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Assessment driven creative adaptation improvement

Author: Mark Tiedens
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Best practices to ensure actionable results

In my last post, I summarized some of the findings of the CMO Council’s report on the “The Age of the Adaptive Marketer”. The results led me to posit a question: “If 80 percent of marketers are not satisfied with their performance in adapting creative for localized markets, then why have 58 percent of the same population not undertaken a formalized assessment of their creative delivery process to drive improvements?”

Put more bluntly, if analysis and assessment of data to drive improved results are core to our marketing discipline, and we know we have problems with our creative execution processes, then why are marketers not working to more aggressively address them?

My best guess is time. Meeting deadlines and following up with adapted content after initial creative goes to market both take priority over efforts to assess and improve current technologies, processes, and resources. As a corollary to time, marketers are not assessments experts – especially with all the other deliverables on their lists. While they know their company’s processes, it is difficult for them to have the perspective from outside of their companies, regardless of their background.

At HH Global, we believe that undertaking an assessment of the creative execution process is the first step towards driving improvements and, ultimately, penetrating new and expanding in existing markets. In our experience, we find that there are four key factors to a profitable assessment of your creative execution process:

Bring in an expert. The survey results show that we can be self-critical, but can we be prescriptive in our solutions? Bringing in an expert can ensure that resources involved in the delivery of campaigns can stay focused with no disruption of services. Companies with extensive experience performing creative assessments bring perspectives and processes that internal resources will not have. Ensure that your chosen partner has a solid track record – with a standard assessment process.

Ensure that the assessment is holistic. For adaptation of content to local markets, be sure that you find a way to assess the results in all of the markets you want to serve. Make sure that the assessment forces you to think through issues associated with people, process, and technology. Include all the elements in the marketing mix. Chose an expert with skills evaluating processes associated with all the channels used; be they digital, print, point of sale, broadcast, social or more.

Articulate goals and the metrics that measure progress. This one seems obvious until the key metrics that you want to capture are proven unattainable. Data collection challenges most organizations, particularly as technologies used for these processes, according to this survey, are underutilized. We suggest finding an assessment partner with a strong technology underpinning to help apply applications to metrics required to measure progress.

Lastly, communicate the goals of the assessment process clearly. Again, this one seems self-evident, but poorly or hastily communicated programs can lead to an uneasy feeling in your people and partners. Lean on your assessment partner for clear communication plans and ideas; it should be part of their scope of work.

Results of the assessment process can open eyes from the simple to the complex and include far reaching changes. From HH Global’s experience over the past quarter century, the best executed programs start with a rigorous assessment process. Indeed, in the same way marketers begin with research and an assessment of targets before executing campaigns, an improved execution process begins with an assessment.