In Campaign Management Is Dead, David Raab argues that the traditional campaign management workflow has become too cumbersome. Instead, he proposes that we execute “plays” inside an additional layer of abstraction which he calls the stages of the buyer’s journey.
Here are the main points of the article:
- the conventional flow-chart model of marketing campaigns can’t capture the complexity of today’s disjointed customer journeys
- a new approach is emerging that identifies stages in the customer journey and picks “plays” (small, highly targeted sets of treatments) to execute in specific situations within each stage
- this approach is easier for marketers to manage because it lets them think in smaller, more comprehensible units
- it will eventually lend itself to greater automation as machines take over more of the marketer’s job in a “madtech” world
Raab says we need to move away from flow-chart models to manage marketing campaigns. They’ve become too complex in today’s world where buyers can travel a myriad of different paths on their journey toward becoming a customer.
Instead of the flow-chart, Raab suggests that marketers identify the stage of the buyer’s journey and execute plays in response to customer behaviors.
It seems to me that Raab’s recommendation aligns with Michael Webb’s sales production model. Like manufacturing production systems that convert raw materials into parts and finished products, Webb explains how we can create a sales production system that converts buyers into prospects and customers.
Two critical concepts in the sales production system are operational definitions and standard work.
Operational definitions allow people to communicate clearly about the “material” they are working on. In marketing and sales, the material are the buyers and their stage in the journey from leads to opportunities to customers. If you have carefully defined the material, then you know the stage of the buyer and you know when the buyer has completed the stage.
Standard work results from respectful agreement among team members about the best way to perform specific tasks. These tasks are like the “plays” that Raab describes. Standard work is simply “the best currently agreed-upon way in which a task or an activity should be performed to achieve the desired objective.” These tasks are invoked by the customer, they add value to the buyer, and they are measurable. They can be constantly improved.
David Raab wants to see us move from the cumbersome workflows of campaign management to something more flexible and measurable. He is creating a new taxonomy to help us with the transition. But I wonder if a new taxonomy is necessary. Could he find what he needs in the language of sales production systems?