November 2, 2021

Big Splash vs. Better Aim: Achieving Constant Strategy Optimization

Close-up photo of dartboard with dart in bullseye

You’re probably familiar with constant content optimization: taking action, like A/B testing your headlines, tweaking your keywords, or adjusting your search terms. But are you thinking about constant strategy optimization? You should be.

In an ideal world, everything you do succeeds wonderfully well. But in the real world, while wild success is definitely the best thing, failing fast is the second-best thing.

Today, brands need to be putting out more content (see our recent post on this); using data to figure out how people are consuming it; optimizing it quickly; and then, taking what we learn back to our foundational strategic assumptions.

That last part is the one that I see brands leave out most often.

Every new piece of content should be an opportunity to learn.

We should be taking content performance data back and checking it – against our assumptions of who our audience is; what our segments are; what our experience arcs are; what our patient journey is; what our understanding is of what moves our audiences – and re-applying it.

Your best messaging and assumptions are just hypothesis, until you have content in market – then, you can begin to really learn. Sometimes, concepts are built from just a few interviews or bits of research. If you’re not learning from how your content performs, and adjusting your messaging accordingly, you’re ignoring vast amounts of feedback.

Out With the Old, In With the Effective
Your content and your strategy should work in a flywheel – not annually or quarterly, but constantly. This can be challenging in old-style environments, where brands sought to achieve big releases.

But today, brands shouldn’t be dropping bombs. They should be using guided missiles. Smaller, faster, and more accurate.

Too often, brands measure their success based on metrics that can be manipulated or purchased. But how many people are landing on your content organically? Willingly clicking on it? Brands need to measure more from metrics that can’t be manipulated – and use that information to improve. 

This takes a different approach to budgeting – retaining a certain amount of time each month for strategic review, assessment, and adjustment. With certain brands or portfolios, that could be problematic. But I’d love to ask: would you rather spend that money there, targeting your “guided missiles” – or would you rather spend many times that amount on a “bomb” of a big media buy?

It’s all a question of prioritization and allocation. Too often, brands are willing to put budget behind distribution but not messaging. Smarter brands, though, see the value in a better aim, instead of a bigger splash. 

Consider the implications for your brands! And if you’re curious about how you could be doing more with your budget through constant strategy optimization, talk to your Intouch team.

Nathan Stewart is SVP of content strategy and SEO at Intouch Group.