Does It Work?: A book review by Bob Morris

Does It Work?Does It Work?: 10 Principles for Delivering True Business Value in Digital Marketing
Shane Atchison and Jason Burby
McGraw-Hill (2015)

How and why brilliant ideas well-executed in “the conditions that allow magic to happen” can achieve business objectives

Those who have read Shane Atchison and Jason Burby’s previous book, Actionable Web Analytics: Using Data to Make Smart Business Decisions, already know that they are diehard pragmatists, driven by a determination to understand what works in the business world, what doesn’t, and why. Then they share what they have learned with as many people as possible.

In this volume they introduce a four-step process with ten core principles that will help business leaders in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) to deliver “true business value in digital marketing.” My own opinion is that the process and principles could also be of substantial value to those who create or increase demand offline.

More than 70 business leaders were interviewed and portions of their contributions are strategically inserted throughout Atchison and Burby’s lively and eloquent narrative. This is more than a clever reader-friendly device. The comments are relevant and, more often than not, enrich the give point from a unique perspective.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Atchison and Burby’s coverage:

o Does It Work? Philosophy (Pages 10-18)
o Goal setting (20-47)
o Alignment (48-79)
o Google (82-84 and 265-267)
o Creativity and big ideas (92-97)
o Digital talent (106-129)
o “Additional Thoughts” about creating a culture for unicorns (149-155)
o Measurement (156-181
o Relative-value modeling (182-205)
o “A Culture of Optimization” (220-222)
o “One Size Fits No One” (228-253)
o “Framework for Innovation” (254-283)
o Digital marketing as actionable and measurable (304-307)

The “Does It Work?” process is rather simple but, more often than not, a deceptively challenging journey rather than a destination. Here are the steps: Set Goals, Inspire Brilliant Creativity, Measure the Results, and Make a Difference. These are stages, really, rather than steps. They are also sequential and interdependent. Failure is assured if right goals are not set and/or there are no brilliant ideas and/or the measurement is insufficient (or worse yet inaccurate) and/or there is little if any) impact of efforts expended.

Hence the great importance of the ten core principles that can guide and direct the planning and implementation of the given initiative. I think the “Does It Work?” process can succeed in almost any competitive marketplace, online or offline. I also think it can help to establish or strengthen a workplace culture within which the workers’ personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

That is indeed a compelling vision, isn’t it? It would be a good idea to keep in mind an observation made by Thomas Edison long ago: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

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