Why Marketers Should Experiment First and Ask Permission Later

As a marketer, when you spend more time pitching executives on the value of new ideas versus actually trying them, you’re digging yourself in a hole. Lattice Engines CMO Brian Kardon explains why early success is the best argument you can make.

When someone on Brian Kardon’s marketing team asks him if they can experiment with a new marketing tactic, tool, or approach, the Lattice Engines CMO’s answer can typically be summed up in three simple words: Just do it.

It’s not that Kardon — who was previously the CMO at Eloqua and prior to that CMO at Forrester Research — is a big fan of Nike (and its famous slogan). It’s that he’s a big believer in trying new things, pushing boundaries, and validating ideas with real-world results. “So often, you’ll see a marketing team trying to convince some higher-up of the value of something (before they do it),” Kardon says. “But I tell my marketing team to just try it. If it works, we’ll get all the funding in the world.”

Advice for Marketers from a CMO: Experiment First, Ask Permission Later

Key Takeaways

  • Success begets support. Instead of trying to convince senior leadership of the merits of a particular marketing strategy or tactic with hypothesis and projections, Kardon suggests experimenting, iterating, and sharing actual results. If an idea is successful, good executives won’t hesitate to fund or support it.
  • Do your own “stuff.” Kardon doesn’t have someone write blogs or analyze KPIs for him — he gets into the weeds and does those things himself. This allows him to understand first-hand what’s working and identify what could be improved so he can delegate and leverage his team more effectively.
  • If everything you’re doing is working perfectly, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Kardon says the best marketing organizations are always trying new technologies, tools, tactics, and strategies. They may not always work, but progress and improvement isn’t possible without consistent experimentation.

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Brian Kardon
Brian Kardon
Chief Marketing Officer

Brian Kardon is CMO of Fuze. He has more than 20 years of experience creating and implementing successful growth strategies, including serving as CMO at Lattice Engines, Eloqua (acquired by Oracle) and Chief Strategy & Marketing Officer at Forrester Research. Brian was recently named a Top 10 Global CMO for companies <$250 million revenue by The CMO Institute.
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