How to Turn Your Marketing Team into Your Agency’s Best R&D Department – 13 Tipshttp://0.gravatar.com/avatar/?s=96&d=mm&r=g
How to Turn Your Marketing Team into Your Agency’s Best R&D Department – 13 Tips
R&D is as core to marketing as machinery is to manufacturing. Without R&D, the risks attached to rolling out new offerings and expanding existing ones pile up increasing the chances of utter failure.
A marketing team that reaches for the stars should not only be good at pushing product, but also in R&D regardless of whether the agency has a dedicated research department or not. So, how can you turn your marketing team into your organization’s best R&D department? Read on to find out.
R&D is all about experiments hence the guidelines of conducting a sound experiment must be followed. Start by stating the objectives – brainstorm with your team regarding the different outcomes that might be expected.
Then, divide the objectives into major and minor ones. For a new offering, a probable main objective should cover the relevance and value proposition actualized.
Prime your team
Do not expect the team to transition seamlessly into becoming R&D experts. In fact, changing your unit into an efficient R&D department might call for squad bolstering. To measure your team’s R&D potential, implement a couple of test runs. Notice how different team members approach the task. Identify talent gaps, and personal strengths and use your findings as a source of insight to improve the unit.
Fill talent gaps
If you notice gaping talent gaps that no team member can be shoehorned into, look for befitting staff. It might mean an additional employee, and it might take some time to convince the management, but weighed against the risk R&D will offset, it may be worth it.
Practice good man management
Any winning team appreciates the different diversities and talents of its members and leverages them for optimal output. Using the information gathered from test tasks, determine those who are good at testing products, those good at analytics, problem-solving, etc. Use this information for effective man management by assigning tasks to the most capable persons.
Map out the process
Before activating actual experiments, develop the related blueprints first. Walk through them with your team identifying probable pitfalls and gray areas. It will get everyone into the right frame of mind, and the research set up might be improved in the process. The different viewpoints held by team members will help cover almost all project concerns.
The biggest problem with internal testing is bias, and it might easily serve misleading results. Brainstorm ways of minimizing bias – it could mean freezing out a few team members (testers) in the initial discussions or reaching out to neutral third parties. Realistically, it is impossible to completely neutralize bias, but reducing it significantly is possible.
Phase R&D projects
Depending on the complexity of the offer your agency wants to roll out and the financial ramifications, phase the R&D into 3 or more stages. Ideally, the first stage should be internal testing to determine whether the agency can cope with all the demands of a new offering, followed by beta testing to reduce the bias and enrich the feedback; and finally, sourcing for a few actual clients to try out the product.
R&D is a team effort, and any team is only as strong as its weakest link. Team building will not only oil the unit but also inculcate the criticality of caring more about the team’s performance rather than individual brilliance. In this manner, the chances of success will increase.
Identify how you will measure success
Figure out the best ways to measure success in all the R&D stages. Identify relevant metrics and ideal results that will connote failure or success. More importantly, keep an eye out for any unseen eventuality. Keep in mind that getting actionable conclusions comes down to analytics. Poor analysis will render in vain all resources consumed thus far.
What to concentrate on
The primary goal of R&D should be failing cheaply so as to discover product shortcomings without taking a big financial hit. Thus, more than concentrating on the laudable aspects of the offering under test, an inclination towards potential problem spots should take center stage.
Costs should be among the primary metrics tracked. Every form of expenditure should be covered to enable extrapolation before rolling out the offering. If the costs prove insurmountable during the R&D phase, it might not be the right time, or the right offering to pursue.
Costs should factor in man-hours to avail a comprehensive overview that will enable cost management. Record all the man-hours dedicated to the offering to make it a success – pursue precision to the greatest degree possible. The goal, after all, is to glean as much data as possible to enable sound decision making.
Do not make the mistake of trying to shield the client group chosen for beta testing from the fact that it is an initial offering. Let them know the implications and the fact that you have only tested the process or new offering internally only. Balance off the risk by giving the clients big discounts
It will take time for your team to develop effective R&D skills. Therefore, patience is a virtue you will have to adopt as you seek to polish your marketing team’s capabilities. Being good at something takes time, a few mistakes, and above all, determination and a can-do attitude.