For all the millions of articles, eBooks, videos, and podcasts explaining marketing best practices, we have to face facts—success comes down to experimentation and continuous improvement.
It’s easy to get stuck in silos as we try to make continuous improvements to our strategies. The social media team thinks about how to boost engagement. Email marketers try to improve click through rates. Content creators try to tell better stories.
As the digital marketing landscape continues to change rapidly, we need a better way to continuously improve projects as a whole. And that’s where we can learn from the world of agile development.
If you want to continuously improve your marketing, conducting retrospectives after new projects can help.
What Is a Retrospective?
Retrospectives are team meetings that help you assess what went right and what went wrong once you complete a project.
In agile development, retrospectives are held at the end of each sprint. Marketers might use retrospectives to evaluate a campaign. The key is to go over the entire project, bringing together participants from all contributing teams—content, social media, design, email, PPC, SEO, etc.
By bringing the entire team together, you can break down silos and see how different departments impacted overall campaign success.
For example, the campaign may have been to generate and nurture leads before and after an upcoming event. In the retrospective, your goal is to have the team self-assess and identify opportunities for improvement. Then, you can take those lessons and use them to set new goals for your next project.
On the surface, retrospectives may seem simple. Without the right approach, you might not gain the clarity you’re expecting. Poorly-run retrospectives can make certain employees hesitate to speak up for fear of criticism, and they can lead to finger-pointing if feedback isn’t kept in check.
That’s why the way you run your retrospectives is so important.
The “Good, Bad, Better, Best” Approach
One common way to run a retrospective is the “good, bad, better, best” approach.
Like other approaches, this method starts with a discovery phase in which team members take time to write down their thoughts, feelings, and observations about the project. Those ideas are shared with the rest of the team (without debate) and organized into the four categories:
- Good: This is where the team celebrates things that went well and identifies the areas in which expectations were met or exceeded.
- Bad: This category exhibits where the team fell short of its goals or experienced problems during execution.
- Better: Where does the team see opportunities to improve project execution in the future?
- Best: Take the time to let team members praise one another. What instances of exceptional performance did people identify?
Once all the observations are categorized, the team can start discussing the merits of certain ideas. What, specifically, does the team agree it can improve upon? How can you fix a potentially failed project? Do we need to adjust our expectations for future projects?
Overall, this approach will help you spot opportunities to quickly change processes and give yourself a better chance of success on the next campaign.
Marketers love to move fast and juggle many different tasks. Just don’t get so caught up in moving forward that you forget to look back. Sometimes that’s the best way to come up with a game-changing idea.