You’ve heard the axioms:
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
How would you know if you haven’t tried it.
How do you expect to get results if you’re only going to limit yourself to the tiny little circle of expectations you’ve started out with? In other words: How can you be certain what works until you’ve given it a shot? All too often our intuition and initial expectations limit what we’re willing to do.That spells bad news when it comes to marketing to any audience, despite how well you believe you understand them.
Let me give you an example:
Have you tried those “Via” instant coffee packages Starbucks has been selling for the past year or so? At first I poo-pooed them thinking:
How could instant coffee come close to a cup of real Starbucks?
I was given a package that I kept it in a desk drawer for months until one day when I was out of coffee and didn’t have time to go to the store for more. The physical need for caffeine was overwhelming and I ended up nuking a cup of water and dumping a pack in.
Wow! I was hooked. Now I can’t go into a Starbucks without metering whether I’ve got enough packs back at home to make it through the first couple days of Armageddon.
The point is that it sometimes is not only pleasant to be surprised, but that being limited by initial expectations can cause missing out on the best of new opportunities. In fact, follow me around – let the targets of my criticism today be something you can mock me for tomorrow as I shamelessly advocate for them then.
Go to an art gallery and sit by a single piece for a while. The range of responses to a single piece can vary widely. Some people can like it; some can hate it. Certain people will see things that others cannot. It’s surprising how diverse subjectivity is.
I bring this up in the context of marketing because the best results can often come from angles that were unexpected. This is why testing, and the ability to accurately gauge small scale test results, is so critical. Too many good marketers are afraid of trying new things because it means blowing too much of the budget. I urge all creative marketers to find less creative, bean-counter types to collaborate with and devise meaningful tests that won’t blow the bank but can still provide workable conclusions. Think big and test small!