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What a three year old can teach us about our marketing campaigns

My god daughter, Freya, learnt a new phrase not so long back when she turned three. It is now her most favourite saying, a response to pretty much anything life throws at her…


To me, as somebody who sees her quite regularly (but not every minute of the day, as her parents do) it’s a cute and endearing quality that harks back to a day when the world was full of wonder and fascination, where our brains were growing and developing at such a speed we were desperate for knowledge, desperate to understand everything about us.

Bless her.

But it also got me thinking about how quickly we lose this hunger or desire, how in our grown up world we almost forget to ask such a basic question of ourselves and of that around us, to truly understand and evaluate what we are doing.

In the world of online marketing, which I have inhabited for nearly seventeen years, it is often easy to do just do things “because we’ve always done it this way” and miss the chance to exploit the truly powerful use of testing in our marketing communications. We all know that testing is a brilliant way to iterate and affect the results of our work, especially online, but how often do we actually do it?

How many campaigns are sent each week that haven’t had the “Freya test” applied to them?

Simple questions such as:

  • Why do we send this on a Thursday every week?
  • Why don’t we try a text-only version?
  • Why do we use Facebook as a B2B brand?
  • Why is our conversion rate dropping?
  • Why don’t we try and resend to non-openers?
  • Why should we stop calling in December?
  • Why don’t we ask our customers what they think is the most useful?
  • Why don’t we try it in another language?

Questions like this can unlock some really quick and potentially successful changes to our marketing. At the very least they give us the chance to sense-check what we are doing and be sure it’s still the right way to do it. My experience of marketing is that it is all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and lose the opportunity to come up for air; to stand back from it all and evaluate whether it is really doing all we want it to.

Now, as Freya’s loving parents will pay testament to, asking “why?” to every single question, every single minute of the day can become a little tiresome, to say the least. However, used little and often, surely it forces us to really think hard about what we are doing and why we are doing it?

I’ve long been an advocate in marketing for us all trying to retain that permanent state of curiosity that only young children embrace, and perhaps something as simple as the question “why?” is an easy way for us to all to regress and progress.