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a blog by Chris Barrow

Adopt, Measure, Adapt

A thought-provoking conversation with my business partner Tim Caudrelier yesterday. Prompted by the question: “If we were starting this project again, knowing what we know now, would we do things differently?” The answer was “yes” – because that’s what the answer always will be. Getting things right first time is a myth. We adopt, measure and adapt. It’s the frequency of the measurement and adaptation that will ultimately determine the success of a project. Those who adopt and then refuse to accept the measurements when they indicate bad news are doomed. Business writer Ash Maurya describes them as suffering from the malady of the “unfalsifiable hypothesis” – that their idea was so good that it is bound to work, irrespective of the evidence. Let me give you a practical and very honest example. We created a landing page, a video and a startling free offer for our AIM (automated email marketing) product. Sales to our existing community (4,500 newsletter followers) and strategic alliance partners have been excellent. So we implemented a paid media campaign and, through targeted re-marketing, we expected to create more take ups for our wonderful offer from strangers in dentistry. Yesterday, James Kelly shared the results with us. Over 650 people have clicked through on the targeted advert and have spent an average of 5 minutes on our landing page, watching me on video and reading the accompanying words. Number of sign ups from that campaign = 1. Big fail. Possible reasons:

  1. Chris Barrow on video isn’t working;

  2. The message isn’t working;

  3. The offer isn’t working;

  4. The targeted audience is wrong.

So the adoption here is the campaign. The measurement is the poor results. The adaptation is to completely rebuild and test a different campaign. You have to take the same approach in your own business, whether its your marketing systems, patient experience systems or treatment planning systems – in fact, right throughout your business.

  1. Adopt – I spoke with a potential new client last night who told me he has NO financial systems in his 3-year old practice;

  2. Measure – everything, all the time;

  3. Adapt – if it isn’t working – change, split-test and keep on changing until it does.

Charles Darwin said it first – a species (business) evolves through a process of continuous adaptation. The phrase “let’s go back to the drawing board” is a sign of a good business.

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