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Processes that Marketers Use

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Sometimes I ask marketers about what processes they use and it’s a good test to see who works in a big company and who works in a small one.

Big company types either lament that their processes are hopelessly outdated or they list off exactly what they do with their chests puffed out in pride. Small company marketers roll their eyes and say that they don’t need any processes and that "procedures" just weigh them down when they are trying to get work done. I think the word "procedure" is part of the problem.

Whenever I hear the word "procedure" I think of a surgeon trying to remove a body part (perhaps one that I am quite fond of). But do "processes" and "procedures" have to be that onerous? Do they have to be these painful things that require manuals and compliance officers and corporate governance?

I don’t think so. (You thought I’d say yes?)

I think that we need to stop thinking about "procedures" and "processes" and start thinking about "checklists." They are really the same thing, but somehow "checklists" seem more nimble and lightweight—somehow more friendly and not so stultifying. You can still use your brain with a checklist instead of mindlessly following the procedure manual.

I think our attitude is what is important. Let’s take a checklist attitude to execution so that we do things the best way we can think of and we do them consistently every time. Just don’t call them procedures.

I am starting an experiment. I am going to post a few checklists to see if people find them useful (and to get feedback on how they could be improved). I’ve started with just one today, a checklist for sending marketing e-mail. Let me know what you think—I have ideas for a few more.

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