Why a Three-Year-Old Should Lead Strategy on Your Next Campaign

March 25, 2014  |  Jacquelyn Gozdowiak

Thinking Big

Some agencies perfect the art of the “yes man.” With a cheery nod and an overly energetic pep to their step, the company scampers off and does exactly what the client has outlined for them. Best. Agency. EVER. Right?

Maybe for the project launching, but a go-live isn’t the full barometer for success.

After all, if you open a business and a bunch of people walk through the front doors but you overlooked good workers and functioning cash registers, that bright-shiny open sign and packed house won’t actually keep you in business. Just like the number of Followers on the various social media channels don’t really matter; if you have a million Followers or Likes of your page but nobody responds or shares your messages, you’re probably missing the mark and aren’t actually going to see any residual real world benefit from your efforts.

You’d be better off hiring a team of three-year-olds to lead strategy on your next project. You may just have a better chance of success and an ongoing project relationship.

Why?

No, why *is* the reason.

Because those three-year-olds would ask the most important yet most overlooked question of all — they’d ask why? It’s the favorite question of any three-year-old and it should be your favorite question no matter which side of the agency/client table you sit at.

Potential Client: “We want to build a new website. We want one of those parallax sites.”

Three-Year-Old: “Why?”

Potential Client: “I liked that one scrolly site I saw that does it. And it’s what everyone’s doing, according to that article I read on an email I subscribe to.”

Three-Year-Old: “Why?”

Potential client: “Why is everyone doing that? Well, I don’t know. They just are. Are you saying that might not be the best way? Why?”

That three-year-old just started a dialogue about why one method is better or not better than another. Understanding needs and goals, that’s the way you get to the best way to do something — the “why” to do something one way or the other.

Whether you’re the client or you’re the agency — never worry about asking the ever important “why” question. Not only is it good to challenge one another, it’s even healthier to challenge yourself. Why do you recommend this? Why wouldn’t you? Why would this be worse than that? Why would this be better than that?

A client may think they want their Facebook page to have one million Likes or their Twitter account to have 100,000 Followers. But why does that number matter? Is that tied to a similarly themed milestone and therefore content and promotions may also play off of that number? Or is it just a number that sounded impressive and instead, it’s worth having a conversation about impressions, engagement and conversion goals, in its place?

“Why” isn’t a confrontational question, it’s a powerful question. One that allows both teams to ensure that they understand, prioritize, and are attempting to achieve the same end goals. The answer often shines a light on the challenges you’ll face and allows the team to work backwards so as to determine the best route past those. And asking “why” allows teams to change directions earlier in the process if need-be, when it’s more time and cost-effective to do so for most projects.

And that’s much better than having to answer “Why didn’t anyone think of this?” at the end of a busted campaign.

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