Bias for Action

What’s the one thing I think is holding talented marketing teams from being elite? What’s keeping brilliant marketing craftsmen from making huge impacts on their organization?

A Bias For Inaction.

It’s a symptom I’ve seen far too often in my work with clients and as cog in the corporate machine. Talented teams will spend days agonizing over minute creative details as opposed to being focused on making things happen.

In the world of online marketing, it’s almost always better to get your creative done faster, launch your campaigns earlier, or fire up your website more quickly.

Why? Well, assuming you have your messaging mostly correct, and you’ve cleared all the internal compliance hurdles (if there are any), and done a good job of proofreading – the risk of not being 100% perfect is WAY less than the risk of letting that email campaign sit on a shelf for another day.

It’s Pareto’s principle at its finest – 80% of the time spent agonizing over a font selection or shade of blue in your header yields 20% of your performance (actually, it’s a lot less than that). Given the low cost of running multiple iterations of a campaign piece – it’s madness to shelve your PPC ads for another day waiting to get them just right.

It’s even more important when you realize that when you’re deciding which color submit button will drive the most conversions – you don’t REALLY know. You’re just arguing opinions. Hopefully, you have enough data and have done enough research to have a good idea (it’s orange), and are using that as a baseline…..then the only sane move is to test, analyze, and base your decision on that.

In summary – if you want to make your marketing team the best it can be, simply remove the fear of failure, insist upon swift and agile campaign launches, and base creative decisions on data and testing. If you do that, you can leverage the true power of online marketing, which is combining huge reach with deep targeting, and easy testing and optimization.

Sub Topic: Changing for change’s sake.
For the love of all things holy, if your designer starts significantly switching up email creatives, banners, or your website design and doesn’t have data to back up that decision – put a stop to it. When we’re neck deep in campaigns every day, things get boring…however, your end user isn’t seeing the same creative over and over, they are seeing it only a few times. The only time you should be making fundamental creative changes is for testing and optimization, or if your data is saying your campaign performance is starting to slip.


  1. Great post Scott! Totally agree with your philosophy. Can I come work for you? :-)

Speak Your Mind