The lack of separation of duties, unwillingness to adjust the strategy, difficulties with motivation and lack of knowledge of adjacent markets. The General Director of advertising Agency “Profitator” (Kokoc Group) Sergei Makarov told how by trial and error to grow from a startup a successful company whose services are in demand.
“Profitator” appeared two years ago. Prior to this I had no experience in the management of Agency Internet marketing, the only guide marketing departments in large companies. And despite the fact that we grew up part of a large holding company, failed to avoid mistakes in the structure of the company, and in approaches to work. Of course, some processes failed to set the first time, but to see the errors and fix them, it took time.
Today, when the Agency brings a stable income, I reviewed the work and made a list of knowledge that will help startups avoid our mistakes in the beginning. Many people startup associated with party, where work on projects is puffing hookah in the loft with panoramic Windows, through which employees move on gyrometer. Perhaps it is, but in my opinion, it is more efficient to start working in harsh conditions, and this kind of “buns” to enter once the team learned to give the result without financial motivation. Otherwise the employees do not see the point to work and relax.
For example, the first months “of Profitator” were in a close room without Windows and air conditioning. In a normal office moved after came to the profit. The staff realized. If they help the company earn, you get intangible bonuses such as a large office with kitchen, collective quests and corporate parties.
In many young startups, the first employees become a “star” experts in their field, who retired from large companies to develop new project. In our case it was the natives of Ozon.ru that “hand in hand” Electrovenik.ru and “Sotmarket”. These professionals help in finding customers and maintaining a high level of work. However, many of the “stars” are passionate about the development of a startup only in a period of rapid growth, and when the project reaches a serious level, they lose interest and go away.
To this must be prepared, otherwise there is a risk that after the departure of the “stars” will die and the project itself. To avoid problems after a breakup is possible, if to bet not only on the eminent specialists, but also on the training and development of employees. Low sales at the start — a common problem for young companies.
Often the reason is not so much an unknown brand, as in the product defects and incompetence of sellers. First, sales managers are unable to convey to his exciting feedback from potential customers. Often it is the latter I see the mistakes and shortcomings of the product that are inevitable when you start. As a result, the product is not improving and sales are not growing.
Secondly, a rare salesman who knows the product at least 70%, so without specialist it can be difficult to communicate its benefits to potential customers. So, at the start of the company to his leadership, it is important to participate in the sales, and the growth gradually to delegate the sales process to attract customers. However, to fully exclude professionals from the process of concluding transactions is not possible, at least, I have not yet succeeded.
Often at the start when a few people in the company there is a clear division of responsibilities of all involved all. Technical the contractor may perform the duties of the account Manager, for example, to bill, and the head of Department to write ad text and to meet with clients. On the one hand, this scheme helps employees to understand the overall working of the company and to develop. On the other — prevents scale.
In our case, at some point was that leaders became difficult to cope with the pool of tasks they shouldered. For example, head of contextual advertising is spent on working and presale meetings with clients, a total of two days per week. However, he was engaged in the training of staff, tried to control every stage of the launch of campaigns and preferred to develop their own promotion strategy.
Naturally, all tasks do not fit into a normal work schedule, and the head is constantly delayed. In the end we got the accumulated fatigue and decreased motivation. The situation has changed, when executives began to delegate authority to subordinates.
Returning to the example with the head of contextual advertising. Now he is only concerned with the training and supervision of staff, and presale meetings and technical challenges of campaign has completely passed to the managers. Thus, the freed time on strategic tasks and came to life.
Typically, young companies are going to people with high commitment, so at the start there is no clear timetable of visits. No matter how many employees come to the office and go home, the main — tasks are executed is the result. But with the growth of the company this can be a problem. For example, account managers start working at ten in the morning, and technicians sit in the office till night, and the next day I come for dinner.
As a result, if in the morning the client is a question which can only answer “technician” quickly solve it does not work. Yes, there are phones and instant messengers, but as practice shows, they do not help if the “owl” turns off the sound and sleeping. To avoid such situations had to transfer all employees to the overall work schedule — from 10:00 to 19:00. This helped to reduce time for resolving issues and eliminating customer dissatisfaction.
Award by results of work — the most common pattern of employee motivation. However, it has disadvantages in the case of seasonal business customers. Take for example one of our clients, manufacturer of plastic Windows.
The Manager receives a bonus proportional to the profit that it brought to the customer. However, in the low season, from October to June, the profit of the client is reduced naturally, therefore, decreases and the premium of employee. At some point we noticed that in such situations, reduced and intrinsic motivation managers.
They understood that because of the low consumer activity, they will not get bonuses, and they have lost the desire to articulate, analyze and develop the campaign. We solved the problem by changing the scheme of motivation. Previously, the monthly income of the managers on 60% consisted of salary and 40% bonuses for profit client. Retaining salary, we split the prize.
20% is a bonus for the customer profit and 20% for the execution of monthly tasks. The last part is paid for the timely and routine post-click analysis and development of campaigns. Thus, we were able to motivate managers to work hard on projects in low season.
In most of the agencies in the chain “client-contractor” there is an intermediate account Manager. Direct technical the contractor does not intersect with the customer and communicates only through account. But this scheme is not always effective.
Often good ideas are born in discussions and technical specialist in the power of deep knowledge can offer something not conceive account Manager. For example, a furniture manufacturer told about the opening of a new showroom. The meeting was attended by expert on social media, it is suggested to target ads about the sale of Instagram users that are in the area of the store. Such ideas must also be implemented quickly, but often in familiar chain of “customer-account-Executive” the process of information transmission is delayed.
As a result of advertising campaign may become outdated or give low score. At meetings with the client must attend a full working group. Account Manager and all the performers involved in the project.
Often, startups are the first steps when working on a new project occur spontaneously. On the one hand, managers know what to do with the other — they have no clear sequence of actions, so they are wrong. This is how to get from point a to point B in an unfamiliar city without a Navigator.
It seems clear how to go, but without a route, you can get caught in traffic or be stuck. In the “context” part of the Navigator performs the structure of advertising campaigns, which must detail to paint and to prioritize requests. In other words, to decide which will be the main element in the ads. Category or color.
But since many of our managers preferred to keep structure in mind, parts of it definitely was lost, which led, for example, the repetition of key phrases in different advertising campaigns. To avoid such errors, we introduced the rule of drawing the structures and agreed with the client. As a rule, in the first months, when fewer clients, the staff trying to efficiently work through all phases of projects.
But in some situations, the precision does not affect the result, but only “steals” time. In our case, it was the texts, which managers each time wrote from scratch to make them unique and high-quality. But despite this, the lyrics come out like.
Then we introduced the rule. With the advent of new customer to create patterns of texts, which include static and dynamic parts. The first is the unchanging information about the product, its features and benefits. The second parameters inherent to a specific product category. It turned out that the presence of patterns does not reduce the effectiveness of the promotion and accelerates the process of creating a campaign by 35%.
Often, finding out customer needs and outlining a plan of action, the team should be clear to the goal, not turning to the sides. In this approach, there are some risks. First, when the project is completed, it may be that the result is not quite the one that was expected by the customer.
Secondly, blindly following the plan without regard to the changing customer needs and external factors, likely to lead to poor results. Therefore we introduced the rule. Once a month to verify the promotion strategy with the customer that all participants in the process understand what is happening and what goals we pursue.
For example, for a client-manufacturer of plastic Windows in the next month the season starts. The Managers job to figure out what purpose it serves. To get the maximum profit during the peak consumer activity or to reduce marketing costs, because the demand will grow and so.
Based on the goals of the customer, the contractor shall adjust the strategy. This approach allowed us to teach managers to work for the process and the outcome, in this case the net profit of the client. After some time of the existence of the startup there is a phase when projects have already appeared, but the team is still small, and the staff overburdened.
This moment can be called a turning point. If at first, the guys thoughtfully immersed in each task, but now because of the increased load, the risk of reducing the quality of the work. In the case of “Profitator” superficial approach to the project was reflected in the weak elaboration of a semantic kernel for advertising campaigns. One Manager selected phrase to the frequency of one request per month, and the other was limited to the keywords frequency of five to ten requests per month.
As a result in part of the campaigns was not taken into account a large plume of sub-phrases, and no ads show up on relevant searches. To ensure that the quantity became more important than quality, you must still “shore” to denote the level of competency requirement below which you cannot fall. We set a minimum depth of semantic kernel acquisition — key requests with a frequency of not less than one to five impressions per month, depending on the subject.
In addition, the rule was imposed. To use the automatically gathered statistics of the conversion requests and to monitor their availability in the semantic kernel. When the first phase of the project successfully implemented a young team happy and continue to work on. Although it is worth to stop for a while, to evaluate the results and consider what can be improved.
Such an analysis should be done regularly, otherwise there is a risk of repeating old mistakes and stagnation. In the “context” of the work without evaluation leads to a missing minus-words and underserved queries, and ultimately, to competitive sales channel.
In order for the efficiency to grow, we ordered the managers regularly conduct post-click analysis with reference to sales client. For example, when you run advertising campaign, dealer new cars, we added searches for “Buy Ford Focus used” at the minimum rate. Timely post-click analysis helped to discover that some of the users coming to your website for this phrase, eventually left the application on the new cars. Allocated to such requests in a separate campaign and upped the ante.
If you look globally, it would be appropriate Pareto law. 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of the effort — only 20% of the results. To put it simply, you need to constantly analyze the process and results of work to understand what steps lead to success and which are wasting time.
Most teams genuinely sought to find new approaches to traditional tasks, they are convinced that a startup will succeed. But often, when the company has a pool of customers, time to experiment remains. As a result the staff are well-trodden paths that will lead to the goal. For example, all managers in the “context” you know what A/B tests must be carried out at the start of the campaign, but few people remember about them after a month of promotion.
Good, the testing process needs to be continuous. Launching the campaign, test hypotheses, evaluate results and begin to test new hypotheses. In fact, most managers do tests when I have free time – that is, almost never. As a result of advertising campaign reaches a peak of growth and stagnation begins. Does not increase CTR, traffic and sales.
We solved the problem by creating a rule. At the end of each month to determine the next hypothesis to test. In this test all.
From targeting and grounds to the pictures and parts of text ads. This gives you the opportunity to understand what are the sources, formats and phrases that are eventually converted into sales. It is worth considering the balance between experimentation and solving the basic problems. Our experience has shown that the optimum ratio is 20 to 80.
This rule applies to any team, no matter what she does. Sometimes, being an expert in their own segment, the person does not understand the laws of the clients business. And without knowledge of the market and competitors is difficult to achieve high results. Imagine how many visitors to a cafe where Barista will prepare coffee with milk and how many in a nearby restaurant, which serves caramel macchiato and honey Raph.
Most likely, the first café will not last long. In the case of contextual advertising, the specifics of the market and competition affect the rates. For example, the furniture market can be called inert, because it has an established pool of major players with a stable promotion strategies. In this segment dont need to be in first place in the special placement, context and work well at lower positions.
While in the car business, competition is sharper, so to calls, leads and sales is possible only under condition of placing in the first position the top ad unit. The Manager needs to understand the specifics of customers business, know what its competitors are doing, and adjust the stakes so that to be in the eye of potential customers. In other words, if the segment of the furniture to change rates once a week, when the promotion of a car dealership need to check the position every two hours. Send columns, corresponding to the requirements of the editorial Board, [email protected]