Thursday, February 19, 2009

Timely improvements over delayed perfection

Once upon a time many years ago, I started my career in marketing. Those were the days that everything we did was in person, print, video or radio. A marketing campaign took months to strategize, plan, execute, measure and then adjust or refine based on the results. Making a change in a print ad or a printed brochure was a major undertaking, nearly as arduous as starting over again. And you had to have patience to wait on the results of a direct mail campaign, sometimes up to 6 weeks before you knew if your response rate was 2% (crack open a beer) or 4% (pop the cork on champagne).

And then Al Gore invented the Internet and I finally found my calling. For me, the Web is like marketing on crack. I can have an idea, execute it on my website, measure the results and adjust my campaign all within an hour if I have enough traffic to get statistically significant measurements (which I did at sites such as Travelocity.com and eDiets.com).

So this is my mantra; make timely improvements over delayed perfection. It fits with my belief that there is no such thing as a new idea but what defines success is in the implementation. Most ideas have been thought of before but few people are great at executing. Perfectionists tend to want to wait until their plan is perfected, their execution fully routed, proofed and tested and everything is tied up with a nice bow. But in the web world implementation and feedback can dramatically change your plan or send you down a different path altogether. But not to worry, you can always change it in about an hour or so. You gotta love it!

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