Social Media Knowledge run multiple courses in multiple states, multiple times per year and each with multiple phases.
In one particular 12 month period, we guesstimated that we had handled around 3,000 pieces of content to support all of SMK’s online activities. And with that many pieces of creative, mistakes were bound to happen.
“Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”Andy Grove
Nobody likes making mistakes.
Much less admitting mistakes.
Let alone publicly blogging about them.
But SMK’s media schedule, time pressures and sheer volume of creative and moving parts kept exposing areas of human error.
How mistakes (can) make us stronger
Where errors are concerned:
- Step one is to own up to mistakes first (where we know) – so ideally, SMK is learning of errors from us before they’re learning about this from others
- Step two is we ask ourselves: “Can we fix this mistake in a system? (so it doesn’t happen again)”
How SMK became stronger
As a result of numerous cracks in our very unique Media Schedule we ended up implementing certain processes specifically for SMK – some that would eventually trickle down to become agency standard practise:
- “Fix in System” #1: As basic housekeeping, we implemented an agency wide ‘404 Link Checker’ script that alerted us within 24 hours if an ad we were serving was pointing to a web page that wasn’t working.
- “Fix in Systems” #2: A second housekeeping item was implementing an agency wide script that would alert us if a Campaign was live that wasn’t accruing impressions. Especially in a busy account with hundreds of moving parts, campaigns that aren’t serving can easily fly under the radar. This script alerted us within 24 hours for any campaigns that were live but not serving – something that can happen for various reasons and usually unexpected reasons.
- “Fix in Systems” #3: Client Specific Naming Convention – we needed to invent and agree upon a specific campaign naming convention to ensure that the client, the graphic designer, account manager and our Media Buying team were all on the same page when referring to the same campaigns, phases, GEOs and terms.
- “Fix in Systems” #4: Collaborative SSoT Media Calendar. We have been using Google Apps as our default agency office tool since inception – however, initially the client was using Excel to communicate Media timings. As the complexity of course offerings, phases and GEOs offered increased, different versions of Excel files ended up being transferred back and forth. We ended up transitioning Excel into a single shared and expanded Google Sheet that became our ‘Single Source of Truth’ Media Schedule. The sheet eventually encapsulated all of the details for the 3000 or so pieces of Creative that we needed to coordinate across multiple courses in multiple states, multiple times per year and each with their own multiple phases and flight/pause dates.
Of course, not all of the above happened all at once, and while the systems were being developed, mistakes were still made. But by the end of it, the ratio of mistakes for the volume of creative going live became outliers and happened for isolated reasons rather than lack of process.
Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned, is that by working with SMK through our mistakes, not only did our systems become stronger, but our agency/client relationship became stronger – and that is perhaps the biggest win of all!
For our 10th birthday, Intentional has been celebrating what can be achieved in Ten Years. We’ve collated our top ten lessons from ten years working with some of Australia’s leading brands.
What about you? What can you see happening in the next ten years?