BlogWorld 2009 Insight – Engineering your Business

Yes - I'm sexy... please don't stare.

This is the first of a series of posts expressing insight into certain topics covered during my recent trip to the Blogworld Expo 2009, in Las Vegas.  You can view all my notes/thoughts and rambling by clicking here

So, maybe I’m a little bit biased (since it is was my educational focus), but this thought was rumbling around in my head during the entire expo event.

“Engineering is the heart of everything in your business”

Here’s what I mean:

One of the most talked about buzz-words/concepts at BlogWorld this weekend has been about “strategy”.  Your social media strategy, your marketing strategy (both “new” and “old”), your engagement strategy, etc…  It was a very refreshing take since many of the events and discussions I have been apart of in as of late have been a “just do it” mentality – especially with regards to social and online media.  Many speakers and panels alike discussed the necessity to not only embrace new concepts and technologies, but to take on these challenges with a well thought out strategy.

So how do you “build” a strategy?  To me it is actually multi-phased, and rather than being “built” it is actually Engineered.

Step 1. – Understand – The questioning/fact-finding phase

Step 2. – Assess – What do we know/have at our disposal?

Step 3. – Design/Visualize – Laying out an “if this then that” map/Start with End in mind

Step 3. – Analyzation – Learn/ Assessment of collected data/engagement/results

Step 4. – Adaption Process – Using Gained knowledge to learn and improve.

Step 5. – Repeat – Using gained knowledge, reassess from Step 1

Are you an engineer?

It’s easy (and yes some even consider it sexy) to call yourself a consultant, social media expert, or marketing person.  No one ever tends to consider themselves an engineer.  But in this time of “geek ascendancy” and shrinking/disappearing budgets, I personally think it’s necessary to approach EVERYTHING from a standpoint of engineering.

Too often I see “brain storm” marketing campaigns tossed together without thought of consequence leak from individuals or companies.  I might even suggest that engineering is the “new rule” of marketing or business in general.  Since “new” media especially has given everyone a soapbox to shout from, isn’t it even more important now to fine tune your role out before launch?

The end of “Test” Markets – an example

What do you mean you're not hungry?

What do you mean you're not hungry?

Back in the day, when McDonalds or any other company wanted to roll out a new product they would do geographical/regional testing.  For example – if they were looking at releasing, oh…, the McRibb Sandwich – they might do some research and find that barbecue is most popular in a particular region or market (i.e. the SouthEast).  They would then contact their franchises in that area, prep them on marketing and preparation of the item, roll it out to the public and see how it was received.

If it succeeded – great… our data shows it’s successful in BBQ market.  If not – no worries… we rolled out a crappy item to only one area and not to the whole country.

Today.  If McDonalds did that today, they are unable to confirm that poor (or good) response to the particular item would be confined to the target region (and a small trickle of Word of Mouth marketing to outside areas).  Due to the expansive reach of the social web the poor response would creep like wildfire across the country – reflecting poorly on the McDonalds brand.  The question I pose to you is – “How many leaks has your test-marketing already caused?”

I am not a marketing expert

I am sure that some will disagree with the things that I have written above, and many are more insightful/creative than me when it comes to marketing.  My strength isn’t in writing passionate copy or Adobe Illustrator.  I’m a process guy.  In my mind there is a Beginning – a Process – an Outcome – and Analysis.  And where I might have traded my pocket protector for a laptop, the core of an engineer will always revolve around problem solving.

This is the first of a series of post both on what I learned while at BlogWorld Expo 2009, but on a larger level to help those in my network to start approaching their business from an “engineer’s mindset”.  Who knows… maybe you’ll even start to feel that engineers are sexy.  Intel does!

Matt Dollinger
The You Factor


  1. Hi Matt,

    Loved reading your first chapter of insights from BW. Since I was not able to go this year, your reflections are bound to be the next best thing!

    Couldn’t agree more with the strategy/engineering approach. It’s not unlike building a house you expect to live in for some time. Dream. Plan. Design. Lay the foundation. Construct the framework. Decorate it. Live and enjoy. Care for it.

    Building a quality social community is much the same. Think first. Visualize what you want it to be. Design it. Adapt and learn. Take care of it. Repeat it.

    Those who take note of your wisdom, will be better off in the long run.

    Best, Peter

  2. Looking forward to diving into your notes… I am sure that there is much to be learned!

  3. Wish I could’ve been there, too.

    I think what you’re saying makes perfect sense. We’re all witnessing this transition of real estate, as an industry, into more “traditional” aspects of standard business. Engineering, as you’ve described it, is SOP in a lot of other places… and now Brokers are following suit.

    More and more, brokers want to see the data: ROI, ROE, CTR, etc. In this sense, I think they’re learning to do exactly what you’re talking about (however slowly that may be). It’s all about strategy, execution, and analysis.

    Question: There are a large number of Broker/Owners who don’t have “traditional” background experience (that’s not at all to downplay the experience they do have). With shrinking budgets, hiring an MBA, or even a Business Mgmt grad, might seem out of reach right now. For someone with a solid business background, all that you’re saying would make sense. How do Brokers get into the Business Strategy/Business Engineering Mindset, while feeling confident that this new approach will work for them?

  4. Lisa Peck says:

    I like it, I like it. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new way to think about “strategy” and of course showing me a way to put my degree to good use in this industry!
    I look forward to reviewing your notes as well as future posts.