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Be a Profit Prophet: Designing Initiatives for Success

We as marketers put so much blood, sweat and tears into our annual strategic planning, customer segmentation and message development, but it is sometimes when the "rubber hits the road" that results fall short of what we'd deem as success. I recently worked with a brand that wanted to leverage what appeared to be a very warm insight on the need for patient education and launched a rather steep investment into a local educator's tactic. On the surface it was thought to be a winner, however there were many variables in the "dirty details" that were significant hurdles to optimal execution. A few major blind-spots were the importance of local relationships and regional intelligence; misalignment between the vendor performance incentives and actual KPI objectives; and oversight on the need to develop content specifically for the patient educators vs. re-purposing medical and sales content. Most significant of all though was that the scale of the pilot was not designed in a manner to even possibly hit a positive ROI. Needless to say, two to three months post launch, there was a lot of frustration about the program. My mission was to re-design the program, determine its future viability and salvage any return possible. The approach? First, sitting and doing the math to determine what it would take for the program to show a positive result, second having an honest conversation with the service provider about the key metrics leadership was looking for and partnering to redesign contractor activities, weekly reporting and incentives to chart a trajectory towards KPI goals. Third, coordinating deep local level sales leadership in the tactical execution; empowering them to identify and point this HQ driven initiative towards optimal targeting via field level intelligence. Within four weeks, the initiative turned around and showed significant improvement and shifting our metric curve ahead of the ROI projection. We were able to share a forecast model based on this trajectory with senior leadership so that they could assess continued investment in this initiative or reallocation of resources. The moral of the story...take time to think through the execution details of your initiative, set and forecast KPI checkpoints and plan for adequate bandwidth to assess your assumptions and adapt the initiative as needed.

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