Notes on Systems – Sequencing

This is a brief note on Systems Thinking. Once a totality of functional interaction is understood, that is the key moving parts to a system and how they may interact, then it is important to device the most effective sequence of events to bring that system to fruition.

Red's Away

Totality of Functional Interaction

By totality, we don't mean every little part, but only the essential parts that impact the system as a whole. For example, in a political system, it is all political actors of consequence, at the level of individuals and organizations (subsystems).

Open, Adaptive Systems

Now totality can be static or dynamic, such that there are changes to what is important (influential, consequential) in a system. And open systems are those which are affected from outside, therefore a source of change (adaptation) comes from external influence.

Systems Approach to Internet Marketing

A concrete example will help with the next conceptual component: Sequencing. Internet marketing consists of an open, dynamic, complex system. This is a system which changes over time with not only the influence of competitors and markets, customer demand, etc., but also the changing dynamic of human behavior with information and communication technology.

Sequencing as Tactical Advantage

Market positioning (traditional marketing) is meant to provide a strategic advantage, as is a high level of effectiveness with Internet Marketing. However, one tactical advantage is the order in which Internet marketing is conducted. This applies as well to many other open, dynamic systems with human actors (politics, education, artistic production, etc.).

The Order of (Internet Marketing) Things

In a previous post we provided a descriptive model of Internet Marketing = BAWLS. That is: Brand, Advertising, Website, Links and Content, and Social Media. The use of BAWLS is meant as a playful mnemonic device. We can remember the acronym and back out the elements.

What, however, is the best sequencing in terms of tactics?

Reflecting on recent and previous experience, we find that Links and Content are the element that is the largest bottleneck, and can have the most positive effect. Another piece of reinforcement is how Advertising, especially on Social Media but also anything called viral advertising, relies on content as the content of the advertising message. Indeed, sponsored posts on Facebook and sponsored tweets on Twitter can be more effective, and more cost effective, than other approaches.

That said, the Brand needs to be thought out ahead of time so that once the Links and Content are generated, there is clarity of the message. And of course some kind of Website needs to be in place, fully configured and tuned, so that the visitor can more likely become a customer.

Brand First

Just as in our acronym, Brand must come first.

Website and Social Media Creation come Second

The bare website needs to be created, as well as the bare Social Media accounts (reserving the account usernames/page names). Implementing the Brand look and feel as images and typography is the second step. Think of this as the first pass at the Website and Social Media.

Links and Content come Third

This is content that is housed primarily on the website as well as social media sites.

Advertising comes Fourth

Advertising campaigns can then be developed, leveraging brand and content, as well as Social Media

Analysis and Repetition comes Fifth

Two additional acronyms needs to be introduced, for now we are dealing with a normative prescription for sequencing for tactical advantage, and so our acronym BAWLS becomes BAWLSAR, or in sequencing terms BWSLA-AR.

  • Build the brand strategy and meaning
  • Create the website and social media accounts
  • Generate links and content
  • Create advertising campaigns
  • Analyze results
  • Reinforce and repeat what works, experiment for greater market-product discovery

In sum, Internet Marketing is an open, adaptive, dynamical system. Tactical advantage can be had from effective sequencing. Stages should not be skipped or done out of order.

Sequencing at Project and Task Level

The next step is sequencing at the Project and Task level. Projects have Tasks to sequence, and Projects themselves need to be sequenced in the order suggested above. Then there is Organizational sequencing, which is something for another post.