Does it Work? is more than a question; it’s an ideology. It defines our process for excellence. We believe in the power of data, but know that it’s how we use it that really matters. And we know that nurturing company culture and our shared vision as an agency strengthens our work. With every project, we ask ourselves: Did we accomplish our goal? Did the work evoke an emotion? Was it easy to use? Did it create action? Ultimately, did it work?

We know Does it Work? sounds a little strange for a business ideology. It is something that we follow and act on, but we use a question to describe it. If you’re wondering why, it’s because of the pace of change. Disruptive technologies are emerging every day. It would be fantastic if we knew how the world will look in five years. But we don’t even know how it will look in five weeks, and we need to constantly adapt to keep up with the pace of innovation and consumer behavior. 

We’ve honed our process for success into 10 principles. Click here for more about the book. 

Business Goals are Everything
Without goals, you can’t understand effectiveness, measure progress, or learn anything. Put simply, if you don’t know what success looks like, you can’t know if you’re driving it. Goals are an overarching concept— they are the aspirations of a company or the outcome you desire for an activity. They are what you are trying to achieve. But they also require measurement. A set of metrical targets, they reflect the factors that push a business in the right direction. By measuring progress against them, you can learn what you’re doing well, where you need help, and what changes you might need to make.

A Collective Vision
If your goals sit in a drawer, they can’t do you any good. That’s why everyone in a company has to understand and work toward them. Doing this involves making sure that every team, initiative, and campaign has its own Does it Work? criteria that ladder up to one or more of your business goals.

A collective vision is not just essential to making progress toward your goals; it also helps break down silos. By making sure we have full alignment, we can build a common understanding of how everyone should work together to achieve our goals.

Data Inspires Creativity
Most of the time, marketers think of data as a success (or failure) metric. In a Does it Work? context, it should not be used simply to evaluate performance. It should also be used to inspire creativity. Data by itself does not provide solutions—it can only provide a clearer vision of opportunities. It can enable marketers to pursue bold ideas and defend them from those loud voices who always think they’re the experts. To do this, we need to take the research and data we have and distill it into simple, powerful ideas that inspire creative people.

Finding Unicorns
To create a Does it Work? culture, you need special people, those who are able to use data creatively and achieve real results for your brand. Our answer is to look for unicorns, people born for digital. They are smart, flexible, low- key team players who adapt easily and love to make things work. They no longer simply want to be creative, they want to make a difference. Does it Work? channels that desire into concrete achievements, such as building revenue for a brand or making customers’ lives easier and more meaningful.

Culture Predicts Failure and Success
So how do you make unicorns happy? Build a great culture for digital. Culture starts at the top and flows naturally down. In the modern business world, that calls for lack of egos, a flat hierarchy, encouragement of ideas, and the ability to take risks and accept failure. Beyond that, Does it Work? tries to deliver everyone a sense of accomplishment. 

Measure What Matters
Today we have plenty of readily available metrics, but we’ll never know what works if we stick to them. Instead we have to measure what matters, not what is easy. This means taking on tough topics, such as understanding how digital affects offline transactions and how short- term campaigns can impact long-term brand value. But it also means being realistic about measurement. We have many things we can measure, but we should only measure them if we can act on them. Measurement without action is a waste of time.

What it’s Worth
We don’t merely want to know what works and doesn’t. We also want to know what works better than something else. Every marketer has 10 things she can do, but if asked to choose just three, she has a difficult time. The answer to her dilemma is relative- value modeling, or the process of assigning dollar values to activities and behaviors. These values don’t have to be absolute—and often they aren’t—but they still can be extremely useful. The reason is that today, we don’t always have clear insight into the value and effectiveness of things we do. What is a tweet worth to your brand compared to an Instagram like? Models can help you bridge this gap, understand the relative value of activities, and prioritize between them.

Never Stop Improving
Are digital properties ever perfect? Quick answer: no. Even the most seasoned UX expert can get things drastically wrong. A project is merely a hypothesis of what might work, and it’s probably not 100% correct. That’s why we should always leave room (and budget) for improvement. Technically speaking, this is known as “optimization.” That’s a fancy way of saying you test out what’s working—and not—on your digital properties. 

One Size Fits No One
Customers are not all the same and don’t want a generic experience—especially in a personalized digital world. Some find motivation in some things, others in others. We target different groups with different experiences. The end result may be a lift in sales, but it could also simply provide a much better experience for your loyal customers.

Framework for Innovation
In the current environment, innovation is simply part of the job. You’ll always need to learn and do new things. From a Does it Work? perspective, innovation is an ongoing process based on solid principles: goals, measurement, and action. We want to make sure that our innovation process drives better results. We also need to understand what happens after we build new things. You have to develop true product management processes to ensure that your brand stays fresh and relevant to the people you value most.

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