The Curse of High Performers - Social Media Explorer
The Curse of High Performers
The Curse of High Performers

Making magic is something that high performers do. They have a knack for conjuring amazing results for their managers, clients, and team. High performers are crafty and they make it look easy. And everyone adores them. The problem with your high performers… they’re going to leave you. They’re going to leave you because you expect magic, and when they deliver time and again, you know what happens: these magic makers get fewer accolades and worse yet…less budget. Yes, the magic makers in your organization get less budget because they can do so much with so little that they get less… therefore, they’re going to leave.

I have banged my head against the wall about this for years. I will never understand this. Ever. Because my brain doesn’t work that way. Here’s how my brain works. When I get magical results…I want to invest MORE into that thing that drove the magic…not less. I want to replicate that magic across everything I do. Conversely, when something isn’t working…you know what I am not going to do? Throw more money at it. A campaign with zero recall is not a success no matter how many awards it garners. Yet, we keep making them. I do not understand.

What can we do about it? Well, I happen to have a little soapbox here at my desk and I would like to pull it out and make a little four-part rant.


High PerformerMeasure it

If you are not measuring your marketing spend and have no plans to start, quit now. The rest of the world will be passing you by in 3-2-1. If you are planning to start: Start. Now. Right now. When you’ve stopped reading this, go measure your efforts. If you need to help someone understand why they need to start measuring, have them read this, this, this or this. Or look at anything Nichole Kelly has written or spoken about. You have to start measuring to see where the magic is happening. Until you do that, you will continue to invest in the wrong place and people.

Stop investing in poor performers

We all have a soft spot for something. I call them blind spots. Some people believe you only need to create your own content. Others believe that email is a magic bullet. Whatever the case may be, you will find a poor performer in your marketing mix. Do not. I repeat, do NOT keep it because you like it. Remind yourself that you like profit more than a broken tactic.

Find the magic and replicate it

When you’re measuring, especially if you are measuring completely and not just looking at last touch attribution, you will see some magic. You’ll see something producing the lowest cost per lead and a compelling cost per acquisition. You can see how different tactics contribute to a lower cost per lead or acquisition. When you see the customer journey, the lifetime customer value based on how they interact with your brand, and what value you bring to the table as a brand, you need to see what that is and find ways to make that magic happen over and over again. For example, if you find that people who interact with content you curate on social media spend more time on your website and convert at a higher rate than those that do not interact with curated social content, you should look at what kind of content they’re interacting with, and see if there are partnerships you can explore with those creators. You could also look at that content to see what you might be able to do with it in terms of original content creation. These nuggets of magic should drive future plans and strategies.

Reward the high performers with budgets worthy of magic

The people who innovate in your company and deliver magic for you should be rewarded with budgets and teams that support the magic they’ve created. They’re obviously high performers. High performers are your greatest assets and far too frequently their needs are ignored because they are always delivering magic. I’ve seen this time and again at countless companies. The best of the best deliver magical results. And way too often, the best of the best are then asked to replicate the magic in bigger ways with fewer resources. And this has to stop. We need to be sure that when we find the magic, we are not only replicating it, we are growing and rewarding the magicians who made the magic.

If you know the results you’re generating as a company, imagine what they could be if you were really measuring and optimizing your efforts. What if you were growing the stuff that’s working and eliminating the stuff that isn’t working? You might be getting even stronger results. It’s worth a shot. I know it doesn’t happen as often as I’d hope.

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About the Author

Tracey Parsons
Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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