12 of us from The B2B Marketing Lab attended Seth Godin’s Live in London Q&A session with the man in person this week, where the American author, marketing guru and great public speaker spent five hours with about 300 keen, modern marketers at Imperial College, London.
This blog series by members of the team will cover many of the topics that were discussed by Seth on the day, from leadership, to innovation, to business strategy and change management, you name it, it was asked, and Seth provided extremely thought provoking, and mind blowing responses.
One question that got me thinking was what most people have probably been asked by their respective boss or bosses at some point in their career; “Will it work?”
As a keen marketer, who likes ‘new’ things, new ideas, new trends, this topic has fascinated me especially over the last couple of years. What stops people from being creative, what stops me from trying new things? I’m lucky enough to work with people who are similar to me, who encourage testing things and trying new ideas, however not everyone is as fortunate. What was clear in Seth’s explanations was the need for employees at any level to be brave enough to test new ideas to see if they will work.
‘Will it work?’ is a terrible question, usually followed by ‘but how can you be sure?’ Seth’s discussion and experience made it clear that there are two types of people in business, the first ones are the ones that are committed to only doing things that are sure to happen, but in the marketing world something that worked yesterday, last week, last month, last year, might not work as well today. To be truly innovative you need to take the other path, to follow things that might not work, that you aren’t 100% sure about but have confidence will succeed. To quote Richard Branson, these are the people that say ‘screw it, let ‘s do it’.
At The B2B Marketing Lab, we see organisations using case studies, testimonials and quotes within their marketing efforts all the time, it’s a good way of saying ‘hey check out these guys, it’s working for them’ – creating reassurance. But the only way that you’ll create, produce, and make something really cool and successful is by trying it.
In 2007 Steve Jobs stated that one of his favourite quotes was one of Wayne Gretzky, and that Apple always tried to implement this way of thinking;
‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’
Nobody can be certain where the puck is going to be, but the best results, the best goals, the best performances may come from taking risks, from taking leaps, and from doing things that might not work.