I hate failure. Don’t you? But it doesn’t scare me anymore. However, there is one special brand of failure that I do fear. That’s the failure to correctly gauge and manage the risk of failure.
Sounds like double talk? It’s far from it.
I’m trying to help my clients come to embrace the possibility of failure as enthusiastically as we do the likelihood of success.
My old pappy used to say, “Son, you only need to be right 51% of the time to be successful.” Obviously, he worked in a marketing firm. Our clients expect better odds than that. But his point is well taken. You do NOT have to be right every time to be successful. In fact, I’ve discovered the opposite to be true. The more I fail the more I learn. And if I’m right all the time, I’m probably not testing enough new marketing strategies.In marketing, especially direct marketing, if we do not “test” we do not learn what works best. We only experience what “kind of works.” That’s mediocrity.
For IDC clients, testing typically includes the testing of various prospect lists, testing offers and testing various ways of presenting the offer/message.
We test marketing strategy. We test sales and marketing tactics. We test sales channels/ methods of distribution. And we test price, products and services . . . and much more.
And we evaluate the data—the % response, the close rate, the ROI short term and the ROI over the lifetime of the new customer relationship. Pretty basic stuff. The key is the installation of systems for data collection, analysis and reporting, and then the recommendation of appropriate rollout strategies. And the Internet is providing new analytics and bringing new dimensions of testing and controlling failure as an ever present and inevitable aspect of what we all do.
Fact is, stop testing and someday you will wear out the marketing strategy you are using today. Just keep it up and you’ll get to experience failure eventually. In fact the only way not to experience major failure is to make the controlled mini-failure a part of your plan through market testing. Big companies do it all the time. You can too.
Want to learn more about failing toward success? Send me a note or give me a call at 765.423.5469 x111.