I used to work for a large, non-email marketing, company that was under considerable public scrutiny as it was often the source of quite startling headlines. Senior staff were demoted sideways if their department was the target. Fault was an inconsequence.
I was given the task in coming up with a defence in the, rather predictable, repeat of a particular type of incident. I treated it seriously as it was likely I would be in the firing line should anything go wrong, and not having any real influence on the particular outcome was unlikely to protect me. I was producing what was known as a loin-girder.
I went outside the speciality and came up with what was to me at the time, and since, the perfect solution. We would have been impregnable. I took it to my bosses, who took it to experts in the business, who rejected it without reason given. I was told the idea was risible. It would have been the same even if I’d had email marketing level of data to support.
Seven years later a chap in another branch came up with the same idea and won an award. Am I bitter? Take a guess.
Depending on experts and experience is common in email marketing and we have the ability to prove we are right because of all the data and testing they normally bring to defend their point of view. It makes you wonder how you missed some of the recent brilliant ideas. Perhaps you went by the experts.
It’s not that our data is wrong or corrupted. It is, after all, the result of testing and, the theory goes, is inviolable. But it’s not. It is as subject to bias as any guess as we are making decisions, based on experience and expertise, in setting the boundaries of the questions we put to the subscribers to our email marketing lists. We are basically asking then to choose between yes and no.
It is an unfortunate fact that off-the-wall ideas are much more likely to be useless as the middle-of-the-road, we’ve always done something similar type that can be proved to be worthwhile because something similar has been done before. Sometimes weird is useful.
We’ve all been in those meetings that have been a search for a new idea, and we’ve all been a little bit scared to put forward thoughts that might be ridiculed. It doesn’t do to be remembered for one of them. If your staff and colleagues are similarly scared then management is at fault.
In the post Covid-19 world things will be harsh, margins will be tight and your competitors will be looking for an edge. Will they seek the advice of experts? They probably won’t be looking for that weird person from sales who always ends up being laughed at when they give one of their odd replies.
Ensure your staff are willing to risk looking a bit silly in the eyes of experts. After all, their ideas might well gird your company’s loins for the post Covid-19 reality.