Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Load, fire, aim!

I went to a marketing workshop yesterday; it was good, high energy stuff. I know the presenter quite well after having worked with him some years ago. He takes his business pretty seriously and works hard at it. He’s written two books about marketing and is well worth listening to.

I also happen to know that whilst he is a man of words he also pays attention to his metrics. He knows exactly what works and what doesn’t in terms of his own marketing, and regularly lets slip a variety of metrics related to his own business.

So when he stood up in front of everyone yesterday and said his philosophy is “Load, fire, aim!” I had to raise an eyebrow. He got a hearty laugh, but why do people want to encourage the thought that analysis is something that isn't necessary? We do we prefer to think that success comes from random acts of genius instead of carefully worked through choices backed by solid data?

The reality is that unless you measure and evaluate what you are doing, you will not know what works and what does not. It may be that you have to try a variety of different approaches before hitting on the successful ones, but without the measurement, evaluation and analysis we are left in the dark.

Of course workshops have to have enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep the audience happy. But don’t let bravado fool you – those who are successful at what they do are also those who measure stuff. They might not think of it as analysis, and may stare blankly at you when you talk about measurement and evaluation, but that’s what they are doing. Measuring each initiative, and then going back afterwards and figuring out just how successful it was. Was it better or worse than other initiatives? This is data driven marketing at its best, on this occasion given a rather curious name by someone who clearly thinks analysis is something to keep quiet about!


  1. Hi Caroline, Yes, I agree that measurement is very important in marketing. "Load, Fire, Aim!" is one of Tom Peter's sayings. Most small businesses don't do enough marketing - "Load, Fire, Aim!" is all about getting out there and doing more activities. Naturally, there should be clear goals as well as metrics. In between - there should be lots of ACTION! All the best, Nigel Temple,

  2. Nigel - I hadn't recognised it as a Tom Peters quote. He and Robert Waterman were the original inspiration behind my blog title "Getting to Excellent." I still think "In Search of Excellence" is as worth reading now as it was when it was first published.

    Thanks for the more than solid remind to do more marketing stuff!