The top 5 things you should do when your marketing campaign site goes down

September 11th, 2009

Topics: Measurement, Optimization

britney At Voce Communications a centralized theme we preach to clients is: become an integral part of the creation and distribution of online content within your market. One significant reason behind that nugget of wisdom is that this model breeds transparency, a key in growing customer loyalty and sales. One of the great things about working with Webtrends as a whole, is their agreement in this philosophy. Hence, The Open Campaign. But one question we don’t get to tackle very often is, “what do we do when these publishing and distribution models fail?” Fortunately an opportunity has arisen.

Interactive and iterative. Marketing and measurement. Analyze and advertise. Search and scalability. All of these things help comprise the Webtrends Open Campaign and all are jeopardized with the dreaded 404 site failure. As Justin Kistner talked about earlier this week, these types of things happen to the biggest and baddest producers and distributors in the world. And, it happened to us. And, it could happen to you. So, we’d like to share what interactive marketers can do should they experience a similar problem.

I asked Benjamin Diggles, who is in charge of Webtrends’ web presence, for his list of the top 5 things you should do when your marketing campaign site goes down. Here’s his list:

  1. Take a deep breath. In moments like these, people often overreact. Picking up your own arm on the battle field is something worth freaking out over – not a down server.
  2. Call the technical lead of the hosting environment. They should answer the phone with “yes, I already know” – if not, fire them. Make sure they understand it is a priority and get a solid estimate of when things are going to be back to normal. Request a quick explanation of exactly what happened.
  3. Locate a backup and evaluate data loss. This can be much like watching a horror film through your fingers. You don’t want to see the truth but you have to. You’ve paid for the movie and spent the time getting there so see it through. Sometimes it is like “oh that’s not too bad” other times you may simply whimper “oh God”.
  4. Call your VP of marketing. Then put on your public relations hat and inform those affected with a list of what happened, what is being done about it and how we will avoid it in the future. Request that everyone involved makes a list of what has taken place since the last backup.
  5. Restore the data as efficiently as possible. Then write a list of 5 things you would do next time your server goes down.

Also and maybe more subliminal, is the crisis communications aspect of this exercise. There’s that whole transparency thing again. There were some folks involved with this campaign who thought about all of the ways the outage could hurt our brand and the work we’ve done to date. And how we would publicly “explain” it all. Not so I say. This stumble allows us to transparently show others how to handle such a situation, and also helps push us to the front of the line as interactive marketing experts. Of course I think we all know who the real fail whale experts are. :)

The Open Campaign

3 Responses to “The top 5 things you should do when your marketing campaign site goes down”

  1. Sarah

    Love the Britney picture! I’m getting a kick out of imagining the Webtrends and Voce teams throwing a Britney-like tantrum when they found out the site was down. ;)

  2. Chris

    If there’s anything that disconnects me from a speaker it’s evasiveness so this whole thread is really nice. Stuff happens. Hearing others’ intelligent thinking in those situations is a great way to learn (and increase respect). “Watching a horror film through your fingers” is a metaphor that I plan to use. And “yes, I already know” is the epitome of a job goal. It’s a metric, actually!


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