head and step back from work. The practice of zooming out takes a positive, relaxed mindset, so carve out a sufficient period of time to step back. A fresh, rested mind will aid you the following week to focus on what is in front of you, understand the bigger picture and approach each account as if it were brand new.
It is not a one-and-done task. There is no shortage of new technology, new app trends, or new viral sensations, allowing yourself time to relax will help you focus on growth and stay competitive.
Audit your day to day operations
It is crucial to “think big” and inspect how consumer behavior changes as technology progresses in order to stay relevant. Whether you reflect on your logo, tagline, or website functionality (you don’t have to re-brand every other week) the act of stopping your usual day-to-day tasks is beneficial. Try setting a recurring calendar invite as a reminder.
You can audit your day-to-day operations by asking yourself questions like:
- Does my internal structure lend itself to the client’s structure and business goals?
- Are roles and responsibilities distributed properly and clearly communicated?
- Are employees empowered to ideate and share ideas?
- Are there processes and best practices in place to drive ROI?
- Is the reporting process streamline, and does it provide actionable insights?
Questions like these can serve as a temperature-check to help boost productivity and keep you one step ahead.
All of this sounds great in a vacuum… but what would a marketing exercise be without clear, measurable results?
An opportunity worth of tens of thousands of dollars
The Digital Media team here at Path has made a point to set aside time to think freely and get back to marketing “basics” so we can come up with big picture strategies to promote the compelling and meaningful offers/core competencies of our clients. After one of my recent “zoom out” sessions, I was scanning a client website and competitive landscape looking for new opportunities. I began browsing, clicking in random patterns and creating possible conversion funnels, and within ten minutes I found what I was looking for!
There it was, a skinny banner speaking to a promotion that was not included in our quarterly strategy. I clicked into the landing page and after examining the dates and eligibility details of the promotion, I reached out the client to explore how we could support the special using paid search. We proposed a few strategies and with just a small test, we drove significant incremental revenue that was directly attributed to paid search campaigns.
After seeing the performance potential, we were prepared to turn around future projects quickly and opened a dialogue for how we could support similar promotions in the future. Before this, revenue was down year-over-year for the client and while we were closing the gap, it wasn’t enough to push the trend positive… until we took this time to zoom out and consider how every part of the marketing strategy could work together to support the bigger picture goals of the company. Ultimately, that first test campaign, created a ripple-effect of other successful campaigns and amounted to tens of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue for the client.
Tens of thousands of dollars of incremental revenue, generated from less than 10 minutes of pure, unbridled, uninterrupted thinking.
Achieve your clients marketing goals
Small and seemingly inconsequential moments are often those that make a large impact on the success of clients’ big picture marketing goals, so it’s a marketer’s analytical ability and gut instinct in those moments that really matter. This is why agencies (and of course, their clients) search painstakingly to find, acquire, and retain top talent.
During a speech a few years back, the head of planning for a major retailer urged new college graduates to not be afraid of brainstorming and challenging the status quo. Even if only 1 out of 10 ideas is a gem, that one new idea can be the catalyst for major change and success. Taking the time to “zoom out” and think big, may be the first step towards your next great idea!
How will you zoom out?