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Some of you know that my second book is called Do It Wrong Quickly, and this post is about the quickly part. Advising people to do things wrong is just my cheeky way of getting marketers to start experimenting–to try things and see how they work. That experimental approach is the essence of agile marketing, a term not yet in use when I wrote my book. But without the quickly part, you’re just doing it wrong. It was too long for the title, but what I actually meant was to do it wrong quickly–and then fix it. And the number of times you can experiment makes a huge difference to your success.

Think about it. Suppose you work in a big, slow organization where you can change your Web site once a month. If you are trying to figure out what your customers want, you get one try a week. If it takes you a dozen tries to get it right, then you have blown a year.

But suppose you could change your site every week? You’d be able to run the same number of tests to get that same right answer in three months.

How about if you could run one test a day? In less than two weeks, you’d get to the same brilliant answer.

Why do we care about this? Simple. None of us are brilliant. None of us know the perfect answer. None of us can jump straight to the correct conclusion. Most of what we do actually is wrong. It’s not the best. It could be improved. Our fifth try, our 25th try, and our 105th try are all better than out first.

So, getting to that 105th try more quickly means real money. The faster you can run the experiments, the faster you can get to the right answer.

There are all sorts of ways to make the testing go faster, everything from agile software development to multivariate testing. But first, you need to recognize how important that speed is.

 

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

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