We tell ourselves all these stories about why we should wait. Wait to follow up. Wait to launch the campaign until everything’s dialed in a bit more. Or, summer is slow, maybe we should wait.
And that’s what they are, stories we tell ourselves. Stories that keep us safe; that keep us in the planning and preparing phase and let us avoid the action phase. Because with action we risk failure.
There are other stories available to us. Like the one I learned about campaign timing.
I’ll never forget. We launched a new product and it hit with a real thud. But we thought we knew why. We presented our case to the client for a fix and relaunch, which required another notable investment. Reluctantly he gave the okay with a hopeful look with a dash of good-money-after-bad wince as he shook our hands.
We worked our tails off and fixed what we thought was broken, returning with fresh air under our wings and a new resolve the launch would succeed. He said, Okay, great, we’ll launch again on 4th of July weekend. Oh please no! Anything (ANYTHING!) except launching on the 4th of freaking July. He won, we lost, and there we were, staring directly into the abyss of an even more painful thud as the product got launched on the 4th of July. Really? Is there a worse day to launch than the 4th of July??
Well, we were right about the fix but wrong about the timing. The client shipped a million dollars worth of the product the two weeks following our, ahem, spectacularly successful launch on the 4th of July. In hindsight the thing we were struggling with was fear it wouldn’t work for a second time. And fear is a big driver of justifying waiting for a better time to move forward. The story we told ourselves was a holiday weekend is not the best time to launch a product. And to hear me say it now, it makes sense. But we had no facts. We had a feeling that was easy enough to shake your head in agreement with. But one that was based in fear, not facts.
I’m not saying a great time to launch a product is the 4th of July. I’m saying do a gut check on your feelings behind a decision to wait to make sure it isn’t based in fear.
Remember Nike’s “Just Do It!” ad campaign? The thing still resonates because it embodies a story that argues against waiting for that perfect time and just doing it. And, believe it or not, that campaign launched in 1988, 31 years ago. Here’s the first TV spot:
I admit, the ad isn’t that great. But it started something the brand has grown into. Just do it. And make no mistake, it’s scary to start something new; to move from planning and preparing or thinking about it into action. Into just doing it. My advice? With respect and apologies to Nike, just do it.
*The main image is of Simone Biles, 2016 Olympic gold medal gymnast, from a Nike ad.