No need to prove ’em wrong. We know they’re wrong.

Not long ago, best practices and creative thinking drove success in a lot of things. We would figure out what should work, put it to action, and start working on the next idea that should work. The general attitude was that unless you could prove them wrong, the marketers were doing great. Sometimes people did prove them wrong, but most of the time, wrong wasn’t obvious and it was hard (and expensive) to gather proof and talk about new ways of doing things next time.

Today, we don’t live in a “prove me wrong” world any more. We live in a “prove me right” world. We know, factually, that almost 100% of our ideas about how to execute on the web are wrong, right out of the gates. Every keyword’s bid, every landing page, every confirmation email, every tweet is wrong. I don’t mean bad; I mean there is a huge opportunity to do it better. But for us to be effective analysts, we need to modify our approach.

Instead of taking people’s ideas and shooting a thousand holes in them (prove they are wrong), next time you do an analysis, start by knowing the ideas are wrong (read: highly improvable) and start patching the holes that you discover. Best practices and creative thinking, today, are just a starting point. When you look at those ideas, aim to gain momentum, don’t kill it. Call your web site “launch,” rather than calling it “destination.” Call your landing pages a starting point, not a product or an output. Your paid search campaign is the first settlement in an unmapped territory. Then, knowing your first effort is completely and utterly imperfect, imbue the mindset that your sole mission is to be smarter, less wrong, more right each day.

You’re done when you’ve proved it right.


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  1. This post has stuck with me for a long time — excellent mindset

    Posted January 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink