Do you remem­ber the movie Willie Wonka and the Choco­late Fac­tory? The char­ac­ter Vio­let Beau­re­garde inflates after chomp­ing on the full-meal gum she snatches from Willie’s hand. That scene reminds me of launch­ing a global search mar­ket­ing cam­paign. Whether it’s English-only or mul­ti­lan­guage, when you’re plan­ning the roll­out, make sure the plan is effec­tively scalable—and won’t blow up too quickly.

In my pre­vi­ous post, I talked about the data analy­sis and report­ing prac­tices that are essen­tial to SEO and search mar­ket­ing man­age­ment. The thing is, there is more data than ever to sift through and sort. Part of effec­tively plan­ning a global search cam­paign is rec­og­niz­ing the need to plan for scalability.

The dis­tance between com­pa­nies and their cus­tomers has been reduced to zero. Google calls it the “Zero Moment of Truth,” and Adobe has referred to it as “the last mil­lisec­ond.” Cou­ple that with the growth of Big Data, and you’ve got a need to ensure that your search mar­ket­ing plans are scalable.

What Is Scal­able Planning

The term “scal­able” no longer refers to sim­ply han­dling an increas­ing amount of data. SEO and search mar­ket­ing prac­tices must now account for algo­rithm changes and cloud pro­to­cols that affect ever-increasing search activity.

When I talk about scal­able plan­ning, I’m not sim­ply refer­ring to ver­ti­cal data com­pu­ta­tions but devel­op­ing capa­bil­i­ties across the spec­trum of global growth enablement.

  • Geo­graphic – mod­el­ing search behav­iors within local­ized regions
  • Func­tional – man­ag­ing increased data flows result­ing from search behaviors
  • Admin­is­tra­tive – allow­ing larger inter­nal and exter­nal enter­prise stake­hold­ers groups to share dis­trib­uted data
  • Load – enabling dis­tri­b­u­tion to expand or con­tract resource pools accord­ing work­flows or num­ber of inputs.

I remem­ber my ninth grade sci­ence teacher telling us about the laws of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics. The sec­ond law shows us that all sys­tems are in a per­pet­ual state of entropy where order and struc­ture break down over time. Scal­able plan­ning lim­its the impact of entropy as your sys­tems are scaled up.

For exam­ple, mar­ket­ing automa­tion and CRM should be ready to accom­mo­date larger data sets. As your global out­reach extends, the CMS you use must expand both hor­i­zon­tally and ver­ti­cally. Thank­fully, the cloud envi­ron­ment is built to expand. The need for scal­a­bil­ity was one of the rea­sons Adobe has aggres­sively rebranded as a cloud man­age­ment provider.

How Is Scal­able Plan­ning Practiced

Scal­able plan­ning is not a new con­cept. The key is to estab­lish the archi­tec­ture first. Start with the vision for the cam­paign and develop a roadmap with inter­vals where change can hap­pen. Using the Agile Scrum process for IT devel­op­ment is just as effec­tive for SEO and search mar­ket­ing prac­tices. Being agile requires the same orga­ni­za­tional and process requirements—consistent sprints, daily stand-ups, and a tight cus­tomer feed­back loop, for example.

At Adobe, we oper­ate using a matu­rity model that envelopes a mod­i­fied Agile method­ol­ogy with Scrum prin­ci­ples. We believe this approach leads to a more respon­sive scale-up. Being agile is impor­tant to scal­able plan­ning because of the chang­ing nature of search tools that lean toward sharp­en­ing SERPs to match a searcher’s unique profile.


How to Man­age with Agility

The chal­lenge today is that when search mar­keters con­nect with global mar­kets, imme­di­ate feed­back impacts the suc­cess of the cam­paign. Agility is para­mount when we plan for scal­a­bil­ity. Shorter feed­back loops and faster devel­op­ment cycles now require man­agers to move swiftly between cus­tomers and devel­op­ment teams, and SEO and search mar­ket­ing are not excluded from those man­dates. When con­sumer sen­ti­ment changes with a sting­ing review or your cam­paign suf­fers an unex­pected drop-off in search traf­fic for a spe­cific search term, your enter­prise must adjust prac­tices swiftly and smoothly.

Look at an Agile mar­ket­ing matu­rity model, for exam­ple. When stake­holder com­mit­ment is loose and agile adher­ence is low, a basic project man­age­ment struc­ture is typ­i­cally in place. The team may set goals, assign own­er­ship, and define deliv­er­able dates. Devel­op­ment is lin­ear, not iter­a­tive in this case. How­ever, the fully agile enter­prise has firm stake­holder com­mit­ment even when the adher­ence to more com­plex agile prac­tices is necessary.

Stakeholder Commitment

Algo­rithms con­stantly change, with over 400 through­out 2012 from Google, so our teams are con­stantly respond­ing to meet changes that can impact search mar­ket­ing KPIs instantly. From launch to scale-up, each team is adjust­ing vari­ables as data-driven input is con­tin­u­ously received. These changes are made seam­lessly across dif­fer­ent plat­forms because of our atten­tion to scal­a­bil­ity planning.

Our Adobe Expe­ri­ence Man­ager is one exam­ple of the tools we develop to sup­port agile man­age­ment within a scal­able envi­ron­ment like global search mar­ket­ing. We do this by build­ing SEO best prac­tices into our most com­mon CMS templates—whether desk­top, tablet, or mobile. With mobile becom­ing a sig­nif­i­cant chan­nel, for exam­ple, man­agers are able to deliver con­tent and dig­i­tal assets through an increas­ing num­ber of mobile devices.

I would encour­age you to empha­size scal­a­bil­ity when you’re plan­ning your next global roll­out. Although the impact may be over­looked at times, the risk of inflat­ing into a giant blue­berry with­out an ade­quate response to expand­ing needs could leave your cam­paign in a chaotic mess.