This is only a test…

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Happy Mother’s Day in those places that celebrate it today.

I’m flipping the script on you by sending this at the PM and not the AM. Consider it a test.

That’s what I want to take a few moments to talk with you about today, testing.

Why?

Because we need to spend more time testing out new ideas and retesting old ideas.

On marketing Twitter, there is a lot of conversation about how bad marketing and advertising has become with the reason for this being laid at the feet of clients that are risk adverse, agencies that have no diversity of thought or background, and a culture that rewards “if everyone else is doing it, I can’t get in trouble if I do the same thing” behavior.

When you think about those three things, is it any wonder that marketing is struggling and along with marketing struggling, the things that good marketing supports falls through the cracks as well:

* New ideas don’t gain traction.
* Products aren’t sold.
* Bad ideas take hold because the good idea doesn’t fight back.

Ahhh…

But what’s the remedy to something like this?

Courage.

About a year ago, I gave a keynote at a non-profit conference and I was hissed and booed because I talked about the need for non-profits to be more “courageous.”

Why did I hit such a nerve?

I’m sure because there was a lot of truth in the idea.

It is easy to do what you have always done and get similar results to those you’ve always achieved.

Why?

Funders reward you for doing things a certain way in a lot of cases.

Maybe the government will give you a grant if you do things the way that they think they should be done instead of the way that you think might have the most impact.

The point being, pretty quickly, you lose the ability to take courageous action and create change.

And, this eats away at your ability to test for impact.

See, you knew I would be able to tie that back together, right?

Back to testing.

No matter what area you work in, you have to always keep an eye on the future. You have to continually focus on how you can test what you have found to be successful against what you have always done.

This isn’t always easy.

Because change isn’t easy.

But you can make testing safer, or, control for certain issues.

Like me testing an email by sending it at 3 PM as opposed to 3 AM.

You can test and figure out how to change by taking small actions, seeing what happens, and extrapolating them out into bigger actions.

I heard Seth Godin talk about how if you can figure out why one person did something, you can apply that reasoning to a larger audience, but you can’t do it the opposite way.

So to test more effectively, you should think about starting small.

What’s one logical step you can take to make a difference?

As an example, let’s say you want to help your team start communicating better, you don’t start with this huge communications plan…you start by making sure you are being a better communicator.

If you want to make sure your prospecting is goosed up, start by making a plan for prospecting that will help you win today.

You want to improve your marketing, figure out why one person did something and ask yourself why that happened and figure out how that applies to your larger audience.

Then test your hypothesis.

Which is the same for every example.

You take one small action towards the new goal, test the outcome, and figure out if you should do more or less of that.

That’s change and testing all wrapped up into one.

Is that helpful?

Does it make sense?

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