The Spaghetti Machine Gun
It used to be incredibly difficult for smaller brands to compete with the larger brands with huge resources. Now, it’s not uncommon for a scrappy newcomer to take substantial market share from an established entity. Lesser known brands have access to tools that are low cost, easy to execute and incredibly effective. Even better, small start-ups have access to information that helps them learn best practices and create efficient processes. But sometimes, smaller brands hurt themselves by applying lessons incorrectly.
That’s what I believe is happening with “the pivot”. Over the past 2 years I’ve talked with a lot of entrepreneurs who are constantly pivoting. If something doesn’t turn out the way they hoped, they immediately pivot. They tell people, “I tried that and it didn’t work so I pivoted.” The term pivot is great because not everyone knows what it means in a business context but it sounds like real business jargon. Here’s the issue:
It’s not a pivot if you never had a foot planted.
If you’re just trying a bunch of tactics to see what “works”, you’re not pivoting, you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall. Often, businesses aren’t just throwing spaghetti at the wall; they’re using a spaghetti machine gun. Then, they reload and shoot more spaghetti at the wall!
Here are 3 steps to get better marketing results with less spaghetti:
- Make a plan. Ask yourself what you’re trying to do (goals) and how you’re going to do it (strategies). The LAST step of a plan is detailing tactics.
- Measure and learn. You should have metrics for your tactics AND your strategies. Don’t assume a strategy isn’t working because the tactic didn’t work. This will help you separate poorly executed tactics from bad strategies.
- If you do decide to pivot, go back to step 1 and repeat the process.
Not only should you know what you’re going to measure but you should know what you want to learn. You may not have liked the results but if you learn, you will become a smarter marketer. You’ll be able to build your brand rather than jumping around laterally.