If you’re focused on results, working backward is how you plan. As Stephen R. Covey writes in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
, you must “begin with the end in mind.”
Working backward maximizes response and sell-through. Start with the buyers. Understand the information they need to say yes or to call. When do they need it? How do they want it delivered? What processes do they use to make their decisions?
In our eagerness to convert leads to sales, we sometimes make a leap in our communication that the prospective customer isn’t ready for. Marketers must keep this in mind for every single communication, or they break the chain. You never want the reader/viewer to respond with, “Whoa! I’m not ready for that kind of commitment yet!” because they may not be willing to engage again.
Unlike advertising, digital/direct marketing is more than just a “big idea” discipline. Big ideas can create breakthrough marketing programs, but often the genius is in the details. Too often, the details of a program’s fulfillment mechanism are overlooked until far too late in the planning. Planning a program without careful attention to the details of your telemarketing response capabilities, for example, is an expensive, if not fatal, oversight.
This means you need to crunch through the back-end analysis, looking at every point of conversion before the sale. What numbers were expected? What did you really get? If you could fine-tune one particular sales step, which would have the most impact on net profit?
Doing the math is a lot of work. Is it worth it? Absolutely.