Gambling on Strategic Marketing: How to Play Your Cards Right

By Stacey Piper

The world is selling secrets. Advertisers bombard us with promises: the secret to a happy marriage, to retiring early, to looking younger, to losing weight. We’re ingrained to seek that special “something” that will be the answer, the solution, the magic equation, the be-all and end-all.

I watched this quest for perfection play out with my husband when we used to participate in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. He won big one or two times. Meanwhile, with Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler on repeat in my head, I took a patiently competitive approach, accepting small failures in order to stay in the game. Through consistency and diligence, I made it to the final table at least four times more often than he did…and ended up earning higher scores overall.

Look, winning and losing can’t be quantified. They are states of mind, and losing happens only when you give up. Seen that way, then, the world can be filled with winners, and there is room for them all.

Jack Welch

Perfection Paralysis

In developing marketing strategies, it’s easy to become paralyzed by the quest for perfection, the perfect content, campaign, or results. In so doing, we risk keeping ourselves out of the game entirely. Knowing when to hold and when to fold—the test-and-learn approach—is far more effective, particularly when you’re trying to engage with customers and convert prospects. As uncomfortable as it is, failure must be an option that you build into your strategic marketing plan as a learning experience and pivot point.


When the rate of change inside an institution becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight. The only question is when.

Jack Welch


Planning to Fail

In order to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world, the best marketing campaigns are bidirectional, designed to reach your customer while providing valuable information back to your company to help you cultivate a fresh perspective. By failing fast and often, you can quickly extract value from each experience and make course corrections to differentiate yourself from your competitors and improve results. In so doing, you learn what to throw away and what to keep for your strategic marketing campaigns. You have the data you need to walk away from underperforming content, tactics, and channels and can more effectively identify new opportunities, and craft new ways to reach new audiences.

Dream big, try often, and accept short-term failures with your eye on winning your long-term goals. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and start getting your content and messages into market sooner rather than later.

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