In my previous article, I introduced you to what experimental culture is and why implementing it in your team is worth it. Now let's talk about how to do it.
1. Create a safe space for your ideas
Every idea counts, even the craziest ones. At the very least, they can inspire better concepts. After all, only one or two of them reach the point of final execution. But it is important to create an environment where people won't be afraid to share their ideas. Agree to refrain from peer review in the first phase. This will support team creativity and the less assertive members of your team.
Don't be afraid to lead a discussion later, though. Once you have enough ideas, it's time to sort them out and evaluate them. At this point, there’s no avoiding it. Learn how to give and receive feedback--even if it's not all too positive. The fact that a colleague of yours does not like your idea doesn't mean that they are criticizing you, it’s just the idea they’re commenting on. Don't take it personally; listen and discuss instead. The best ideas can easily emerge from such discussions. It’s difficult to not be bothered by negative feedback, but I know from my own experience that it's more of a gift than a burden. It can help you to develop and improve yourself.
There’s one more thing that is useful when implementing an experimental culture in marketing--having the CEO on your side. Explain to them your plans, that sometimes you'll utilize time and money for something new they’re not used to just yet. Any boss worth their salt will welcome an initiative of this sort, and you’ll rest easier knowing you’ve got their support.
- Every idea counts.
- Give feedback honestly and with empathy.
- Evaluating your idea is not a critique of you, do not take it personally.
- For more security, get the CEO or CMO looped in.
2. How to choose the right idea
The right questions will make your choice easier. What are those questions? Is the idea feasible? How much will it cost? Is it in line with our long-term visions? What are the risks? What will the implementation bring us? Of course, there may be more similar questions related to your business and goals. The ideas that pass this filter, however, those are the ones worth trying.
Do you have a smaller team, or are you responsible for marketing on your own? Try the so-called Disney method. It has you gradually go through three phases of working with an idea:
- The Dreamer: In this phase, you simply come up with the most creative ideas, and you don't let anything limit you, not even your inner critic.
- The Realist: You ask yourself important questions concerning execution and costs. Am I able to implement the idea? What’s the least amount of money I can manage with?
- The Critic: You think about what could go wrong when realizing your chosen idea, you identify the worst possible scenario. If the idea is too problematic, discard it and move on to another one. But when even the worst option has the potential to be a hit, continue with it.
Did you manage to choose the right idea, and now you’d like to get it rolling? Don't forget to set metrics to help you to evaluate success. They can be qualitative (like testing on a small group of colleagues, i.e. customers) or quantitative (social media metrics such as engagement, conversion, etc.). Do make sure to choose at least one thing. These metrics will then help you to decide where to take the idea next.
3. Adopt an iterative approach
You have chosen the idea you want to implement. However, since this is an experiment, and you can't predict how the idea will work, we recommend trying an iterative approach. What is it and how does it work? Applifting is a software house, and most things are done the agile way. That's where we got inspired to adapt this process to our marketing need
It's simple: create your idea the cheapest and fastest way possible, and test it out on a part of your target group. Gather feedback, change the idea accordingly, and release the customized part back into the world. This process can have one or more iterations. It depends on the type of idea and activity you are doing. In general, at least the first round is beneficial, if nothing else, and you will immediately find out if you are well on your way. If so, you won't be afraid to invest more time and money in the project, to improve and finish it.
Interactive implementation of the idea:
- Create the cheapest possible prototype for your idea.
- Test it on a small sample of users, collect feedback, and work it in.
- Repeat the first two steps as many times as needed.
- Examine set metrics and success on an ongoing basis.
Still not sure if it works? It doesn't matter! Even if you put a stop to the project earlier, you'll learn something new, and, most importantly, you will not waste too much time and money on something that doesn't work. And then you can quickly move on to other ideas. The great thing is that the failure here is so small that it is actually a success in this case.
These three steps above will help you to set up an experimental culture in your team while taking the first step to realizing your ideas. To help you to imagine how it works in practice, in the next article, I will share with you some specific examples of projects created and successfully finished here at Applifting. At the same time, we will talk about the unsuccessful ones as well. There is no shame involved, just new experience for next to nothing. You can look forward to our Cypher game, shooting HR videos, podcasts, or a failed landing page.
If you want to talk about these three steps or experimental culture in marketing in person, don't hesitate to reach out to me via LinkedIn, I’ll be happy to talk.