Habit #6 is the third and final interpersonal habit needed to achieve true interdependence. It builds upon PPC Habit #4 – Think Win/Win, and Habit #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood.
For starters, don’t be turned off by the word synergize and its more common variant, synergy. Over the last couple decades no word in the business lexicon has been more over-used as a buzz word. Synergy was used in corporate mergers & acquisitions, in CEO-speak to pump up employees, and even as justification for layoffs. To truly grasp the power of our 6th Habit, you’ve got to leave the baggage behind.
Unlocking Untapped Potential
The traditional understanding of synergy is that 1 + 1 = 3 (or more). While oversimplified, that is effective because it defies our knowledge of mathematics and makes us think of something previously thought to be impossible. However, this is indeed very possible if you think about potential. One person may be very effective at managing their PPC account(s). Another person may be equally effective, but together there is the possibility of synergy. Not only do you have the previous abilities of the parties involved, you unlock abilities that previously weren’t there.
For example, imagine two account managers at a PPC agency. One is very good at remarketing and has been using that skill to absolutely kill it for a client. The other account manager is exceptionally good at search campaigns. Both are doing great work and the agency adds a new, large client that does lead generation. If they both work independently, the account will have very well run remarketing campaigns and very well run search campaigns. But what if the two strategize together and realize that for this client, a lead is only good once, yet the lead continues to come back to the site due to the excellent email nurturing program of the company. Since it’s a long sales cycle, leads continue researching other options. Do you see the potential there?
What if our two managers saw these realities and made a few tweaks, like excluding the remarketing list of converted leads from their campaigns? New efficiencies are then unlocked and the campaign can perform even better with the two working together than if they did they parts independently. This is the power of synergy.
Creating Third Alternatives
In any situation involving two parties, it’s easy to construct a Win-Lose or Lose-Win scenario. However, synergy is about Win-Win, which is a third alternative, and the third alternative is rarely as obvious. To synergize requires both parties to have a high level of trust and a high level of cooperation. Without both, each party is trying to get the win at the expense of the other party’s loss.
For example, consider the in-house PPC manager of a travel company. She is responsible for improving the performance of the PPC accounts and producing ROI-positive campaigns, but she is also part of the larger company. One micro-conversion on the website is to sign up for the newsletter. In this way her efforts are feeding the results of the email marketing team. As a travel company, many bookings are also done over the phone. This means that part of her results are dependent on the customer service team. Then their is the SEO team that complains about PPC cannibalizing their traffic. If all the parties involved have a Win-Lose mentality, budget meetings turn into battles where each department desperately clings to “their” results and tries to claim as much as they can from other areas in order to get more budget or keep their existing budget. It’s easy to see how this could become a mess.
Now consider how things might go if our PPC manager goes for Win-Win. She could approach the email marketing manager with results of ad tests to show which messaging is performing best and offer that as potential subject lines or email copy. The email marketing manager then reciprocates with the subject lines and copy that has been working best for them. New ideas are created to further enrich the testing of both channels.
The PPC manager then goes to the customer service team and spends some time talking with the phone reps to learn what are the most common objections voiced on calls. This helps create better ads that preemptively address concerns and better landing pages as well. Some of the concerns might be the result of ads & landing pages setting improper expectations as well. This leads the PPC manager to correcting the misleading ads so that customers are less confused/misguided when they call in, making the phone reps’ jobs easier.
Lastly, the PPC manager goes to the SEO manager with her keyword and search term reports. This data shows which keywords are the highest value so that the SEO team spends their efforts on keywords with known revenue-generating potential. New, long-tail keywords emerge that weren’t showing up in keyword research tools. Current SEO keywords may have less traffic than realized.
How do you think a budget meeting would go now? The PPC manager has developed a high trust, high cooperation atmosphere that leads the whole company to better results.
Value The Differences
Lastly, I want to make the essence of synergy is valuing the differences. PPC practitioners often view problems, data, etc. differently than the SEO team, differently than the Online Marketing Manager, or differently than the CEO. But it’s the differences that unlocks potential. You have multiple viewpoints and more experience, which uncovers third alternatives that neither party would have discovered on their own. Achieving true interdependence requires the motive of Habit 4, the Skill of Habit 5, and the Interaction of Habit 6.