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Where to begin

Whenever we begin a new marketing project, it’s common feel a bit overwhelmed. When you feel like you’ve got so much on the line, working with this level of uncertainty will usually make most people feel just a little bit uncomfortable. Like it or lump it, we have to start somewhere. Here’s how we begin a project from scratch.

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When you place such a huge amount of pressure on any decision, you undoubtedly feel the need to pour over every detail hoping to get it just right. Here is why this is a flawed approach: in the absence of objective data, the only thing we have are opinions. Any decision you’re likely to make early on, is pretty much guaranteed to rely on making an assumption. So rather than setting your sights on perfection from the start, accept what you don’t know and begin exploring options.

Aim for Good, not Perfect

For many people, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of overthinking a single idea. It is only natural to assume that spending more time refining a decision will lead to a better outcome but that shouldn’t be the point when you are starting out. As soon as you begin to chase “perfect” you can lose your ability to listen to what your audience wants to hear.

Remember, you are not your Customer

We like to think our customers are just like us and we know all about them. Unfortunately this is not often the case, and we make the oversight of choosing solutions that work for ourselves based on gut feeling. Not to worry though, this cognitive bias is easily cured through research and testing. Testing how your customers feel about your product early on is crucial in determining which direction to take you project.

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Another strategy to avoid this assumption bias is to resist being overly critical of your ideas. Get them down quickly and don’t spend time refining. Without data, refining or protecting any ideas at this stage is counter-productive. Don’t waste your time debating whether you think a decision is right or wrong, a disagreement about something is usually a good sign that you need to consider testing it.

Pick Numbers over Assumptions

Staying open to the fact that you can’t fully trust anything until its been tested lets your thinking shift from blind confidence towards exploration. It’s great to go with your gut when generating ideas (that’s often all you have), but always be prepared to challenge them. When you test your assumptions, you should hopefully see results that indicate which of your ideas perform better than others. Making time for discovery will vastly improve your ability to make effective decisions in the future.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify assumptions early on, and seek to challenge them
  • Keep your ideas open and fluid
  • Be skeptical and open to learning as much as you can through discovery

Learn more about our project planning & strategy services and how our expert project managers help guide you every step of the way.