The right way to begin a project: You might not want what you think you want.
“Yes ma’am” is for your mother. You don’t want a marketing partner who says that when you request a project. You want a partner who helps you meet or beat your end-goals, expectations, objectives and KPIs. And the digital solution that best achieves your goals might not look like what you initially had in mind.
Let’s say you want a website. Sounds simple, right? Maybe, maybe not. The right marketing partner will know you don’t want just a website. You want to increase traffic, convert site views into appointments or even build brand preference. And there might be additional criteria your organization will use to determine if your new website is successful.
That’s why every project should begin with the process of discovery and planning. Here at BPD Advertising, we dive right into your request to get to the heart of it, to make sure we know the real need and plan accordingly. No project is too small or too big and nothing is impossible…ahem…well, almost nothing when defined and planned appropriately.
So here is our preferred method of kicking-off a project, as informed by 4As. (https://www.aaaa.org)
Ask the right questions
- What’s the purpose of the project?
- What goals are we hoping to achieve, short term and long term?
- How do we expect to define the end product?
- What does success look like and what is the measurement?
Draft Key Documents
- Project Description, Requirements and Scope: This document outlines what the end result will do, clearly defines the scope and is used to make sure the agency and our clients, have a meeting of the minds on expectations
- Business Requirements: Clearly defines the objectives and goals we are looking to accomplish and explains how the solution will accomplish those objectives and goals
- Functional Specifications: Specifically for digital projects, this document outlines the required functions of the product to be provided to the build team
- Technical Specifications: Specifically for digital projects, outlines how the product will be built for the build team and allows the agency to assign appropriate resources and timing and to commit to achievable features
- Statement of Work: Takes all of the previous documents into account to serve as a contract for work. It outlines the investment and deliverables and ensures that the agency and the client have agreed upon executable expectations that tie back to client goals and objectives
Time consuming? It may seem so, but the benefits far outweigh the cost. One example is that you can use these documents to fend off those pesky last-minute requests from your internal team members that can take the project off course and over budget. It helps to keep everyone focused on the plan and goal of the project. Having allowed for time to think through the product build, we’ve planned for every possible hiccup we could foresee, helping to keep your project on time and on budget. It also makes sure we are using your marketing resources efficiently so you can enjoy piece-of-mind knowing your marketing dollars are being spent on a product that will continue to move you toward success.
So you say you wanted that website? Well maybe what you had visualized is exactly what we’ll work on together and exactly what you’ll get. Or perhaps the project will turn out to be a little less than you had requested, because during our planning and discovery process, we realized it’s more than what’s needed to meet your objectives and, hey, we don’t want to waste your time and money. Or maybe we will give you a little more than you expected and tie in multiple objectives into one great project. Our goal is to make sure every project is in direct alignment with your overall objectives. After all, when you look good, we look good.
Amanda is VP of Client Operations at Brown, Parker & DeMarinis. Her belief and passion for project planning, budgeting and ongoing management helps to ensure clearly defined project objectives are set and maintained throughout a project life-cycle, guaranteeing success, no matter how you measure it.