Use It or Lose It: 5 Ways to Maximize What’s Left of Your Budget Cycle
By Mikaela Berman, Director of Demand Generation
December 2020

It’s time to cash in the chips. 

As 2020 quickly draws to a close, it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to closing the book on this dumpster fire of a year as soon as possible. But wait! There’s one thing you can’t forget about this time of year — your budget! There’s still time to balance those books before the year comes to an end. In reviewing your company or department’s finances, you may find that you have money left to spend. Cha-ching! Now, the question is, where to invest it? With only limited time left to plan for the new year, you’ll want to ensure you are investing strategically now to maximize your budget and best position your company for success in 2021.

Here are five strategies we recommend for investing the last of your 2020 dollars:

1. User experience (UX) research.

It can be tempting to throw your remaining money at your latest “big idea.” But you wouldn’t buy a new car today without first reading a million reviews about the best make and model, right? Before you invest in that super cool new product you’ve been dreaming about during quarantine, get the facts.  User experience research can validate even the craziest of business ideas to ensure that your time and money are being spent well. Getting users involved in the process is key to uncovering data that will drive your decision-making. Our UX experience research strategy works like this: We facilitate stakeholder workshops and interviews to learn about your goals, challenges, and expected outcomes. Then we engage your target audience to get their perspective and what is required to satisfy their needs. The outcome: an actionable vision and plan that enables your team (and ours) to make good on your goals.

2. User testing.

You’ve done your homework. Now it’s time to take that car for a test drive. User testing is a critical component of any launch. Essentially, it’s the “try before you buy” stage of product development. Will the market embrace your new product? All the data in the world won’t be able to give you a definitive answer — but your users can.  No one likes surprises when money is on the line. User testing can ensure a solid return on investment. It helps you test all your assumptions, from initial concept to interactive prototypes. Then, you want to collect feedback using real-life scenario modeling to uncover key insights in developing and refining your product designs. The result: high-performance software that gets the job done.

3. Product management training.

Investing in strategies that support growth is always a good idea. How about investing your leftover budget on an area that is often overlooked — the practice of Product Management? Product Management is the shared language between what your customers need, your business goals, technological feasibility, design, and end-user experience.  Theorem’s PRIME training program guides you through the evolution of your product focus. Through PRIME, your team learns how to develop new habits and measure your products’ improvements based on our proven product management capabilities. The training program is custom to your business, created to empower your team to deliver better products, grow your company’s reputation as a technology innovator, and improve customer experience.

4. Design thinking workshop.

Right now, most of the world is still panicking over the pandemic. Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to invest in something that would give your company an edge over the competition? Design thinking can help you keep your cool when others are freaking out.  Theorem offers design thinking workshops to help our clients solve even the most complex challenges. These workshops involve a cross-disciplinary group of practitioners gathered for a fixed period of time — often a week or two with no distractions — to discover the core of user problems through extreme empathy and first principles reasoning. This exercise often leads to novel solutions that directly address customer needs, which translates to new opportunities for business growth. With a custom, goal-oriented approach, you gain practical methods that drive cultural change in as little as one week.

5. Prototyping a new user interface.

The great thing about design thinking is that it’s deceptively simple but has the power to change the way your company operates. It provides a clear process for vetting, validating, and prototyping.   Whether with functional prototypes or production software, the best way to determine where to optimize is to test with the user’s real data. Theorem experts often bust out an analytical toolkit to put the data and ideas we’ve collected from workshops to the test. In launching the acceleration phase, we cut ideas down to just a handful of Most Valuable Ideas (MVIs) and then validate and prototype selected MVIs. This type of performance analysis ultimately helps businesses invest in the best tactical implementation. Don’t let your remaining budget burn a hole in your company’s pocket. Let’s create a plan together that uses research, design, and strategy to maximize your investment. 
By Mikaela Berman, Director of Demand Generation
December 2020

Mikaela is a marketing executive with over 10 years of experience and a demonstrated history of working in technology, consumer products, healthcare, and professional services. She is currently in charge of all things marketing and demand generation at Theorem.

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