I was recently watching the original Star Wars movies with my kids. An absolute timeless series, but it’s amazing how much more suspenseful that was when I was much younger. Graphics and special affects have come a long way.
But, one persona in the movie that portrays wisdom relevant in any galaxy is Yoda. Remember him? The little green guy in the swamp that guides Luke on his journey to understanding, “The Force”. One of Yoda’s lines in the movie struck me as extremely relevant in my profession – or any profession for that matter. Luke was having a hard time with something related to The Force and he told Yoda he’d try again. Yoda snapped back and said, “Do or do not. There is no try”
Brilliant! How many times have we heard, “we should give that a try” on our Marketing teams? I’m starting to see the word “try” as an out. When you’re “trying” something, failure to execute is understandable. After all, it was only trying. But, what about all the cost, resource, and time that went into that “try”.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for trying something new. In fact, I encourage innovation and “out-of-the-box” thinking in regards to how my teams market their companies. But, as Marketers we have 100 times the options available to us to connect with our customers than we did 10 or 15 years ago. The Internet, social media, podcasts, webinars, blogging, etc. are offering us bountiful options in which to proliferate and distribute our positioning and messaging. The myriad of choices is daunting for small business marketers and the temptation to dabble in a new medium or technology is great.
But, there is the problem – the dabbling. If you don’t draw up a plan, dedicate resources, and design intended outcomes you risk missing the boat on the new direction’s potential. Instead, follow these steps and put the new effort on the right path:
Article in instapaper that might be good reference
- Alignment with Goals: Alignment with goals is always one of my first thoughts when considering giving my approval for anything in Marketing. Is this new effort going to support a direction the Marketing team or the overall company is going?
- What’s the Plan: Simply trying can waste time. What is the measurable result you hope to attain? An “A to Z” plan should be clear so you can get to a certain point in time and analyze whether the intended result was achieved. Too often we get in the habit of giving something a try and seeing what happens rather than knowing what you want to happen first and implementing a plan to get there.
- Look for Other People’s Experience: A simple search can yield a plethora of perspectives. Perhaps someone else has some experience you can tap. Maybe there are pitfalls or better ways of implementation that you haven’t considered.
- Consider Resources: You’ve gotten your plan and feel confident that there is a measurable outcome. But, what are the opportunity costs of implementing? If you’re a small business you’re most likely looking at not applying your time to something else in order to implement this new idea. Make sure you have a full scope of what resources are needed and what may get dropped.
- How Much Will This Cost: This should be a no brainer, right? If your budget is tight – it better be. But, often we don’t consider “project creep”. What hidden expenses are out there that you haven’t considered yet?
As a reference point for some more information on a related topic, I came across this article which I think gives a good perspective on taking calculated risks:
I know there are a variety of perspectives and opinions on this topic so please chime in if you think there are other angles to this discussion!