You’ve heard of A/B testing – testing slightly different versions in order to see what resonates the most with your audience – but I’m here to tell you that testing should go beyond that. Yes, it’s valuable to split your marketing into segments, to try different color buttons on your website, different subject lines in emails, a variety of calls to action…etc. to see what works, but you should also:
Get out of your comfort zone!
I’m talking big stuff here. I’m talking about partnering with businesses and organizations you haven’t considered yet. I’m talking about putting on an event that is totally novel to you and your audience. Get creative. Become engaged with your market. Go down an unexplored path together and share an adventure.
You never know what will be most effective with your target market if you don’t try a large variety of things. The phrases “that’s just how things have always been done around here” and “that’s not how we do things” take them out of your vocabulary. They’re toxic to creative working environments. And, with the decline in traditional marketing and advertising, it’s toxic to a sustainable competitive advantage.
Do things you’ve never tried before…often.
If you’re not sure an idea will work, do it. Try it out. Take a leap of faith, as long as it isn’t too costly, and make it safe for you and your team to fail.
Some of the most valuable lessons come from failures. At the worst, you’ll have a whole slew of lessons you and your team learn about what didn’t work and why. You’ll become more in tune with what truly matters. But you never know until you try.
How do you find these big ideas to test out?
Here are three ways to get the juices flowing.
First, ask your employees. Get everyone in the organization involved. Allow them to contribute to ideas. Start a shared google doc, create a Slack channel, make a Facebook group…heck, even just start a white board or suggestion box where people can write in ideas. Make it fun, show the employees that you’re reading their ideas, and try some of them out. Often your customer service reps will have the most insight into what might work for your customers (duh!).
Second, ask your customers. Involve them in the conversation. Use social media to add open ended questions, run polls, test out quizzes (people love quizzes, just ask Buzzfeed…) or even run a contest for creative ideas. The earlier you involve your target market in the creative process, the more buy-in and sense of ownership they’ll have over the idea.
Third, check out others for inspiration. Again, this doesn’t have to be your competitors (don’t do exactly what a competitor does). This can be from any industry. Look at the brands you appreciate and connect with and then look at the seemingly random ideas and initiatives they’ve tested out!
Here are some of the companies/brands that inspire me to get you started!
- Strange Bikinis – check out this recent post where they talk about skydiving. Bikinis and Skydiving?! Not a traditional mix. Love it.
- Yelp – have you heard about becoming Yelp Elite? It’s a status that you can earn by leaving reliable and useful reviews of businesses on a consistent basis. It takes a lot of effort and for that effort, Yelp figured out a way to reward and leverage its most active contributors – Official Yelp Events. These are Yelp Elite parties and events that are totally rad and enviable.
And here’s an awesome blog post that shows 20 of the most creative events that companies have tried out! 20 Wickedly Creative Corporate Event Ideas
With trying new ideas, failure and mistakes are bound to happen. Don’t be scared! It’s all part of the learning process. However, if you’re really worried about making a mistake, check out my post about How to Handle Mistakes to put your mind at ease, and then take this advice and try new things with confidence!
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Thanks for reading!