At some point in your career, it's likely that you've been involved in a project that seemed to meander endlessly without any real direction. It could be a marketing project or just about anything else. It's not that the team isn't pulling its weight. It's not that feedback is lacking. It's just that things never really seem to take shape in any cohesive way. You get a final product that has lots of interesting parts, but doesn't seem to do much of anything. In marketing, there's a name for a project like this: the platypus.
I'll admit that I've worked on my share of platypuses over the years. I've found that they all tend to share one characteristic: There was no vision at the outset of what the final solution should be. That's not to say that there was any disagreement on the need for the tool or project – just the opposite. There was universal agreement for the need, but nobody had a clear vision of how to fill that need.
Whether that vision comes from a single person or a group, it's an important framework that should be strong enough to pull you back on track when the platypus begins to rear its head. I've found that a good way to create a clear vision for marketing projects is to ask these key questions:
Who is our audience?
What do we want them to do? (Call to action)
What is the benefit to the audience for taking our call to action? (Offer)
How is the communication going to be delivered?
If you're specific, straightforward, and honest about the answers, they should result in a clear vision of what success looks like. Otherwise, it's all too easy to end up with a platypus.