Don’t stop

Don’t stop testing.

There’s no such thing as finished anymore. In business, your competitors will fly past you the moment you stop.

Anyone can launch a startup in your industry, this afternoon.

So if you stop moving, you’re going backwards.

The beauty of testing is that you can learn something new each day. It could be as simple as ‘that didn’t work’.

The trick is movement. Momentum.

That’s what keeps you in the game. Not every swing will be a home run. And that’s perfectly acceptable. What’s not acceptable is paralysis.

Experimentation

It’s more than running A/B tests.

It’s more than white lab coats.

More than reaching statistical significance.

It’s a state of mind. A worldview where you’re willing to fail.

A way of thinking that challenges the way you run your business. Experimentation means you’re willing to start from scratch and learn exactly what your customers want.

It trades everything you thought to be true for things you know to be true.

It never stops.

And it’s the only sustainable way to grow.

Process over tools

It’s easy to get sucked in by the latest tool, thinking it will solve a broken process.

In the 60’s, few would’ve imagined another way to advertise than through newspapers. It was the holy grail. If you weren’t there, you were nowhere.

Marketers and leaders still fall for it today. We make declarations like ‘everyone must advertise on Facebook, it’s the only way to reach your audience.’

The shiny new tool attempts to replace something more flawed in our business.

The reality is that if your team is comprised of good people, a solid process, and a remarkable product, your customers will do your advertising for you.

Smart people look beyond the latest tool and quickly see if can improve their process. Because that’s what technology is really for.

Try something

try something

The worst place to be is stagnant, afraid to make the next move. After failure, the next best thing to do is try again.

If we find ourselves second-guessing or holding back, we’ve already lost.

Success only comes to people when they try something over and over again, a slightly different attempt each time.

We learn. We build muscle memory. Change velocity. Wins are subconsciously enforced as good behaviour. Over time, we discover the right method or approach.

There’s no such thing as an overnight success, simply someone who has tried a thousand times.

Foot traffic

When a fruit shop owner is looking for somewhere to lease, they consider the positioning of the shop and how many people walk past each day.

The theory is that the more people walk past, the more exposure the shop receives and thereby the probability that someone will walk inside and purchase something.

Notice how many steps there are in that process?

Awareness
Consideration
Evaluation
Selection
Commitment

At least five opportunities for a lead to disappear.

It’s the same for a website, app, service, experience or relationship.

Making people aware you exist is only the first challenge. The rest of the purchase journey, or funnel in e-commerce terms, is just as at risk of leakage.

On the flip side, understanding where things go wrong at each of these steps presents a significant opportunity to improve your business.

Foot traffic, visitors, website visits and app downloads are only the beginning of the interaction. The rest is equally, if not more important.

The big picture

The small issues can cause the most headaches, but have the least impact on results. Tensions escalate over a change of logo, where people sit and the dress code more often than they should.

It goes both ways, though, for those of us who want to make a big impact. Yes, we need to remember to focus on what really drives revenue. On what are the big hurdles stopping us from doubling our growth.

Equally, we need to acknowledge how important the ‘small’ things can be for others – and deal with them quickly.

Not to shoot the small stuff down, but to listen, act and encourage focus on the big picture.

5 minutes spent now explaining why that font was chosen, or offering to change it, could be an hour (or a week) saved of future productive time spent on things that matter.

I tried and failed

Life would be incredible boring if we knew what was going to happen next.

Failure is totally acceptable if you know why and how to avoid it next time. Actually, most of the things we try in business or life are not guaranteed.

Anxiety over the end result is worthless if you have answers for:

  1. How you approached the problem
  2. How you impacted the result
  3. Why you think you failed
  4. What you are going to do differently next time

Failure only happens when we can’t answer these questions, because then we haven’t tried to learn or care.

Understand the how before worrying about the what.

Controllable

In any business, it’s easy to stress about the external factors that can bring us down.

It could be the economy, your customers, the industry or government. Things can go bad quickly.

However, many times we use these factors as excuses or as reasons to not invest as much time and effort into what we can control.

Sure, traffic to your site will fluctuate. Customers might out away their credit card in January.

But when the opposite happens, and it will, there will be no excuses as to why you didn’t take full advantage of it.

If the customer journey is broken, or illogical, sales will pass you by.

If we make the most of the uptrends, the down trends won’t hurt so much.

Who are you?

Guess Who

Most marketers obsess with who they’re targeting. What demographic? Location? Income?

All good questions. However, we can’t afford to ignore our current customers.

In fact, a qualifier for looking for more sales should be an intimate understanding about who our existing customers are.

How do they think? Why did they stick around? How do they feel about us?

This helps us reach similar people and help spread the word in already existing communities.

There’s no point reaching a new segment if one exists, untapped, right before your eyes.

How Apple stole Christmas

What makes a great ad?

No mention of a product
Apple didn’t directly try to sell us anything. No prices, sales or loud people screaming at us to rush into store.

A story that connects
It’s about emotion, a simple story of family, creativity, love and a unique shared experience. It captures something we all hope for each Christmas. No complications, villians or heros – just a kid who uses his phone to make something special.

This ad is great because it makes us feel something without being sold something, but we still remember it’s from Apple.

People say the best authors write in a way that makes us think we could’ve written it. For marketers, this ad gives us similar hope. Anyone could’ve made this ad.

What story are you going to tell next year?