I’m in the middle of a significant home remodel project. It’s all a bit stressful, but not nearly as nerve-wracking as the prep work: selecting a contractor and picking out all the new things for my home, such as paint, flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting, etc. Who knew how many thousands of options there are for kitchen pendant lights! What if I pick a paint color that I end up hating?
This project has given me some great perspective on what it’s like to be sitting in a marketing operations role these days. Marketing ops folks support internal requests from marketing, sales, finance, product, and customer service, and there are over 6,000 pieces of tech in the 2018 Marketing Technology Landscape they can choose from to solve their needs.
If you’re in marketing operations, the number of decisions you must make daily only keeps growing, too. And too much information often becomes crippling: you suffer from analysis paralysis, the inability to make any decision.
Making decisions under these circumstances can become extremely stressful. And once you’ve determined a few best courses of action, you will need to guide your internal clients to select or approve one as well.
Below are a few recommendations to help you move forward when you start feeling stuck:
1. Matrix out the pros and cons
Often, running through scenarios in your head can make the results seem either more plausible or more calamitous. Get these ideas out of your head and give them some structure. Once you have your shortlist of options for a decision, talk (or better, write) through the story of what might happen if you pursue a path. What’s the best possible outcome? The worst?
Plot these into a matrix of pros and cons. A visual like this can clue you in quickly to where the most risk lies. Such a matrix also becomes a great talking point when you need to persuade others of the best course of action.
For my home project, I’ve found that most online retailers offer a comparison tool where you can select various features for appliances like refrigerators, giving you a view across key criteria for each of your selections. This lets me visualize the finished product and make a true comparison of my options.
2. Find someone else who’s walked the path already
This tactic isn’t necessarily yet another data point. It is, however, a way to help you validate whether you’re making the right decision. Reach out to your network (or your DemandGen team) to find others who experienced a similar challenge and learn how they resolved it.
For example, if you’re selecting from a shortlist of new vendors, absolutely get and call references (just as if you’re selecting contractors for a home improvement project!) and discuss how their implementations proceeded. You’ll learn a lot about “gotchas” and “things that I wish I had known or thought about” through these conversations.
3. Minimize risk through a pilot
Still not sure if your course of action will solve the problem at hand? Identify ways you can test it out with a smaller base and/or at less cost. In my remodel, I’m putting lights in where there were none before, so I’ve had a hard time visualizing what size would work best. My “pilot” was to blow up a few balloons in different sizes and hang them from the ceiling.
Depending on your project, you might try to identify a smaller group of constituents (select ones you know will be very engaged or a random small percentage of the overall) and/or ask your potential vendors if they are open to a time-based pilot. Pilots can help build confidence internally and demonstrate effectively whether you’ve selected the correct solution.
Move forward with confidence
I’m not the first person to do a home remodel, and I certainly won’t be the last. That doesn’t take away the time, expense, and decisions that must be made to ensure the project meets my specific requirements — or the importance of working with seasoned professionals who know what they’re doing.
The same is true for marketing projects. Whether you’re selecting light fixtures or MarTech, it helps to bring in the pros. Our industry experts work with our clients every step of the way, no matter where they are in their digital marketing journey.
What kind of project is causing you analysis paralysis? We can’t help with your kitchen remodel (I wish!), but we can help with a variety of digital marketing projects.
Gaea Connary, Consultant at DemandGen, focuses on helping organizations strengthen their lead management processes, lead scoring, nurturing strategy, and reporting and analysis to get the best return on their technology investment and meet their marketing objectives.