Your Next Big Launch Is ... Small

August 19, 2019 Kalev Peekna

When it’s time for a new website, app or rebrand, it’s common to approach it as one large project. Lots of time, money and resources are invested, until voila: the big reveal. While exciting, trying to tackle everything at once has a problem, a bimodal one.

The Bimodal ProblemThe Bimodal ProblemLarge-scale marketing efforts often result in a bimodal or “camel-hump” curve. The curve represents how we reinvest in our digital tools. We spend a lot of money in one year on a big project, then try to “run the platform” for a few years, until we acknowledge that it’s time to throw the thing out and start all over again.The Emoti-coasterIt’s essentially an emotional rollercoaster. At the onset, you’re excited. But as the project progresses, the pressure to do everything is overwhelming. Other work gets pushed aside. Intensity builds. Until ... the big launch. Hooray! But it’s short-lived. It’s time to return to all that neglected work. You want to keep the momentum going, but there’s no money left. Bitterness sets in. Then anger. Until... more funding! Yay! And it begins all over again.

Don’t Go BigImprovements as SupplementsWhen you approach every marketing effort as one big project, you’re dealing with more than emotional whiplash and burnout. With every redesign or re-platform, it gets more expensive. Time is spent replacing things that already work. In addition, you can’t respond nimbly to emerging trends, market conditions or even to make a few small updates.Staggered InvestmentChances are good that you approach most of your major investments this way – leading to a staggered but relentless shift of attention from one thing to the next. It’s time to say good-bye to the rollercoaster and hello to a smoother, more effective approach.

Endurance Marketing
Every marketing initiative, whether it’s a new digital strategy or a brand rehaul, should be viewed as a multi-year program versus a one-and-done project. We call it endurance marketing. It shares a similar ethos as agile marketing, except endurance is easier. You don’t have to create new processes or restructure your teams. Simply move away from the big-bang way of solving problems and move toward continuous, ongoing efforts. When you do, great things happen, such as:

  • Continuous improvement – ability to make incremental improvements, so nothing becomes obsolete
  • Flexibility – ability to assess and react to market conditions more nimbly
  • Predictability of spend – fewer surprises and better ability to distribute marketing dollars to efforts
  • Happiness – less stress and burnout

Real-Life ExamplesAmazon.com circa 2006 and 2019Amazon.com
When was the last time Amazon.com redesigned? It’s hard to pinpoint a specific moment. And yet, when you compare Amazon.com from 2006 to Amazon.com today, there’s a significant difference. The fact is, Amazon.com is continuously redesigning — it’s just gradual and methodical. 

BCG Careers site circa 2012 and 2019Boston Consulting Group
With a major rebrand, it’s typical to wait for everything to be figured out before redoing the website. BCG didn’t wait. Instead, it created a separate careers site that allowed the firm to test its new brand messaging and design. Then BCG integrated the new branding into its main website. No big flashy reveal. No big wait time, either.

5 Ways to Endure Endurance
We know ‘slow and steady wins the race;’ however, embracing endurance can sometimes be a challenge, particularly for professional services organizations. Many PSOs are accustomed to the big-project mindset; it’s how client problems are solved. But marketing isn’t a one-time project. It’s time to endure. Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Think “Program,” Not “Project”
    Abandon the project mentality and think of your marketing efforts as ongoing programs.Project versus program management
  2. Chunk It Up
    Don’t do everything at once. Take your long-term program and break it into short-term actions or a series of releases. You’ll be able to focus on the priorities of the organization. And no one thing will take over all your time, attention and budget.
  3. Establish Dedicated Digital Leadership
    Hire or designate a digital leader. This is not a marketing communications manager, but someone who:
    *  Has executive-level interaction
    *  Focuses on the business vision, governance and performance
    *  Develops digital capabilities across tools and platforms
    *  Manages cross-functional teams (marketing, IT, business development, etc.)
    *  Doesn’t have 100+ other things to do
  4. Be a Data-Addict
    When you’re working on smaller releases, you’ll have the time to analyze data — what’s working/not working. You also have the flexibility to take action. Be freakishly reliant on the data. Use it to inform decisions and guide the next iteration.
  5. Rethink Budgeting
    Budget to cost — not to scope. Rather than asking, “How much will this cost?” instead say, “I have this much money. How much can I get done?” This will aid in prioritization and focus on the highest impact investments.

Interested in Endurance Marketing?
Let’s talk. We’d love to help you walk away from the big-launch mindset and begin enjoying the benefits of endurance marketing. In the meantime, watch Breaking the Bimodal Cycle for a deeper dive into the concept.

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Kalev Peekna Managing Director, Chief Strategist

Kalev Peekna is the Chief Strategist at One North, leading the Digital Strategy team. He brings a cross-platform, user-focused approach to innovations in brand development, design, data analysis and technology, and helps clients apply those innovations to their strategic aims.

  • If I were a vegetable: I would be broccoli. Because I have always wanted someone to call me “cruciferous.” 
  • Most unusual job: Cocktail bartender at a Cabaret

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