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The power of experimenting

“The world will not be the same after this…”

Needless to say, we have learned a great deal over the last month or two. We have learned about the way we work, the way we interact, the way we prioritize and so much more.

I would argue that while the current Covid-19 pandemic takes these challenges to an extreme, we are never the same after we learn something new.

We are never the same after we learn something new.

This is why it is important for businesses to flip their learning from reactions to the environment around them to proactive results of well thought out experiments.

This is especially important for marketing, sales and business development professionals who have seen their teams slashed, their events cancelled, their strategies dismantled and their customers paralyzed. 

For these leaders, experiments are an opportunity to re-envision how we can help our customers and grow our businesses.

What experiments work

There is a difference between an experiment and trying something new. Marketers that simply want to try new things because old things are not working run the risk of being wasteful. And wasteful is not an option.

Instead, think back to your high school chemistry class. 

  • Experiments test a hypothesis - what you think you know

  • They are informed by previous experience/research -  what you know about your customer and industry

  • They have variables - what you want to control

  • They produce data - how you will measure success

  • They drive new learning and action - why it matters to your business

So whether it is an experiment testing a new social media posting time on LinkedIn (engagement on the platform has been up 2781% since the start of February)  or launching a new podcast for your industry, your experiment must center around testing an idea that leads to actionable results quickly.

Doing so meets the criteria of greatest importance right now - cost, time, relevancy, results.

Why experiments work

In the book, The Lean Startup, by Eric Reis, he speaks of the concept of “validated learning” and explains, “It is a method for demonstrating progress when one is embedded in the soil of extreme uncertainty.”

There is little question that this qualifies as a time of extreme uncertainty. So regardless if you are a startup or a large enterprise, there is value in demonstrating progress in this time of uncertainty.

Reis goes on to discuss the value of experimentation in uncovering validated learning and says that experiments, “test its [a company’s] strategy to see which parts are brilliant and which are crazy.”  

A little bit crazy. A little bit brillant.

Now is the time where we need a little crazy to get through the uncertainty. Ideas should be crazy. They should stretch our current way of thinking in order to see the realm of possibility.

The best experiments are designed to turn crazy ideas into brilliant discoveries. 

And brilliant discoveries are what we need right now to drive ourselves and our business.

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