Indium Blog

ALWAYS BEGIN AT THE END: Goal-oriented B2B Marcom

  • B2B Marcom

  • I say this nearly every day: "Always begin at the end." 

    It's my way of reminding people to perform their B2B marketing communications projects from a goal-oriented perspective.  By starting with a goal, and by keeping that goal highly visible, resources can be easily aligned toward reaching that goal.

    Interestingly, this technique even helps smooth over potential personnel friction. When one person drifts from the goal, it is easier to draw them back when you have a clearly stated, previously agreed upon goal to point to.

    A goal is not nearly as powerful as a WRITTEN GOAL. I'm no psychologist, but I can tell you that something almost palpable happens when we put pen to paper, finger to keyboard, etc. and capture a goal in writing. Having it in your head isn't good enough. When a goal manifests itself, at our own hand, in a place outside of our bodies, it becomes more serious, and we change in the process. Try it and you'll see.

    Work backward from the written goal. Once you know your goal, ask yourself this simple question: "What must be in place such that I can reach my goal?" Then, list all the things that have to happen, be in place, to enable the final step to the goal. Notice that you might also ask yourself, "Why can't I reach my goal?" It's sort of the same question as the one I suggest, only in a pessimistic form. Be an optimist.

    Once you determine everything that must be so, ask yourself the very same question, to enable you to understand what you need so that you can make any preliminary steps. Keep asking the question until you back up to your present situation.


    GOAL: Buy an iPad tomorrow. <in writing, on my bathroom mirror>

    Q1: What must be in place such that I can reach my goal?
    A1: Be at the mall front entrance at 4PM tomorrow to meet Dad who is arriving there directly from work - ready to buy. Walk to the Apple Store.

    Q2: What must be in place such that I can reach that sub-goal?
    A1: Get to the mall by having Mom to drive me there. Get Dad to agree to meet me there, and to purchase the iPad then.

    Q3: What must be in place such that I can reach that sub-goal?
    A1: Convince Mom to drive me there - remind her that this is my birthday present. Convince Dad to go directly to the mall after work tomorrow, ready to make the purchase.

    Q4: What must be in place such that I can reach that sub-goal?
    A1: Speak with them both tonight, after dinner. Remind them that they agreed to get me an iPad for my birthday. Show them my report card with straight As.

    You get the point.

    Real life (in the Marcom world) is not quite this simple, but the procedure is the same. It's best to perform this process with the people involved in the goal.

    Mission creep is an insidious enemy. Somewhere between starting a project and our initial goal
    lie many temptations and distractions.  Having an agreed upon written goal helps remind us of why we are doing what we are doing, and what we should do next. Of course, don't be dogmatic. Occasionally intentional mission creep is desired. Allow yourself what I call "mid-course considerations" to check yourself. Sometimes reality makes, or allows, things to change.

    The antithesis of goal-oriented B2B Marcom project management is what I call the "art project". It sounds like this:

    Hey, I just created this awesome photo of our new product. It got me thinking - we can make a brochure. This photo is the cover! All we need are a few other things and we're done!

    Yes, it is DOABLE, but WHY would you do it? Because you can? Guess what? You CAN! And, after blowing through $X,000 you will have an ill-conceived, unthought-out brochure that no one asked for and that has no application. Been there? Done that? It's ugly!

    Share your thoughts on goal-oriented B2B marketing communications. I 'd love to read your comment.