How to solve a marketing problem

How to solve a marketing problem

Do you need to know how to solve a marketing problem? Not sure about how to go about find the solution?

I’ve created a critical thinking and marketing problem solving toolkit below to help!

How to approach a marketing problem

The step-by-step approach to solving a marketing problem

  1. Define the problem
  2. Understand the Business Impact
  3. List, Assess and Choose Solutions
  4. Understand who is involved with the problem and the solution
  5. Define the metrics and systems for measuring the success of the solution
  6. Implement the solution
  7. Measure the impact
  8. Refine the solution

Step 1: Define the problem

Marketers are alerted to problems in a number of ways.

  1. Your data shows there’s a problem
  2. Your customers or customer service team say there’s a problem
  3. Your boss or client says there’s a problem

The ideal situation is where you find out about a problem with scenario 1: your data shows there is a problem. If this is the case, you can hopefully do something about it before it becomes a real problem that affects your customers, boss and other stakeholders. 

This scenario is PROACTIVE: you act on the early data signals before it becomes a REAL problem.

In scenarios 2 and 3 the problem has already become a REAL problem and you have no option but to be REACTIVE. Your customers are angry. Your boss is angry. Everyone is angry. And it is your job to fix it.

SIGNALS and ALERTS from data are your best friends and allies. Your data alerts you to potential problems before they even become real problems, so this means you need to become DATA HUNGRY to the extreme.  Marketers NEVER have enough data.

The DEFINITION OF A PROBLEM is when a situation or event moves, or has the potential to move, a business into a non-ideal, non-profitable state.

Typical examples of marketing problems are:

  • Lead volumes are too low
  • Lead quality is too poor
  • Sales are down this quarter compared to the same quarter last year
  • Conversion rates are dropping
  • Customers are churning
  • Revenue is dropping
  • Cost per lead is increasing
  • Customers reviews are terrible

Marketing sits in the middle of the business and is accountable for these and other problems. Not necessarily RESPONSIBLE for the problem but certainly accountable.

This means that Marketing needs to be right in the middle of the data stream. Marketing needs to be omniscient and know it all.

Once Marketing is AWARE of the problem, we then need to DEFINE the problem.

What is causing the problem? Why are leads down? Why are customers unhappy? Why are sales down? Why is cost per lead up?

WHY is the most important question a Marketer can ask and answer. Marketers now bring out their pipes and deerstalker caps and become DETECTIVES.

This is the PROBLEM SOLVING part of Marketing and is often the most fun and important part of the job.

For this phase you:

  1. Gather information and clues
  2. Round up the suspects
  3. Eliminate suspects based on their alibis
  4. Close in on the primary suspect
  5. Say AHA! 

Your PROBLEM DEFINITION now includes the following puzzle pieces:

  1. What happened?
  2. When did it happen?
  3. How did it happen (who or what caused the problem)?

You now need to evaluate the BUSINESS IMPACT of the problem.

Step 2: Understand the Business Impact

All Marketing problems have a Business Impact (otherwise they would just be called nuisances).

The Business Impact of a PROBLEM is always LOSS OF PROFIT but it’s very important to understand the micro-impacts problems create on their way to the final loss-of-profit impact.

Problems are like ripples in a lake that become bigger and bigger until they crash into the boat and capsize it.

Let’s revisit some of the Marketing problems from before and define the Business Impact for each.

Lead volumes are too low

Marketing is responsible for many things but at the top of the funnel marketing needs to bring in adequate LEAD VOLUMES for the Sales team to convert. This is the first potential friction point between the Marketing team and the Sales team. Marketing says there are enough leads but Sales says they need more. 

Business Impact: low leads -> low sales -> low revenue -> low profit

Lead quality is too poor

This is another famous friction point between Marketing and Sales: Marketing brings in adequate lead volumes but Sales says the lead quality is poor and they cannot sell to these junk leads.

Business Impact: poor quality leads -> low sales -> low revenue -> low profit

Sales are down this quarter compared to the same quarter last year

Marketers will need to do some detective work to figure out why sales are down compared to the same time period last year. No matter the reason, the business impact is clear:

Business Impact: low sales -> low revenue -> low profit

Conversion rates are dropping

This problem needs a better definition. Conversion rate could mean many different things in different businesses. 

Conversion could mean:

  • Visitor to lead %
  • Lead to sale %
  • Visitor to sale %
  • Etc

It’s important to get the definition of CONVERSION right so that you understand the Business Impact.

A single sale has many, many micro-conversion events that precede the sale. These micro-conversions all play their part in creating the final sale and this is the basis for ATTRIBUTION MODELS where Marketers try to define the value each micro-conversion event has in the final, overall conversion event itself.

However, no matter what the conversion definition, or the micro-conversion events that lead up to the final conversion event, there is a business impact:

Business Impact: lower conversion rates – > lower sales -> lower revenue -> lower profit

Customers are churning

It is 100% true that it is cheaper to RETAIN a customer than to ACQUIRE a new one.

An incredible amount of resources and marketing effort should be dedicated to customer retention. When people stop using your product or service, or start to slow down their engagements with you, there is a Marketing Problem.

Business Impact: customer churn -> lower revenue -> lower profit

Revenue is dropping

The Retention team in your business has an incredibly important task: revenue generation.

Revenue generation can be accomplished by:

  • Reducing customer churn
  • Increasing average revenue per customer
  • Reacquiring lapsed customers

Business impact: lower revenue -> lower profit

Cost per lead is increasing

The price you pay for a lead (cost per lead) has a direct impact on profitability. Marketing investment in paid advertising is a business expense, and your finance team will keep telling you to reduce costs while increasing revenue in order to maintain or increase profitability.

The Paid Media team in your Marketing department has an important role to play in reducing cost per lead.

This can be done through optimising paid media campaigns and through increasing lead generation from non-paid (ORGANIC) channels. Organic lead generation can happen through other Marketing channels such as SEO (search engine optimization), word of mouth, increasing brand or product awareness and referral traffic from other websites.

Business impact: high cost per lead-> higher marketing expenses-> lower profit

Customer reviews are terrible

Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing. When people rate your brand, product or service badly, it has a devastating effect on your profit.

Business impact: poor reviews -> lower leads->lower sales->lower revenue->lower profit

and

Business impact: poor reviews -> increased customer churn -> lower revenue -> lower profit

Step 3: List, Assess and Choose Solutions

Now that you’ve identified the problem and the business impact, you need to identify possible solutions. You can rely on your own experience or the wisdom of others to figure out how to solve the problem.

Begin by making a list of potential solutions. Once you’ve got your list, you will need to assess the solutions, rate them and then choose which you will implement.

Certain problems have more than one viable solution, and some may even require an entire set of actions to solve.

Let’s look at some examples.

Solutions for: Lead volumes are too low

The people in your sales or business development team will usually sound the alarm to let you know that the lead volumes are too low.

You can also use proper budgeting and forecasting to plan your lead volumes for a specific time period. When you measure your actual lead volumes and compare to budget or forecast, you will know if your lead volumes are too low, too high or just right.

What solutions can solve for low lead volumes?

  • Short term solution; spend more on paid advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn
  • Short term solution: fix broken lead generation forms or optimise your landing pages
  • Short term solution: reduce lead filtering questions on forms
  • Short term solution: send out email blast to an acquisition database
  • Medium term solution: fix your conversion problems (impression to click, visitor to lead)
  • Medium term solution: implement a promotion/giveaway/contest
  • Medium term solution: increase direct engagement through live chat, messenger, WhatsApp and other places where your customer service team can engage with potential customers
  • Medium term solution: invest in organic social media posts and blog posts and share these to create awareness of your product or service
  • Medium term solution; automate your marketing through tools like Marketo, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot, SalesForce Pardot, Eloqua GetResponse etc and offer prospects value through lead magnets before converting them into qualified leads
  • Long term solution: invest in SEO to get more leads from organic search
  • Long term solution: invest in brand building to encourage word of mouth lead generation

How do you select the right solution to implement? 

Assess whether the problem and business impact requires URGENT action. If the business impact is high and the problem is urgent, you need to DO SOMETHING about it immediately. This means implementing one or more of the short term solutions.

At the same time, you should consider fixing the problem in the long term, which will require investing time and money in the medium and long term solutions in your list.

The solution you choose needs to fall within your marketing budget – can you actually afford to spend more on Facebook ads or implement that high-ticket automation system?

Solutions for: Lead quality is too poor

So your sales or business development team are giving you negative feedback about the lead quality, or you notice that your lead to sale rate has tanked. There might be a problem with your lead quality. In fact, even if your lead quality is perceived to be relatively good, there are always things you can do to improve it.

Let’s explore some solutions for improving your lead quality.

Target the right people with your ads

Are your ads showing to the right audience? There might be some specific aspects about your product or service that exclude some people from becoming qualified leads. Your product isn’t for EVERYBODY (unless you’re selling bread or milk or water).

Audiences might be the wrong fit for our product based on their:

  • Location
  • Age group
  • Financial situation
  • Interests
  • Attitudes and motivations
  • Technology profile (access to the Internet, access to smart devices)
  • Career and work experience
  • Education and qualifications
  • Purchasing history
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Religious or political views

Audience data and targeting options are FAST disappearing from advertising platforms due to privacy concerns and a new wave of regulations – and this means you can no longer target the correct audience as accurately as you could in the past. 

Despite this, you need to focus on getting your message in front of the RIGHT people as effectively as possible.

Fine-tune your messaging

People are attracted to your ads, read the message and take a nano-second to decide if they will click on the ad or not. Your advertising messaging must ensure you get clicks from the RIGHT people who are most likely to convert. An ad that gets a ton of clicks but never results in conversions is worthless in terms of your business objectives.

Your messaging needs to be:

  • Accurate
  • Relevant
  • Representative of your product, service or brand
  • Act like a bouncer; make sure the right people get through the door, turn away those people who aren’t a good fit

The words and imagery in your ads act in concert with your overall messaging theme. Experiment with these to fine-tune your lead quality.

Examples of when messaging results in poor quality leads:

  • The ad looks and feels like it’s targeted at bargain hunters and people looking for deals and promotions (if this is your audience, great!)
  • Your ad doesn’t mention an ultra-important thing that excludes most people from accessing your product or service (e.g. you must own a specific brand of car, or have a very specific university qualification, or be interested in getting helicopter insurance)
  • Your ad overpromises but your product under delivers
  • Your message is just plain inaccurate or false (this product will make your hair grow back, guaranteed!)

Fine-tune your landing page and organic page copy

Your ads will direct people to your landing pages (created specifically for advertising campaigns) or your organic pages (your regular website pages).

You now have an opportunity to further qualify your potential leads with very clear ad copy: titles, imagery, headings and content that fully explains your product or service. If you’ve done a great job of qualifying your traffic with super specific ad copy and very well defined audience targeting, your landing pages will simply validate what you have already said. You will, however, experience some drop off as a percentage of people who click on your ad will get to your landing page and fall out of the customer journey funnel. This is OK but you need to measure your visitor to lead conversion rate and keep an eye on it.

Implement lead filtering questions

After people click on your ad and land at your landing page, you may ask them to complete a form to request a quote or more information.

This is a golden opportunity to implement lead filtering questions to ensure only the most qualified leads continue through the funnel.

Lead filtering questions need to match the restrictions, limitations or conditions you’ve already explained in your ad copy and your landing page copy. 

Filtering questions will also impact your visitor to lead rate and your overall cost per lead: your visitor to lead rate will decrease because your filtering questions are doing their job and preventing unqualified leads from continuing. If your filtering questions become stricter, your overall cost per lead will increase – and that is OK because your objective isn’t leads but SALES. Lead filtering questions will DECREASE your overall lead volumes (since people are filtered out) BUT your lead quality will improve.

Lead filtering questions are a great way to ensure your business development team or sales team work with great quality leads and don’t waste their time. When you look at your marketing costs PLUS sales/operations team costs combined, your overall lead to sale and cost per sale ratios are important.

Sales is what matters in the end, not leads, so keep this in mind when you review your campaign performance.

Solutions for: Sales are down this quarter compared to the same quarter last year

Why are sales down compared to last year this time? What has changed? How can we fix this?

This question has a myriad answers – and data can be your guide for finding the right solution. External factors (competition, pandemics, war, economic crashes and politics) always play a role in business performance and can explain a drop in sales, but what about internal factors your business CAN control?

Do you have the right measurement platforms in place to understand the exact levers that influence sales, revenue and profitability?

Internal reasons why sales are down could include:

  • Poor quality leads
  • Not enough leads
  • Website and technical issues (broken forms, poor user experience, broken payment gateways etc)
  • Sales team performance (inadequate training, low morale, poor commission or bonus structure, manual systems that slow down performance etc)
  • Product issues that result in a bad customer experience and negative sentiment 

It’s important to have a good understanding of seasonal trends for your business. Do we normally see a dip in December when people go on holiday? How do school holidays affect our business? Winter months vs Summer months? Seasonality is a real factor you need to be aware of when reviewing your sales trends.

Solutions for: Conversion rates are dropping

You can use data to optimise each step of the conversion funnel and customer lifecycle.

Impression to click conversion rate:

This is a measure of how effective your ad banner or text ad is in attracting clicks from people who see your advertising.

Increase this conversion metric by improving your ad images or ad text to make the ad more relevant to the audience. You can also improve this metric by ensuring your ads are shown to the right audience in the first place.

Website conversion rate:

You want people to take a specific action once they come to your website. This action might be to add a product to cart, complete a request for information form, start an application, request a quote or other.

These actions are called CONVERSION EVENTS and can be measured in Google Analytics or your own analytics platform.

You can improve the visitor to conversion event rate by modifying the web page or landing page and testing different:

  • Headlines
  • Supporting web copy
  • Features and benefits
  • Imagery
  • Layouts
  • Call to action buttons 
  • Form fields
  • Colours and typography

Lead to sale conversion rate:

Your lead to sale ratio is dependent on the quality of lead and the operational efficiency of your shopping cart system or sales team.

The best approach is to break the entire customer experience into smaller, micro-conversion events and reviewing how you can improve these. A small change at the top of the funnel can have a large impact on the overall sale volumes. Many small improvements have an impact on overall revenue.

Your goal must be to get really granular with how you measure and report on these micro-conversion events, test improvements and constantly refining the conversion funnel.

Solutions for: Customers are churning

Preventing and minimising customer churn is vital to the success of your business. It costs more to acquire than to retain a customer. 

Customer retention is an incredibly important part of your business and various techniques can be applied to maintain customer activity, purchasing and loyalty to your business.

Segmentation is key:

You should not treat all customers equally. Each customer gives you significant amounts of data which you can use to be relevant, helpful and appealing to your customers.

Your marketing information system should capture as much data about your customer (within privacy policies and regulation parameters) and this data should be centrally stored so that you are able to view a customer holistically.

Data collection allows you to improve your customer service and their overall experience with your business.

If customers enjoy dark chocolate, give them coupons for future dark chocolate purchases. If they like playing slots, give them promotions to play slots. If you know they just bought a house, offer them house insurance on top of their car insurance.

Customer segmentation can be based on many variables:

  • How they use your product
  • When they use your product
  • Why they use your product
  • Where they live
  • How old they are
  • Gender
  • Lifetime revenue
  • Revenue per month
  • Engagement rate
  • Behavioural factors

The specific segmentation factors you should use are determined by your business. In certain industries age makes no difference, but it could be very significant in life insurance, medical insurance or pharmaceutical industries, for example.

How you group customers into segments will determine what interventions you will implement to reduce customer churn.

Retailers offer shoppers coupons based on their historical purchasing behaviour. Casinos offer gamblers promotions based on their favourite games and their lifetime value. Insurance companies upsell policy holders based on their current risk profile and insured items.

The most important part of customer retention is caring enough about each customer so that you keep them happy. Once you have achieved this you will be rewarded with increased revenue per customer, increased lifetime value of each customer and reduced customer churn.

Solutions for: Revenue is dropping

Business revenue drops because of:

  • Decreased acquisition
  • Lower conversion rates
  • Customer churn
  • Decreased revenue per customer

Your business information system and reporting dashboards need to track all the above metrics so you can spot trends that require action.

The key lies within the data and the INSIGHTS you gather from the data. What are your customers saying? What is happening in the market? What are your sales people saying? What trends are your paid media team seeing? 

Is there increased competition? Are customers unhappy with your product or service? Are economic factors affecting your customers’ wallets and their ability to buy from you? How are external and internal factors affecting your business?

The research, analysis and insights you gather from a deep dive into your business will give you the correct course of action. These may require several actions to be implemented in the short, medium and long term.

Revenue minus costs equals profitability, so revenue is an ultra-important aspect of business survival. Deep analysis, constant review and timely action will ensure revenue is not derailed.

Solutions for: Cost per lead is increasing

You’ve noticed an increase in your cost per lead and you can’t figure out what’s going on. It’s time to start optimising your ad campaigns for the best possible return on investment. This means you need to start spending smarter.

How you do this depends on the platform. There are different techniques for optimising your campaigns on Facebook and Google Ads.

Optimise your Facebook Advertising

After you’ve run your Facebook ad campaigns for a while you will have a treasure trove of data you can use to optimise future campaigns.

Audience data is very interesting and can point to which demographics or audiences you get the best results from. The analysis tools within the Facebook Advertising platform allows you to drill down into audience metrics such as gender, age and more. The idea would be to identify the characteristics of your top performing audiences and spend more on those audiences.

It doesn’t end there though – analysis of your poor performing audiences may give you particular insights. Perhaps the creative material in your ads or the messaging doesn’t resonate well with a particular audience. This is an opportunity to change up your ads and messaging and test the new ads on your poor performing audiences while testing your hypotheses as to why the performance was poor.

You should create multiple ads and test different audiences. Stop the ads that aren’t performing well and spend more on those that are.

Optimising your campaigns is the best way to reduce costs and therefore lower your cost per lead or cost per sale.

Optimise your Google Ads campaigns

Start by doing an in-depth analysis of your campaigns. You should of course be monitoring performance constantly and adjusting, but it helps to take a broader look at overall performance and then dig deep into specific campaigns and ads.

Your analysis should include a review of performance by campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords. Dig into the audiences, demographics and placements to see where you are underperforming.

Google Ads has excellent automated bidding technology which allows you to set specific CPL goals and let the algorithms optimise for you. Test this.

Test performance by device type. Campaigns perform differently on computers, mobile devices and tablets. Your specific product and service offering will result in different performance across devices to other businesses. Test and see where you get the best results and then double down on these device types.

Use remarketing campaigns to target people who have previously visited your landing page and therefore shown interest. 

Google offers a number of different remarketing options:

  • Display network: ads are shown to past visitors on the apps and websites that form part of the Google Display Network
  • Dynamic remarketing: this option shows Google Ads to past visitors for specific products or services they previously saw on your site
  • Mobile app remarketing: Google Ads shows relevant ads to people who used your app when they use other apps or mobile sites
  • Remarketing lists for search ads: with this option you can target past visitors of your website through the Search Network
  • Video remarketing: Google will show ads to people on YouTube or the Google Display Network after they interact with your YouTube channel or videos 
  • Email list remarketing: this option allows you to upload an email list of your customers to the Google Ads platform which then uses Customer Match to serve ads to them on the Google Display Network, YouTube, Gmail or Google Search network

Another great way to optimize your Google Ads campaigns and reduce cost per lead is to use negative keywords. These are keywords that you DON’T want your ads to show for.

Analyse your keyword data using a Search Query Report (SQR) to find the actual phrases and words people are using in their searches to find your site. This will help you gain insight into the keywords you don’t want your ads to show for.

Your ads may perform differently depending on the day of the week or the time of day. You can use day parting to schedule your ads to only run at the highest-performing times.

Geography may also change ad performance. You can exclude your ads from showing in areas where you have historically spent but which resulted in low conversion or a high CPL.

Ad creative and ad copy can also play an important role and you should test different imagery, ad copy, call to actions, headlines and benefits to increase conversions and reduce cost per lead.

Drive more conversions from your landing page

You might be losing out on leads and spending more than you should on lead generation because the visitor to lead conversion rate of your landing page is poor.

Optimise your landing pages to ensure you unblock any friction points in this part of the conversion funnel.

Landing pages should be simple and uncluttered. 

Make it very easy for people to understand what you want them to do next and give them clear benefits and a clear call to action to take that next step. 

Ensure your landing page only has ONE call to action and don’t offer any links to other pages or a way to easily exit the conversion path.

Your forms should not be overly complicated or too long – ask people for the minimum information needed.

Your web copy on the landing page should also be refined – have a clear benefit in the main headline, compelling copy, attractive image and a clear call to action.

You should install and use heatmap analytics such as CrazyEgg, HotJar or others to understand how people are interacting with your landing page. Google Analytics has excellent data that includes clicks, conversion events, scroll depth, time on page and more.

Understand your data so that you can implement interventions to stop wasting traffic.

Solutions for: Customer reviews are terrible

Online reviews are important because they give potential customers a sense of what other people think about your product or service. Word of mouth and the honest opinion of others is a powerful way to get more customers – or lose existing or potential customers if your reviews are poor.

People often look for social proof through testimonials, ratings and other review mechanisms before they buy.

You should ask your customers or clients for reviews and offer the mechanisms for them to do so whenever possible. This includes feedback, surveys, review bars, Google reviews, Facebook reviews and many more.

This shows you actually care and are interested in your customer beyond the sale.

If you have terrible reviews online you need to do some hard introspection and fix what’s wrong with your business. Honesty is the best policy – honesty with yourself and your customers.

View each negative review as an opportunity to learn something: was the problem genuine, was the problem with the product or the service, was the problem something that could be avoided or something that can be fixed afterwards?

Be as authentic as possible to your detractors. Act quickly and honestly without getting into a public debate about who is wrong. Fix the problem as soon as you can and respond accordingly.

Remember that negative reviews will happen to any business, no matter how great they are, so don’t feel glum about them but rather see them as opportunities to improve. Don’t take things too personally – move on once the problem is resolved.

Step 4: Understand who is involved with the problem and the solution

Now that you have identified the problem and potential solutions, you need to understand who in your business was involved with causing the problem and who will be involved with fixing the problem.

This is a sensitive step because it involves issues of blame and finger pointing. 

Remember that it is more important to find the root cause of the problem and implement a solution quickly than to point fingers. Yes, steps must be taken to prevent the problem from happening again but your first step is to fix the problem in the short term and then look at long term solutions for preventing future problems.

You will need to conduct a thorough investigation and solve the puzzle like a detective. The initial suspects may lead you to other suspects and you may need to understand how all the various people and systems worked together to create the problem in the first place.

The problem might be caused by a poor process or a poor technical solution and not a human.

Perhaps your specialists are using absolutely archaic reporting systems that involve manual data collection, manual data cleaning and manual copy and paste from one Excel spreadsheet into another. The technology exists to automate reports and bring data into dashboards in a way that doesn’t require hours of manual work and human error. 

Incorrect or insufficient data is one of the key drivers of marketing underperformance. Take the time and invest the money required to improve your reporting.

People are often the direct problem and this is usually because they lack the skills to correctly do their work. This can be resolved with training or hiring the right people in the first place.

Technology often fails as a result of poor implementation or management. Websites crash because their plugins are out of date. Forms stop working. Databases get hacked. A strong focus on technology will ensure your business doesn’t suffer the consequences of technical failure.

Systems and processes can often result in inefficiencies or downright failure. 

Copywriters who are forced to edit their own work is an example of a broken process. This can be resolved by ensuring someone else checks the content after a copywriter has written it.

Process review and analysis of HOW people work and the steps in creating the product, service or marketing material is an important part of problem solving.

Step 5: Define the metrics and systems for measuring the success of the solution

The metrics of success depend on which marketing problem you’re solving.

For example, if your problem is high cost per lead, you will know if the problem is solved if the cost per lead decreases.

Define the metrics of success up-front before you implement the solution to the problem – this way you know if the solution is working.

Remember that a true understanding of the marketing problem means you will know which factors caused the problem in the first place and you need to measure these factors. Multiple factors mean multiple metrics. Your reporting dashboard needs to tell the full story, as does your campaign analysis. 

When reviewing past campaigns remember to define what the original problem was, what the solutions were and how you measured performance before and after the interventions were applied.

Do you have the necessary tools and systems in place to actually measure the metrics that matter? You may need to invest in technology and people to give you the data, dashboards and insights you need to understand if your marketing strategy is working or not.

The first step of the process though is to list the metrics you will measure to define success and these could include some or all of the following:

  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per sale or enrolment
  • Visitor to lead % 
  • Lead to sale %
  • Revenue
  • Retention rates
  • Email open rates and click rates
  • Ad impression to click rates
  • Marketing qualified leads vs Sales qualified leads
  • Average lifetime value
  • And many more

Step 6: Implement the solution

You’ve identified the problem. You know what caused it. You know what the business impact is and what metrics are affected.

Now you need to actually implement the solution. Theoretical strategies and action plans are nothing without actual action.

The implementation of a solution may take time. You need to move as quickly as possible given the available resources so that the problem does not persist and have a continuing impact on your business. A solution that works now may also be redundant a few months from now, so it is important to act quickly while it still makes sense and your proposed solution can take effect.

Many people, systems and technologies may be involved with the implementation phase. Your role is now that of project manager.

Implementation requires:

  • Clear communication
  • Setting of a project timeline with clearly defined tasks and milestones
  • Project initiation meeting
  • Status meetings to review progress of the solution
  • Constant communication with relevant stakeholders
  • Measuring the progress of the solution and the business impact
  • Refining based on feedback from teams and data

Step 7: Measure the impact

Once a solution has been fully implemented you need to identify the impact it has made.

Sometimes the impact of a solution can be measured even before it is fully implemented. For example, reviewing and implementing website copy changes for SEO takes a long time but the impact can be measured over time. Optimising email campaigns and ad campaigns may also take time and the positive impact can be measured campaign by campaign as your solutions are implemented.

The key is to measure the impact of your solution to understand how effective it is.

Step 8: Refine the solution

You must measure your solution’s impact as soon as you start to implement. This ensures that you know what’s working and what’s not and can quickly refine things as you go along.

Don’t wait until after a solution has been fully implemented. Initial data can give you clues as to whether you are on the right track.

Frequent reviews are necessary with the implementation teams to ensure the solution is working and to identify any other solutions or problems that arise.

Marketing is a series of activities, meetings, data review and implementation – and the cycle never stops. Constant refining and improvement lead to better business performance and ultimately profitability which is the objective of any business.

Over to you

What are your thoughts about solving marketing problems? Let me know in the comments below.

About Tony Lopes

I help sustainable businesses grow. I have more than 20 years experience in digital marketing strategy and analytics. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa with my wife, daughters and 2 Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

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