Perfection is dead

I’ve spoken ad nauseum about how we have to stop obsessing about carefully, slowly, deciding the exact right way to do our marketing. It’s comforting to believe that you have it right, but it’s an unattainable dream—you never have it right. I like to say you should “do it wrong quickly,” and it was gratifying to see Web metrics expert Avinash Kaushik blog about this same subject as an excerpt from his upcoming book.


Avinash is right on when he says that perfection is dead. He talks about how there are no perfect metrics, which I’ve talked about previously, also. I think that some metrics experts are hung up on perfect measurements and we’ve tried to be more precise at the expense of unifying metrics so that people understand how to make decisions from them.
But I think perfection is dead in an even bigger way. Our relentless pursuit of the perfect Web page, the perfect call to action, or the perfect e-mail campaign is totally misguided. When we launch any marketing campaign, any Web redesign, or any kind of marketing message, that’s not the end. It’s the beginning.
That’s when we start measuring what is happening, not to prove ourselves right, but to find out how wrong we are. If you have convinced everyone that this is the perfect campaign, you almost can’t find out how it worked. You need to gather metrics only to prove that it really was perfect. You can’t honestly see what is wrong so you can fix it.
Instead, you must look at the first day of your campaign as the real start. You must test who is responding and how they are respnding—is it better or worse than you expected? Now is the time to roll out Plan B and Plan C to vary what you are doing to see if you can increase response. This is the real secret of interactive marketing—instead of seeking perfection, keep doing something different so it works better and better.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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