The Tiers of a Good Go/No-Go Process

I’ve been doing a lot of demos for GoNoGoPro the past couple weeks, and the demos have led to some awesome questions about the RFP decision-making process.

Whether formal or not, all firms go through some sort of a process to decide which jobs are worth pursuing. During one of the demos, we had a long conversation about what criteria were the “right” criteria to use for the firm’s decision and why we chose the ones we did for GoNoGoPro.

After a great discussion, and a little further reflection, I thought it made for a nice post to explore the criteria that are worth making your decision on.

I think of the process in the following tiers:

Filter criteria – Filter criteria are simple and generally have “yes or no” answers. These criteria should be easy to communicate, so that if any one person in the firm served as a gateway for new opportunities, they could easily rule things out.

Filters likely do not have any bearing on the client’s decision to hire you, they are more about your internal goals. These would be statements such as, “We only pursue jobs over a million dollars.” The client isn’t going to make their decision to hire you based on this, but you would filter a lot of jobs out based on this. Client type or target market may or may not be a filter criteria as well, it just depends on the rigidity of your firm’s marketing and business development strategy.

Client-focused criteria – Client-focused criteria aren’t always so easy to answer, but they can be. An example of a client-focused criteria would be, “Have we worked with the client before?” The answer to this question factors into the client’s perception of you. As the old saying goes, “It’s not who you know, but who knows you that matters.”

Client-focused criteria are what GoNoGoPro is based on. Filters come and go, and may change based on your marketing strategy or business plan. Client-focused criteria are what the experts write about in almost every issue of SMPS Marketer.

Now, what’s worth measuring? Pretty much any data that isn’t ruled out by your filter. Even if the contract amount isn’t a part of your evaluation, it does make sense to track it and observe patterns and hit rate over time. The better your data, the stronger your filters become.

Strong filters mean less time reviewing opportunities that shouldn’t make it in your inbox in the first place!

Environmentally Sensitive Marketing?

I’m lucky enough to be involved in three client social media/web strategy campaigns right now, all at varying stages. Each of them have distinct goals, communications styles and audiences.

As the strategy for each has been finalized, I find it amazing how different the messages really are. Just as architects can’t design in a vacuum, marketers can’t market in one. A beautiful building can seem out of place and become an eyesore if placed in the wrong environment. A well-crafted campaign or website can stick out like a sore thumb if it isn’t targeted appropriately or launched in the right places.

I’ve started thinking of developing a good communications plan or strategy as being an environmentally sensitive designer, obviously not in the “green” sense, but in the observant, respectful, community friendly way. There seem to be a lot of parallels between designing buildings and designing communications for me. After all, they’re both about creating a community dialogue of some sort, right?

Any fellow marketers see parallels? Feel free to comment!

Your Business Card is…Architecture

I’ve been meeting some exciting and creative people lately. Inevitably, if we’re meeting at a business function we do the whole “business card exchange thing.” I love it when I get a business card that’s square, or shorter than usual…or anything different. It always reminds me of this guy.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YBxeDN4tbk]

This video cracks me up. Going through architecture school, we would get bombarded by professor commentary if we didn’t have some sort of justification for our design decisions. Evidently, this guy can at least justify his with his ego.

I always wonder what the reason is for the unique sizing of a business card when I receive it though. Is your firm smaller than average? Do you specialize in square buildings? Do you only hire skinny people? Or do you just want to be different?

I’m obviously just having fun and I’m all about creative positioning, but it means a lot more when the marketing and graphic design decisions made for your firm are based on a sound brand. At least you have a story to go with the card.