Have you ever called the IT guy for help and he told you, “Can you try rebooting the machine?”
You reply smugly, “I already tried that! Can you come by and take a look at it?”
Then when he shows up to investigate, he immediately reboots it and, like magic, everything is fixed.
We’ve all had these moments like this in life. What is it that makes one attempt fail and another successful? In most cases it isn’t a whole change in approach, but something more subtle. Similar to using a #1 vs #2 Phillips bit to remove a stubborn screw.
When we meet with prospective clients and review their marketing history, we often ask about what has worked in the past and what hasn’t. The answer always starts the same, “I tried….”.
…I tried Direct Mail.
…I tried TV.
…I tried the Newspaper.
…And what follows is always the same too, “AND IT DIDN’T WORK”.
What’s interesting is that some people feel they try and because they didn’t have success, then that approach must not work for their business. In most cases, a subtle change in approach can turn something that wasn’t successful into something that produces.
Take Direct Mail for instance. We have a client that swears up and down that direct mail doesn’t work. The cost per piece is outrageous to him and he said he spent “all kinds of money” generating only 1 or 2 leads. We reviewed the campaign: the design, demographics, drop date, quantity. We then asked him -“why do so many people in your industry do direct mail if it isn’t successful?” We were able to convince him to try a different approach to the “same thing”. We change the layout and design, change the drop date, re-target neighborhoods, and re-word the offer. We set expectations based on our benchmarks. In the end, the campaign was successful and he is placing a much larger portion of his marketing budget into direct mail.
As in life, attitude is everything. And like the fortune cookie says, “Just because you think you tried doesn’t mean you did.”