I follow Seth Godin’s daily blog, and I was struck by today’s post. Nutshell: what would happen if you scaled up by a factor of 10? I was talking with a friend of mine about this concept recently: doubling the people with brooms makes any sweeping job go twice as fast. But when a woman’s growing a baby, more people don’t help. It still takes nine months.
In any marketing effort, doing more of what works definitely ramps up impact. But there’s a limit: more leads to more until it flattens out and eventually decreases impact. Think email marketing: I buy something from C. Wonder. They send me their email promos once a week. Then they jump to twice a week. Then to twice a day. At what point do I quit opening them? When do I say, “Stop, C. Wonder! No more!!!” And they lose me.
It’s finding that sweet spot where you’re maximizing impact while minimizing fallout that’s the challenge.
On the non-marketing side, going all-in and scaling up to accomplish the goal can be challenging because of the risk-averse nature of business. “Let’s pilot this, and if it goes well, we’ll commit” or “Let’s do what we can within existing headcount” gives you a way to ease out when things invariably don’t go perfectly, and you look wise (rather than like a failure) for bailing. When actually, you may never have achieved the threshold needed to guarantee success. Sins of commission are always more egregious than sins of omission.