Our world has changed a lot in the past 10 years. If you
dial back 20 or 30 years we’ve seen more change than most of us could describe
in one sitting. The rate and volume of change we deal with is sometimes
This affects our businesses, especially our marketing.
As the world around us changes we don’t always change with it.
Maybe we don’t see the changes. Maybe we don’t want to
acknowledge them. Maybe we’re just too busy to be bothered with it. Or maybe
we’re unsure of how we need to change our actions to keep getting the outcomes
we want in a world that has changed without our permission.
I believe this is the biggest reason we don’t change. We
know we should but we’re stuck because we’re not sure how we should do things
differently. And we don’t want to make things worse so it seems easier to stick
with “what we’ve always done”.
(People don’t get fired for not trying something new.
But maybe they should.)
One way this hurts organizations is they end up doing
more of what does not work well.
For example, instead of trying to promote our business
in new ways we run bigger ads, we make more phone calls or we send more mail.
Even as response rates drop we continue to spend more money on the same media
that worked in the past. It’s like the old saying: “we lose money on every sale
but we make up for it with big volume.”
And we do these things in the face of massive changes in
our world. We see these changes all around us (like the Internet). But, for some
reason, we often fail to acknowledge these changes in our businesses.
So we keep doing more of what doesn’t work as well.
But the real solution is to more of what DOES work. And
if we’re not sure what that is, we need to discover it. We do this by trying new
things. I know this sound simple. Then why do so many people and organizations
fail at this?
The organization that fails to try new ways to solve
ongoing challenges (or to create future opportunities) is doomed to extinction.
Try new things. Do them in small, measurable chunks.
Monitor and evaluate before committing big resources. Fail fast but fail small.
In many cases you can learn as much from a small failure as you can a big one.
And small failures cost less than big ones.
Learn cheap but learn fast.
The biggest cost most organizations face today is loss
of of opportunity. Time is only our friend if we use it. We need to put it to
work for us or it will work against us. Fail fast and you’ll succeed even
Make it a habit to constantly ask “what if?” Encourage
and reward your people to apply new solutions to your challenges. Hire people
who are willing to break the rules. They will naturally uncover new ways of
looking at things. They will provide your organization the seeds you need to
grow new successful solutions to your challenges.
When you develop a habit of trying new things, you give
yourself more options. You’re putting more tools in your toolbox. More options
means more opportunities to find what works. Then your success formula is
Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.