POSTED : March 31, 2014

Google “7 habits of highly effective..”, and you’ll find dozens of plays on the theme. But, I’m hopping on the bandwagon because there are some parallels in business that are just too close to pass up as we talk about optimization.

In the case of digital, there are several habits that any company which is looking to get the most value out of its optimization program should consider. This requires you to take a look inward at your current business processes and prepare yourself to face the honest realities that may follow. Each company has a unique environment, structure, purpose, and has unlimited room to improve. Sometimes, it’s about scaling the work to learn to walk before you run. At other times, it’s simply continuing to move the needle.

1. Acknowledge where you are today

Sometimes knowing where you want to be headed is more exciting than accepting the reality of where you are now.  But, understanding your business and the gaps that currently exist are crucial. Think about your sales funnel and current business processes, and how you’ll determine the value of your efforts.

2. Have a plan and be proactive for the future

It’s important to have a realistic view of the state of your business, but also to have a plan for how to overcome any of the pitfalls you have acknowledged. For example, if you aren’t able to attribute values all of the way through the sales cycle, start conversations with those who own that system. These insights will be your golden ticket to seeing the whole picture instead of just a piece of the pie, so investing in making it happen will be well worth the effort.

3. Embrace the fact that the work is ongoing

Recognize that optimization work is an ongoing cycle of continuous improvement, not a means to an end. While often there are some great “quick wins” when you start, there is really no end to the insights or optimization work on which your team can act. Pace yourself, and apply resources where you’ll find the most value and bang for your buck. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to take a second look at certain themes. As your business matures, often it is important to periodically revisit goals and KPIs to ensure you’re still properly aligned.

4. Create an internal structure that supports action

Whether it’s working with an internal team or an agency partner, collaboration and the ability to take action is key. Optimization is all about being nimble and quick to respond. Knowing this in advance and setting up clear roles and responsibilities, as well as necessary workflows is essential to your ability to implement recommendations and insights in a meaningful way.

5. Don’t get too caught up in the moment

With so much data readily available, it can be tempting to react to data insights from a granular level, without seeing the bigger picture. Learn how to pull valuable insights, but look at the trends on the scale that makes sense for your business. Focus on KPIs that are actionable and make sure that your optimization efforts are tied to larger business objectives.

6. Make sure you have the right tools

Technology and best practices are constantly evolving. Seek out resources to help provide a holistic view when making investments related to data integration, systems, and access to powerful information that could be informing your business decisions.

7. Never stop learning

The digital landscape is ever-changing, so don’t force a cookie-cutter approach. Stay informed of the latest news so you understand the influence of technological changes that could impact your tactical approach, in either a positive or negative way.

If you work to solidify a foundation based on these principles throughout your experience optimization work, you’ll be well on your way to seeing the true ROI you’ve set out to achieve.