Video Series: Managing a Remote Marketing Team

Day 4 - Innovation


It’s been said that the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting a different result.

That’s why innovation is an essential part of marketing, you need to be constantly testing and experimenting new things, including offers, targeting, ad creative, messaging, and much more to find out what really works.

And along the way you’ll find many ways that don’t work, but be careful and don’t view them as failures. Instead, view them as learnings and opportunities to rule those out and find new ways that might work.

In fact, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, had this same perspective, rather than viewing failures, he viewed them as results. And when he found thousands of ways it didn’t work, he called that progress because those are all results which led him to finding the one way that did work.

So this brings me to the rule of ABE, or A, B, E, which stands for always be experimenting. If you want to have success in marketing and if you want to have breakthrough innovations, you need to always be experimenting. So now let me share with you three ways that you can practice the rule of ABE and always be experimenting.

The first step is to set proper expectations. People are afraid to fail and if you’re running experiments, inevitably some of them will fail. In other words, they won’t all produce positive results and you need to prepare yourself and your team for that outcome.

Only about 20% of tests produce positive results and those are from teams that know what they’re doing and are consistently running experiments.

So be prepared that most of your experiments will not produce a positive result. Instead, they will produce learning opportunities to discover what doesn’t work and then to pivot towards experiments that will have a better chance of succeeding and delivering positive results. But it’s important that you and your team are both prepared for this and the proper expectation has been set.

The second step is to document your experiments and your learnings.

On a monthly, biweekly, or even weekly basis, depending on how often you’re running experiments, take time to review the experiments that are currently being run, the experiments that have been ended, and to review those results.

Discuss it with your team and analyze what’s going on with the experiment, why you think that is and what can be learned from it.

Not only is it enough to review these and discuss them, but you need to document it. You need to write this down and create a book of knowledge around the experiments that have been run historically and the learnings that have resulted from those experiments.

This is essential, especially as you launch new experiments so you can reference what’s happened in the past, learn from that and apply that knowledge to future experiments.

During this phase, you can also brainstorm new ideas for experiments to try in the future. As you’re discussing and reviewing the current experiments and documenting that, it’s a great time to decide what to do next and that’s where the brainstorming of new experiments can be really valuable.

Third and final step is to and encourage experimentation.

Again, people are afraid to try new things because of the fear of failure and if you have set the proper expectations, and you’re reviewing and documenting and learning from those experiments, then the third and critical step here is to reward and encourage the behavior of running experiments.

Now, I’ve heard of one company who has an internal award for the best idea that didn’t work. I have to think about that, it’s interesting, that they want to reward and encourage people to come up with ideas even if those ideas didn’t work. So you can do something similar in your organization.

In addition, of course, you should, again, review your experiments and discover what did work and see what you can learn from that. And when an experiment is successful, you need to celebrate that.

But again, reward the behavior of running experiments, not necessarily the result, but when there is a positive result, that certainly means and cause for celebration.

Marketing is about innovation and finding new ways to connect and communicate with your customers. Remember to always be experimenting and you’ll see continual improvement in your team and in your results.