Is Your Company Using The OODA Loop?
by Jimi Smoot, Feb 5, 2014, 1:02 PM
As marketers, our battlefield is the marketplace. We do everything we can to lower our acquisition costs, generate awareness and convert more of an audience, all while striving to be faster and cheaper than our competitors. Taking this idea to heart, lately I have been studying military philosophy and strategy to find ideas not offered in the latest Godin or Gladwell variant.
Recently I came across an extremely interesting idea that could help marketers looking to take full advantage of the real-time edge technology gives to us to reach audiences: the OODA loop, which comes from the late Colonel John Boyd of the U.S. Air Force.
OODA stands for observe, orient, decide and act -- what Boyd believed to be the cycle that any person or organization goes through when responding to outside stimuli. Groups or individuals who are able to cycle through the loop faster than their competitors will be able to create more favorable outcomes.
On the marketing battlefield, the OODA concept can be applied easily, since we have near-real-time insights into audiences responses to offerings. But to take advantage of OODA, a company needs to be tooled differently. Take a look to see how your organization stacks up:
Observe: It's remarkable how many teams lack the ability to observe real-time data. On the demand side, many organizations are still working from reporting that is 24-hours-old. Key stakeholders at the brands are updated by their agency partners even less frequently, giving them little to no time to respond to constantly changing audiences.
OODA organizations make it a top priority to understand, adopt, and develop real time data collection and observation tools.
Orient: Many of the dashboarding tools on the market help with orienting teams, but let's not forget the most critical component behind any piece of technology: the people using it.
OODA teams meet in small tactical groups to review data regularly, and come up with a way of communicating actionable options to all stakeholders.
Decide: Once information has been digested and organized, a team leader must make a decision on which of the options to pursue, and communicate that decision effectively throughout the organization.
OODA organizations have the technology and communication procedures in place to make decisions quickly and organization-wide.
Act: Technology is making it easy to transition a decision into action -- but OODA-driven companies would be obsessed with allowing observations and actions to happen almost simultaneously.
If you believe in Boyd's OODA loop, one thing is for certain: We will be collecting more data on audiences from multiple sources over the next few years. The companies that are going to be successful, are the ones that can quickly process that data into something meaningful. What type of company will you be?