People are forgetful.
I was a Communication major in college, so you’d think I would remember this simple truth. And the thing is, time makes people more forgetful.
Thinking back on past work projects that have gone over schedule, there has inevitably been a challenging conversation that has to happen to get things back on track. Every time I’ve had one of those conversations, there’s inevitably a question that was answered months ago. They’ve just forgotten the answer.
And it’s my fault. We’re not doing a good enough job of reiterating the why of the project. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day strategy and execution, but it’s clearly important that we center our meetings and conversations around common goals.
During a website redesign project, clients tend to think about the deliverable as the goal when that launched site is really just a tool—redesigning a university website “just because” isn’t a good reason to spend that money. You need that site to affect your outcomes.
You need new inquiries and applicants. You need better SEO placement. You need increased engagement. You need emotional responses. A new website is a thing—it’s not the outcome.
Think of it this way. When someone buys a vineyard, the goal isn’t to plant the vines so they can look at them. A lot of work goes into clearing the land, tilling the soil, analyzing the minerality and composition of the dirt, and choosing the right grape varietals.
When those vines are planted, the vintner doesn’t stop and relax. They know the job isn’t done. The vines, the fruit, and the land are a constant reminder of their goal — to harvest, press, ferment, age, and enjoy the (literal) fruits of their labor.
It’s the same with a new website or marketing campaign. (Ugh, can we go back to the vineyard?)
And I have to be more diligent, personally, in framing it that way. Non-strategists tend to see the object as the result and forget about why the object is there in the first place.
On the flip side, the faster we get that object live and working, the less re-explaining needs to be done.
Because people are forgetful.