If things aren’t working as well as you want, “more of the same” marketing likely isn’t the answer. Good advice, as it turns out. And good advice is good advice, whether it includes data points or horses.

Let me explain.

I was reading yesterday and came upon Malcolm Gladwell’s “inverted U” chart from his great book, David and Goliath.

The idea of the chart shows how an idea, let’s use a marketing strategy as the example, can move you up the curve of improving results. But ideas always “wear out”, getting you to the top of the inverted U, leveling off in effectiveness, until your marketing strategy starts to fail, sending you down the other side of the inverted U. In other words, results aren’t linear. One example he uses is class size. Going from a class size of 36 to 30 improves grades, as does going from 30 to 20. Results start to slow and level off at about 20, and start to fall around 10.

Sound familiar? Sort of? How about “The horse that brung ya may not be the horse that’ll get ya where ya want to go” or some version of this thinking. Gladwell simply looked at a variety of data points to make the same point.

I’ve heard for years a version of this when owners hire me: Sales slowed, so we increased  our ________________ (fill in the blank with whatever they were doing), but nothing happened.