Have you ever started a project, campaign or redesign in your online business only to find that halfway through it, most of the factors that influenced your decisions have changed? Or maybe your competitor came out with a great new product or campaign and you need to change course to keep up?
In the world of online business, things change exponentially faster than they did in a purely brick-and-mortar environment. Starting a new project is exciting and promising, but assuming that all else remains equal can be detrimental. If you don’t factor in time and resources to be flexible, your project will be doomed from the start.
Robin Neifield’s ClickZ article yesterday mentions “Broken Clock Syndrome”, which is a great way to think about this problem. Sure, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Your project plan may seem on target depending on when you look at it, but you have to continuously re-evaluate where you are in relation to other influential factors, such as your industry, your partners, your business priorities, etc. For example, if your upcoming site redesign involves a snazzy homepage with great Flash bells and whistles, but then Apple announces their mobile devices will not support Flash while Google Analytics shows 15% of your traffic as mobile … would you continue with the same plan? Perhaps reconsider the homepage, or create a mobile-optimized experience?
Here at Search Discovery, we plan for formalized project/campaign evaluations at least every 6 months, not just to assess performance to date but also to determine if the goals still make sense and if we need to make any modifications to the roadmap. In between those checkpoints, monitoring industry trends and doing periodic competitive benchmarks are always a priority. Staying on top of these changes, not only in your industry but in your customers’ preferences, is critical to your success.