When to use machetes and scalpels in your marketing execution


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Driving innovation in marketing isn’t just about new markets and categories. Even mature markets evolve as the world changes and customer/buyer behavior changes as well.

So in a mature organization, what worked to drive marketing performance yesterday might not be as effective today. And that assumes you’ve established a successful baseline of ongoing marketing activities you know will work.

In a new market or emerging category, you don’t have that baseline. You’re starting with little knowledge of what’s going to work, and you therefore can’t put eggs in any particular basket until you know which basket will be effective.

In these environments, to figure out what works, you operate like a “machete in the jungle.” There is no path, nobody’s been there before, and you’re hacking at the vines around you to get where you want to go.

This not only includes carefully but aggressively testing a lot of things at once to see what works. It also means there’s an inherent level of inaccuracy, and a lack of precision, about how you execute.

When there is no precedent, no path, that lack of precision is part of the process. It’s intentional.

But once you start to develop precedent and identify scalable best practices, most companies fail to make the transition from using a machete to using a scalpel. The intentional lack of precision, as you learn, needs to be replaced with not only precision but discretion and quickly winnowing out the actions and tactics that aren’t working.

This requires great tracking, tools that measure correlation between activity and revenue, as well as processes that allow you to crisply replicate execution and results in a scalable way.

You may still be in the jungle, but at least now you know where you’re going.

As you continue to learn and execute, you’ll find yourself using a machete and scalpel at the same time. You’ll use the scalpel for what you know, and the machete again when as you’re exploring new markets, ideas and strategies.

This environment makes it even more important to differentiate between machete and scalpel situations, and adjust your approach and execution for each.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Matt Heinz
Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt Heinz is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 20 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results with greater sales, revenue growth, product success and customer loyalty.


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