Connect with us


11 Appointment Scheduling Essentials to Transform Your Business



11 Appointment Scheduling Essentials to Transform Your Business

Appointment scheduling may seem pretty straightforward on the surface, but effective scheduling is an art. Your clients will be impressed by your efficiency and you will be getting more out of your calendar. More importantly, smart scheduling strategies will transform your business in the long run!

How so? For starters, efficient scheduling allows you to fit more into your day. You are able to prioritize your appointments on a daily basis and minimize double booking your customers. For you and your staff, this means your days are more productive and ultimately more profitable for your business!

That said, optimizing your schedule is easier said than done. Appointment scheduling comes with its own set of challenges that can hamper effective calendaring if you aren’t paying attention!

Challenges to appointment scheduling

  • Managing availability
  • Effective prioritization
  • No-shows
  • Double bookings
  • Data management

Before we look at the strategies and best practices to improve your scheduling skills, let us first understand the impediments to effective scheduling.

Managing availability

As your business grows to provide more services and accommodate more clients, you will need to keep an eye on your burgeoning calendar. Your staff could be juggling multiple services every day and without a synchronized calendar, it can be easy to get overwhelmed before you know it!

If you want to maintain an effective workflow and client experience, you will need to manage your calendar in real-time. You will also need to ensure  the whole team is up to date with any change made to the schedule to avoid confusion and miscommunication.

Effective prioritization

Consider a situation where you receive multiple requests for the same service on a day when you may be short-staffed or your calendar for the day is mostly filled up. How do you decide which of your clients gets the priority appointment?

Setting up a system that allows you to prioritize appointments may be challenging, but doing so will allow you and your staff to set up appointments without much confusion.


One of the biggest challenges for service-based businesses – and fitness and wellness studios in particular – is managing client no-shows. Apart from wasting a slot on the calendar, the clients themselves end up losing money and affect the overall experience for other clients waiting for a slot.

While you may maintain a no-show or cancellation policy to counter the issue, it will be important for you to maintain constant communication with clients until their slot to ensure attendance.

Double bookings

Multiple clients showing up to the same appointment is something you would love to avoid at any cost. Yet, double bookings tend to happen more often than you’d expect and have a significant impact on your client experience.

Once again, it all boils down to maintaining a synchronized calendar that is updated with fresh appointments in real-time. This will keep your whole staff updated on the calendar and prevent any slot from getting booked more than once.

Data Management

In today’s data-driven landscape, your organization of client information plays a crucial role in helping you improve your offerings. Right from collecting the right data on your clients, you will need to pay attention to every step in the process in order to deliver the best experience.

The more data you collect, the better you can understand your clients and your target market. That said, an ever-growing data bank is at a proportionally higher risk and warrants more security to protect your clients. This is why efficient data management calls for a balance of smart analytics and strong safeguards so you can produce better outcomes for your clients and your business.

Appointment Scheduling Best-practices

With a diverse variety of challenges to appointment scheduling, only a focused and consistent approach will help you get the most out of your calendar and refine your client experience. Luckily, there are a number of tried-and-tested tactics that can optimize your scheduling skills.

  1. Factor in prep and debrief time
  2. Clarify every detail
  3. Expand the scope of each appointment
  4. Categorize on priority
  5. Maintain consistent engagement
  6. Synchronize team calendars
  7. Digitize data collection
  8. Employ smart analytics
  9. Enable self-scheduling
  10. Automate waitlist management
  11. Prioritize accessibility and user experience

Let us now look at each one of these tactics in detail and explore their impact on your client experience.

1. Factor in prep and debrief time

It may be an overused cliche, but the observation that “time is money” is especially true for service-based organizations. Appointments are time-bound and you don’t want to waste time for yourself or your clients.

Preparing beforehand will help you set the course for the appointment from the get go. You will adopt the right pace, ask the right questions, and allow the discussion to flow smoothly. This is where you stand to improve your client experience significantly, which is why it calls for your utmost attention.

Slot in some time before and after each meeting as a buffer so you can work on the details of your appointment. Take the time after your meeting to chart the way forward before reaching out to your client again.

2. Clarify every detail

Setting an appointment doesn’t just involve fixing a time and a place to meet. Beyond the aspect of organizing your meeting, you need to get into why the appointment is necessary in the first place.

What does your client want from the appointment? What can you offer your client that will give them the best experience with your business? Ensuring you and your client are on the same page about the appointment will help you understand how to direct your services better.

3. Expand the scope of each appointment

As a service provider, each appointment is an opportunity to deliver exceptional value to your clients. While you can always restrict your meeting to what your client is looking for, there is always room for more.

Before scheduling each meeting, take the time to explore your client’s requirements. Look closely between the lines to see if there is anything more you can offer your client that they haven’t mentioned, but might be glad to have received from your services. Your clients will be grateful for your extra attention to their needs and your efforts will be rewarded with their loyalty!

4. Categorize on priority

With a number of appointment requests coming in, it can be easy to get overwhelmed while organizing a schedule that works best for you, your staff, and your clients at the same time.

One way to make it easy for yourself while booking slots would be to schedule as per priority of each appointment. Now, each client is equally important and every appointment will assume equal importance. So how do you prioritize without making things inconvenient for your clients?

The most effective way of doing this would be to set a scale that allows you to measure priority based on a few key factors. Ask yourself these questions before you fix every appointment:

  • Is it possible to deliver your service without an appointment?
  • How urgent is the client’s need in this case?
  • What is the concerned staff’s calendar looking like?

Understanding these aspects better will allow you to decide if and how each appointment needs to be scheduled and a suitable slot can be booked in your calendar.

5. Maintain consistent engagement

Even the most important appointments can be forgotten in the course of time. This is especially the case when a booking is made well in advance. Keeping your client engaged is a good way to ensure they attend the meeting and the slot doesn’t get wasted.

Identify key touch points where you can communicate with your customer. Sending email invites allows your customers to synchronize the meeting into their calendar, while you can also send your own reminders through email to ensure higher attendance.

In case you find it difficult to track every appointment on a daily basis, you can always automate the communication process and free up your time to improve the quality of your services.

6. Synchronize team calendars

When you’re running a business with multiple staff taking appointments, collaboration becomes all the more important if you are to achieve the best results. There are always chances of clients being double booked by the staff or taking up multiple appointments in the same slots. Scheduling errors can very quickly cause problems for your business as it leaves a negative impression on your clients and even lead to bad reviews that impact your credibility in the long run.

Keeping your team’s calendars in sync will allow them to work with greater efficiency and also avoid scheduling errors in real-time. Maintaining a cloud-based calendar will ensure that every booking you make is updated on all your staff members’ calendars instantly.

7. Digitize data collection

As your list of clients begins to grow, so does your storehouse of information. When you have a sizable bank of data on your hands, using technology is the obvious way forward.

That said, user data is under an ever-increasing threat online today, which is why you will need to be cautious before settling on the right system to store and secure your data. While there are a wide range of business management solutions to choose from today, it is important to pick one that prioritizes data security to protect your client information.

8. Employ Smart Analytics

While storing and securing your client information is essential to the client experience, there is a lot more you can do to improve your services using the data at hand. As you gather more information on your clients, it gives you a greater opportunity to understand them better. Data analytics can play a particularly crucial role in improving healthcare services as patient history and the information collected from previous appointments will be used to address patient concerns in each subsequent appointment.

Everything from your sales statistics to the information they share with you can be analyzed to track client behavior and preferences. Over time, you will be able to polish your services to fit your target market more closely and generate better leads for your business.

9. Enable self-scheduling

As you continue to grow as a business, your focus will naturally shift towards consolidating your expansion. You will need to work on improving the quality of your services and providing a memorable experience to your clients at every step.

One significant aspect of this experience can be addressed by allowing your clients to book their own slots online. This will make things easier for you and give them the freedom to choose a slot that works best for them.

Adopting a cloud-based scheduling software that synchronizes your staff calendars in real-time will help you simplify the scheduling process for both your clients and your team at the same time. Adding the provision of self-scheduling will also ensure your clients can make fast and safe payments online and further simplify your workflow.

10. Automate waitlist management

While self-scheduling can improve the level of your clients’ experience, you might need to step in when they’re looking at a full calendar. With capacity management becoming all the more important today, you could be faced with the prospect of fewer slots open to your clients. Rather than risk losing potential bookings or leaving a slot open at the last minute, adding these prospects to a waitlist will ensure you can get them a booking as soon as a slot opens up.

Today, your waitlist can be easily automated so you don’t have to spend much time worrying about keeping things moving. Automated waitlist management will ensure that every time a slot opens up on your calendar, an email is sent out to the next person on your waitlist so they can book the slot immediately and your calendar stays fully booked at all times.

11. Prioritize accessibility and user experience

Ultimately, the most important thing you will need to do to ensure more bookings over time is to bridge the gap between your clients and your booking platform. After all, the lower the effort your clients need to put in to make a booking, the more likely they are to do so.

The first thing you can do to improve accessibility is to ensure you’re using a mobile-friendly platform that they can then access immediately. Integrating your booking platform with your website is another way to improve their booking experience. As you make your booking platform easily accessible through multiple channels, you will find more bookings come in and keep your business flowing!


To support your business growth in the long run, you will need to prioritize your client experience. This begins with improving the quality of your appointments and what your clients get from each meeting with you. Additionally, empowering your clients throughout their journey with your business will give them a greater sense of control and also reduce the workload for you and your staff.

As your business continues to grow, it will be essential for you to optimize your appointment scheduling process by delivering simplicity to your clients and raising efficiencies for you and your staff. Identifying the right appointment scheduling software that integrates key business management and booking operations without complicating the process for your clients has the potential to set your business on the path of rapid expansion. Choose wisely!

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address


How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]



How to Schedule Ad Customizers for Google RSAs [2024]

It’s no wonder that responsive search ads have steadily grown in popularity in recent years. Through Google’s machine learning capabilities, RSAs provide a powerful way to automate the testing of multiple headlines and descriptions to ensure a closer match to user intent. The benefits are clear: RSAs mean broader reach, better engagement, and improved performance metrics.

However, all these benefits come at a significant (but reasonable) cost – they can be extremely difficult to manage, especially when it comes to updating ad copy to promote limited time offers.

I know this firsthand – I work with several ecommerce clients with promotions that constantly change. Not too long ago, I found myself going through the consistently tedious process of updating a client’s RSA headlines and copy. As I was making the changes, I thought to myself: “There must be a better way to update this ad copy. I shouldn’t have to use find and replace so many times while pausing and enabling my ad campaigns.”

After expressing this to my colleague, Jordan Stambaugh, the two of us agreed there must be a better way. But we’d have to make it happen. A few weeks later, we put that idea into action and created a more efficient process for updating RSA ad copy on a scheduled basis. If you want to try this process for yourself, just keep reading.

Responsive Search Ad Customizers 101: Basic Options & Execution

Before diving into the process of scheduling automatic updates for your RSA customizers, it’s essential to understand some key Responsive Search Ad fundamentals.

First, you can customize three main options within RSAs: the Attribute Name, the Data Type, and the Account Value. Each of these plays a vital role in personalizing your ads:

  • Attribute Name: This is essentially the identifier for the customizer. It is how you’ll reference the specific piece of information you’re customizing within the ad. For instance, if you’re running a promotion, you might name an attribute “Promotion.”
  • Data Type: This indicates the kind of data the attribute represents and it determines how the information can be formatted and used within the ad. Common data types include Text (for plain, non-numeric text), Percent (to represent percentage discounts), Price (to denote monetary values), and Number (for any numerical value).
  • Account Value: This is the default value for the attribute that you set at the account level. It acts as a fallback if more specific values aren’t provided at the campaign or ad group level.

For example, if you wanted to promote a 10% off discount using RSAs, you’d use the “Discount” attribute, a data type of “Percent,” and an account value of “10% off.” Then, when someone is searching for products, Google would test automatically inserting a copy regarding a 10% off promotion into your ad.

Once you’ve set up the right customization options, you can start to format your RSAs with customizers.

Here’s how:

  • Start by typing in {
  • Click on Ad Customizer then select your attribute
  • Google will populate your attributes that are already uploaded
  • For a simple offer, use the “Default text” attribute as a catch-all. This will ensure your ads run smoothly if Google can’t pull the right messaging from your RSA feed



How to Schedule Your Ad Customizers with a Feed

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s cover how to schedule your ad customizers.

Just follow this three step process:

1. Create the feed

Start by creating two sheets: The Parent sheet, and the Child sheet. The “Parent” sheet will act as the primary data source, while the child sheet will pull data from the parent sheet.

We’ll start by building the parent sheet. After opening the sheet, start by renaming the active tab to “Promotions.” Don’t skip this step, it’s crucial for referencing this range in formulas later on.

In your “Promotions” tab, head to the top row and label columns A, B, and C with the headers of your ad customizer attributes. For example, you might have “BrandSaleHeadline” as your attribute in column A, “text” as the Data Type in column B, and “Shop the Collection” as the Account Value in column C.

Once your headers are in place, move to cell C2. Here, you’ll input the expression =lookup(today(),F:G,E:E). This formula will play a key role in dynamically updating your RSA customizer based on the current date.

Next, go to columns E, F, and G, which will be used to manage your scheduling. In these columns, you’ll list out the different values your chosen attribute might take, alongside their corresponding start and end dates. For example, under the “BrandSaleHeadline” attribute, you might schedule various promotional headlines to appear during different sale periods throughout the year.

Here’s how your sheet might look:

Now look back at the first 3 columns on your sheet. They should look like this:

Now create a second sheet. We’ll call this sheet the Child sheet. It’s going to automatically pull in data from the parent sheet you just created, and will be the one you link to Google Ads later on.

Columns A, B and C will be almost identical to the child sheet, but we will be using a special formula later so we can automatically populate this. So, start by labeling Row 1 Column A “Attribute,” then the next column as “Data type,” then column C as “Account value.” 

Then go to C2 and use this expression to populate the right account value from the parent document: =importrange(“[PARENT DOCUMENT URL HERE]”,”Promotions!C2″)

Your sheet should now look like this:

We recommend adding a date range with default text for any days you’re  not running a promotion. In the example above, we have “Shop Our Collection” appearing as default text.

2. Input attributes

Once you have your feed created, the next step involves inputting your attributes into the Google Ads platform. This can be done either manually or through a bulk upload.

For the manual approach, navigate to “Tools & Settings” in your Google Ads interface, then go to ‘Setup’ followed by “Business Data.” Here, you’ll find an option for “Ad Customizer Attributes.” Click the plus sign to add your attributes. It’s crucial to use the same attribute names that you’ve established in your Parent Google Sheet template to ensure consistency and proper data synchronization.



Alternatively, if you prefer the bulk upload method, again head to “Tools & Settings.” This time, select “Bulk Actions” and then “Uploads.” For this process, you only need to upload columns A to C from your template. 

Be aware that it might take some time for your uploaded attributes to be reflected in the business data section of Google Ads.

3. Set up an automatic schedule

At this point, you’ve almost finished scheduling your ad customizers. Navigate to Tools & Settings, then Bulk Actions, then Uploads, then click the Schedules tab at the top. Select your Child Google Sheet as the data source, and share your Google Sheet with the appropriate email.



And there you have it – Google will automatically pull in the data you populated in the sheets into your RSAs.

Common Challenges When Scheduling RSA Ad Customizers

When we test these sheets with our clients in the wild, we’ve uncovered five common challenges. Be on the lookout for these issues – solving them before they happen can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Not scheduling your upload when the site changes 

The first and most significant hurdle is the mismatch between the scheduled data upload and website content updates. For instance, if the Google Sheet is set to upload at 11 am, but the website changes occur at 3 pm, there’s going to be a discrepancy where the wrong message could be displayed for several hours, or new messaging could appear prematurely. Conversely, if the website updates happen before the scheduled sheet upload, outdated promotions might linger until the new data is imported. Synchronizing these schedules is crucial; it’s best to align them so updates occur simultaneously.

Skipping QA during a message change

Another pitfall is neglecting quality assurance (QA) during message updates. It’s vital to regularly check the business data section to verify that the correct values are in place post-update.

Issues with the IMPORTRANGE function

Then there’s the technical aspect of setting up the IMPORTRANGE function correctly in the Google Sheets template. The ‘child’ template must reliably pull data from the ‘parent’ sheet. If this function isn’t configured correctly, data won’t be imported as needed.

Not sharing access of the Google template for automatic uploads

Pay attention to your access permissions for the Google Sheets template. Google will prompt you with the email address that needs permission to access the ‘child’ sheet for automatic uploads. Overlooking the sharing of your sheet with this address will prevent the system from working.

Having date range gaps in your parent sheet

Lastly, a common oversight is leaving date range gaps in the ‘parent’ sheet. Every single date must be accounted for without overlaps. A practical tip is to have an ‘evergreen’ backup message ready, scheduled to run continuously, ideally through the end of the year, to cover any potential gaps.


Leveraging Google Sheets in conjunction with Google Ads to schedule RSA ad customizers is a game-changer for managing dynamic promotional content. This process not only streamlines your workflows but also ensures that your ads remain relevant and up-to-date, reflecting current promotions without the need for constant manual intervention. 

By adopting this method, you’ll save significant time and effort, allowing you to focus more on strategy and less on the minutiae of ad copy updates. Give it a try and experience a more efficient way to manage your RSAs, keeping your campaigns fresh and engaging with minimal hassle.

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies



10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

In 2023, there are a total of 4.89 billion social media users worldwide. One of the many reasons you should build your brand’s presence on social media is to capture a slice of this pie.

So, if you’re a marketer wanting to crush it online — this is your time to take action. The social presence of billions of users shows great potential to connect, engage, and build lasting relationships with your target audience.

The real power lies not just in being active on social media networks but in planning social media goals in advance and crafting engaging social media content strategies that make a meaningful impact.

And creating one isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires a thoughtful approach that goes beyond the basics.

To help you accomplish your social media goals, we’ll cover ten advanced tips that you can use to craft an engaging social media content strategy.

1. Conduct A/B Testing

A/B testing allows you to optimize your social media marketing strategy based on insights and social media metrics.

Experiment with different content formats, headlines, captions, and visuals to see which format performs better.

You can also try different content styles and focus on visual content, which is 40x more likely to be shared on social media.

Example: Test two different headlines for a product announcement social post and use the one that users engaged with and shared more. You’ll need to track social metrics like reactions, shares, and new followers during your test.

2. Personalize your content

Before creating a social media marketing plan or content calendar, segment your audience based on demographics, behaviors, and interests.

Craft tailored messages for each segment and find social media content ideas for that target audience.

And to encourage them to engage with you, publish funny content. 80% of marketers say that funny content is the most effective form of social media posts.

Example: Tap into Instagram retargeting ads to promote personalized product recommendations to customers based on their past purchase history.

3. Embrace User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content is a powerful way to build trust, gather a sense of community, and increase engagement rates.

Encourage users to share their experiences and stories about your brand.

Plan a posting schedule using social media tools, highlight, and feature UGC in your content, and give credit to the creators to showcase the authenticity.

Then, create a dedicated UGC marketing campaign.

Example: Invite customers to share photos of themselves using your product with a branded hashtag. Comment on and share these photos on your company’s social media (with permission, of course), thanking the participants for joining in on the fun.

4. Incorporate influencer collaboration

Partner with influencers in your industry who have high engagement rates. 67% of marketers agree they prefer working with micro-influencers with 10k-100k followers or subscribers.

Collaborating with influencers allows you to tap into their social networks and leverage their credibility to boost engagement.

Use social media management tools to co-create content, host giveaways, or collaborate on campaigns aligning with your brand and the influencers’ style to extend your reach and gain engagement.

If your target audience is Gen Z, you can prefer Instagram Reels for influencer marketing.

For context, look at the stats below:

1701077164 213 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Example: Partner with a fitness influencer to promote your health supplements through workout videos.

5. Use interactive elements

To accomplish your social media marketing goals, you can engage people to interact with your brand via polls, quizzes, and surveys. Encourage them to participate and share the results.

Incorporating interactive elements into your social media marketing strategy will spark active participation between your social media team and audience, making them more likely to engage and share opinions.

Example: Host a poll on X (formerly Twitter) to let your audience choose the next product feature you’ll develop or the types of content they’d like to see.

6. Leverage user reviews and testimonials

Showcase user reviews and testimonials as part of your content strategy. Highlight positive feedback and make improvements by taking accountability for negative feedback.

Incorporate these testimonials into your social media strategies to create dedicated reviews or testimonial videos. Sharing this social proof helps build trust and credibility with your audience.

Example: Feature video social proof of a satisfied customer explaining how your software improved their business.

7. Create long-form content

While social media platforms are mostly known for short-form content, they’re switching gears to focus on long-form content.

It’s great, especially if your business receives great engagement on X (formerly Twitter).

“Long-form posts on the microblogging platform are now at 3 billion views per day and rising.”, said Elon Musk, the owner of X.

“This is roughly on par with all newspaper articles views on Earth,” he continued.

1701077165 831 10 Advanced Tips for Crafting Engaging Social Content Strategies

Educational content and case studies tend to work great on LinkedIn. Additionally, blog posts can also help you establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Publishing compelling content is a great way to increase engagement and shares. You can also repurpose educational content on multiple sites and tailor it to each platform for the best results.

Example: Publish content about challenges and opportunities your company faced and how it helped you increase return on investment.

8. Collaborate with other brands

Collaborate with complementary brands or businesses for promotional content.

As part of your digital marketing strategy, come up with mutually beneficial collaboration ideas that can help you both increase reach and tap into ideal customers.

Joint campaigns, cross-promotions, or co-sponsored events are great ways to use the power of collaboration.

Example: Team up with a travel agency to promote your hotel and their vacation packages through a joint social media campaign.

9. Emphasize customer service

Social channels aren’t just a source for publishing content but also for providing excellent customer service.

Marketers these days actively invest in building social media communities to better connect and interact with potential customers.

Respond promptly to inquiries, comments, and feedback from your audience. Show them you genuinely care about them by addressing their concerns and providing helpful solutions.

This level of engagement can build customer loyalty and community building.

Example: Respond to customers’ support requests on social accounts and resolve their issues within a few hours.

10. Monitor trends and stay updated

Stay updated with social media trends, algorithm changes, and content formats. Track performances, content audits, and social media KPIs.

Experiment with new features or types of content introduced by social media channels.

Plan your social media content calendar based on engagement metrics. Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and identify strategies that work well in your industry.

Out of all content types, short-form videos are taking the spotlight. Research states that 64% of shoppers ended up making a purchase after seeing branded video content on social platforms.

Example: If video content is becoming popular on social platforms, create your social media content strategy around it.

You might also consider incorporating data storytelling into your strategy. Why? More brands are moving towards storytelling in their social media posts.

This helps reach larger audiences and accomplish business goals. If you haven’t thought about it, give it a thought. The early bird catches the worm.

Final Words

And there you have it — ten advanced tips to level up your social media marketing strategy.

Test the waters with new features on social channels and plan your content marketing strategy accordingly.

With consistency and some creativity, you can increase your brand awareness and establish a strong foothold in the vast sea of social media.

Are you ready to boost your social media presence and accomplish all your business goals? Here’s to your success!

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading


3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?



3 Questions About AI in Content: What? So What? Now What?

In the United States, Thanksgiving will give us the needed break to take a collective breath.

I don’t know about you, but getting my bearings around the disruptions of generative AI presents an extreme challenge. Innovations come so quickly that once we think we have our arms around it, something new appears.

Almost one year into seeing what generative AI can do for content creation and marketing strategies, OpenAI has introduced custom GPTs for those who pay for access.

You can build custom ChatGPT applications to use the tool’s newest capabilities to do things specifically valuable to you. For example, your company could upload 10 years of blog articles and instruct the custom GPT to use the knowledge gained from the content to formulate answers to questions on the blogs’ topics. In theory, you get the depth and breadth of ChatGPT’s large language learning model focused on your knowledge base and able to take specific actions, such as sending an email or automating a task.

Impressive. But sheesh. What does that do to your plans to integrate tools into your marketing workflow? It seems like one of a hundred things that you’re supposed to pay attention to right now.

Time to reflect

If your time frees up this week either because of the holiday or because the Americans are on holiday, take a moment and reflect on these disruptions to your current marketing and content efforts.

A little more than 20 years ago, a nursing professor at Swansea University published a helpful framework for self-reflection and communication. His exercise has helped me in times of disruption, and perhaps it can be for you as well.

Answer a few questions that fall into three stages – what, so what, and now what?

  • What? Describe what has happened simply and objectively – without judgment or interpretation. Some helpful prompts: What happened? What did you observe? What events occurred? What is the current situation?
  • So what? Answer questions about what you know now that you didn’t know. You can introduce emotions. Some helpful prompts: What did you learn? What difference have the events made? Answer as yourself or within the context of your team or company.

    If it’s just you, potential questions could be: Did what happened clarify an interest? Did you hear or feel anything that surprised you? How is your experience different than what you expected? What do these events mean to you?

    If you answer on behalf of a team or group, you can ask the self-questions along with these prompts: What do these events suggest to you about this group? How might the group work better or worse with these events? How were decisions made or not made based on these events?

  • Now what? Reflect on your future actions based on the first two steps. These broader implications react to what happened. Questions center on defining and looking at the root cause: What would contribute to a successful response? What would be in the way of successfully navigating through this? What learning has now occurred, and how can I/we apply this learning?    

Ask your team to do this same exercise. When you meet back up, create a workshop or team gathering where you discuss the answers and determine where opportunities may exist.

Real reflections aren’t hot takes

If you find yourself thinking that process is basic, well, you’re right. These three questions – and the provocations that come from them – mirror a progression you’ve all tried to work through a problem. However, you don’t often do it for big disruptions in the moment. It’s just too easy to jump to the third step, “now what,” and confuse it with “what’s next.” You get overwhelmed by all the actions you can take.

You can see this challenge happening with the disruption of generative AI.

Check out this article that reflects on the disruption of generative AI in the video game industry. To make the case, it leverages Bain & Company research that “more than half of video game development process will be supported by generative AI within the next five to 10 years.” It uses “what happened” to make a case for “what’s next.” The author didn’t even bother to ask “so what” to reach the conclusion: “Microsoft wants AI to solve problems that game makers say they won’t actually have.”

If you reflect on what the Bain research actually said, you can see it’s almost the opposite of the Microsoft conclusion. The research plainly says few executives believe AI will reduce development costs. They say AI will not significantly impact talent and “do not believe it will replace the creative spark necessary for game development.”

By misinterpreting what happened and not asking, “So what,” the author jumped to predicting what’s next, which is almost useless to make any productive change to address what’s really happening.    

This is why working through this process is helpful.

Now, to be clear, hot takes are fun. I’m not suggesting you do away with predictions or the occasional response. Hot takes are a great way to start the conversation, not to finish them.

Take the time – and the process – to work it out. It’s not perfect. It’s also not meant to be a fail-safe way to predict the future. The three-question stages are meant to help you balance facts and feelings to make more productive and satisfying responses to the disruptions you face.

The process is meant to change your future, not by helping you see it more clearly but by helping you clearly see how you change it.

It’s your story. Have a wonderful, reflective Thanksgiving, and tell it well.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Source link

Keep an eye on what we are doing
Be the first to get latest updates and exclusive content straight to your email inbox.
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address
Continue Reading