Here’s a short list of conversations I enjoy having with clients (compiled from the last couple of months of freelancing). In no particular order of preference or importance.
Q: Our engineering team has built this amazing product that solves a specific tech problem, and our sales team is successfully selling it. How do we keep iterating on the product and still keep up with our clients’ expectations? (file under: Product Management, Roadmap Strategy, Client Services)
Q: We recently relaunched our site. It is now faster and slicker, but we’re not seeing a bump in traffic or leads (file under: SEO, UX, Site Migration, Back Links)
Q: We have invested a lot of money into developing various social channels, and have large followings on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook. Why are we having difficulties engaging them in similar ways, and why are our efforts inconsistent in costs and ROI? (file under: Audience Building, Content Marketing, Social Marketing)
Q: Our ad campaigns (banners) are generating great click-through rate, but we’re still not selling products (tickets/services) as we expect. What are we doing wrong? (file under: Messaging, Landing Pages, SEO, UX, Ad Stack)
Q: We’re growing fast in all directions – product, clients, audiences, but no matter how we scale, there’s still a lot of stuff that regularly falls through the cracks. How can we focus our efforts better, and keep all the balls in the air (file under: Business Development, Growth Strategy, Team Building)
I enjoy hearing these questions from clients, for a number of reasons:
First of all, it cuts through the arbitrary metrics and BS (pageviews, CTR, impressions) that have dominated digital industry, and gets to the core of the business problem at hand: something is broken, or is expected to work better, but is difficult to identify, let alone correct.
Secondly, a question like that presumes I have the skill/knowledge of the industry or technology, and only need to understand the specific nature of your business/product/audiences, in order to confidently advise and take you through the necessary changes or fixes.
Third, for most of these questions, I almost immediately know where to start looking, and at the same time, I already have a mental list of follow-up questions. This is going to be a chat, not an interview.
It’s a joy to work on projects like this, and be trusted with problems of this nature. Because it confirms my own belief – that technology (and by extension, communications, and technology education) is not a destination. It’s a process. Technology always moves, and always nudges you to move with it (or react to it). It’s a constant process of learning, and occasionally, un-learning. Your product needs to evolve, your clients’ expectations will change, your audiences will mature. Staying static, or worse, resisting change in such a dynamic workflow – is suicide.
So you build, you launch, you notice something broken, you fix it, and repeat it again. SEO wasn’t done properly during site revamp? It happens, let’s do it post-launch. Engineers and Sales don’t stay on the same page – let’s connect the dots for them, and complete the feedback loop. Advertising campaign is kick-ass, but you get no leads – let’s see what is not converting them properly. Audiences are fickle – let’s see what they want from you vs. what you offer them.
Even if your team is amazing, and you developed, built and launched a perfect digital product – just give it a bit of time, and you’ll find gaps, disconnects, shortcuts, and missed opportunities. So make it a habit to improve, or at least audit your product, your tech stack and your teams – on regular basis. And if you cannot find those gaps yourself – talk to me.
I enjoy solving real business problems through technology education and literacy. I enjoy working with new tech and new teams (for selfish reasons – because I get to learn something new). And l would love to have more conversations like these.