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Launch & Learn

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Andy Black

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Launch & Learn

Imagine building the two sides of a bridge towards each other, to find they don’t meet in the middle?

That’s going to be sooo expensive to fix.

Engineers know how to build bridges. It’s been done many times before, and there are steps that need to be taken in a particular order.

I imagine they would be something like:
  1. Gather all requirements
  2. Come up with a design
  3. Build the foundations
  4. Build the next bit
  5. etc…
This is the “Waterfall Model”. It’s like water flowing down a series of waterfalls – once you’ve gone down a level you can’t go back up. It costs too much to go back up – so you better make sure you’ve got it right before you move onto the next step!

When Software Engineering was born, the waterfall model was widely adopted.

Except there were a few key difference between what structural engineers were building, and what software engineers were building.

Structural engineering problems are often “known” problems. Engineers know how to build a bridge, know what problems they can encounter, and know how to get around them.

People also know how they will use a bridge before it has been built, so requirements rarely change.


Software engineers, however, often build things that have never been built before.

And users constantly change their mind over the features they want from software or websites that are being built. (It’s almost like they don’t know what they want until they see it!)

The waterfall model doesn’t help you build something you’ve never built before, for people who don’t know what they want until they see it.

So the smart software engineers came up with a different way of working… called “Agile Methodologies”.

Instead of spending 6 months gathering requirements, 6 months to design the solution, and 12 months to build the solution (the classic waterfall method), software engineers have short cycles where they get the most important requirements, design and build a prototype, get people to use the prototype, learn from feedback, and start a new cycle where they “iterate” the initial prototype.

Cycles can last a matter of weeks, and this agile method helps software engineers build what the users actually want, rather than what they thought the users wanted.

Sound familiar?

(drum roll)

Enter “Agile Marketing”.

This is where you build something quickly to get feedback from your market, so that you can iterate your offering and get into a continuous cycle of improvement.

So that when you eventually “ship”, you have no surprises, and already know the market wants what you’re selling.

Or if it’s a dud, you’ve already taken the product round the back and given it a swift bullet… before you invested too much time and money into developing it.

“Fail fast” as they say.

I do like the phrase “agile marketing”, but I’m not a big fan of buzz words that mystify rather than demystify.

One of my favourite phrases is one I read in Seth Godins awesome little book “Meatball Sundae”.

In it he summed up all this agile methodologies and agile marketing in 3 small words:

LAUNCH AND LEARN

It’s become my mantra.

I’ve said before that the biggest benefit of AdWords is not that you buy traffic, but that you get to find out what your market actually wants, so that you can build it and sell it to them.



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randomnumber314

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Andy, if there's one thing I would tell newbies to do, reading your threads is an absolute must. I have a little bit of adword knowledge and experience, but I have enough to know that you understand what you're doing. Rep++ Your posts and some of the other gold posts should be put on a list and emailed to everyone as soon as they sign up here as required reading.
 

marklov

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This deserves a bump.

Just launch and get shit done if something goes wrong then you know exactly what to fix.
 

TheChosenOne

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(You might want to read this post first.)

Launch & Learn

Imagine building the two sides of a bridge towards each other, to find they don’t meet in the middle?

That’s going to be sooo expensive to fix.

Engineers know how to build bridges. It’s been done many times before, and there are steps that need to be taken in a particular order.

I imagine they would be something like:
  1. Gather all requirements
  2. Come up with a design
  3. Build the foundations
  4. Build the next bit
  5. etc…
This is the “Waterfall Model”. It’s like water flowing down a series of waterfalls – once you’ve gone down a level you can’t go back up. It costs too much to go back up – so you better make sure you’ve got it right before you move onto the next step!

When Software Engineering was born, the waterfall model was widely adopted.

Except there were a few key difference between what structural engineers were building, and what software engineers were building.

Structural engineering problems are often “known” problems. Engineers know how to build a bridge, know what problems they can encounter, and know how to get around them.

People also know how they will use a bridge before it has been built, so requirements rarely change.


Software engineers, however, often build things that have never been built before.

And users constantly change their mind over the features they want from software or websites that are being built. (It’s almost like they don’t know what they want until they see it!)

The waterfall model doesn’t help you build something you’ve never built before, for people who don’t know what they want until they see it.

So the smart software engineers came up with a different way of working… called “Agile Methodologies”.

Instead of spending 6 months gathering requirements, 6 months to design the solution, and 12 months to build the solution (the classic waterfall method), software engineers have short cycles where they get the most important requirements, design and build a prototype, get people to use the prototype, learn from feedback, and start a new cycle where they “iterate” the initial prototype.

Cycles can last a matter of weeks, and this agile method helps software engineers build what the users actually want, rather than what they thought the users wanted.

Sound familiar?

(drum roll)

Enter “Agile Marketing”.

This is where you build something quickly to get feedback from your market, so that you can iterate your offering and get into a continuous cycle of improvement.

So that when you eventually “ship”, you have no surprises, and already know the market wants what you’re selling.

Or if it’s a dud, you’ve already taken the product round the back and given it a swift bullet… before you invested too much time and money into developing it.

“Fail fast” as they say.

I do like the phrase “agile marketing”, but I’m not a big fan of buzz words that mystify rather than demystify.

One of my favourite phrases is one I read in Seth Godins awesome little book “Meatball Sundae”.

In it he summed up all this agile methodologies and agile marketing in 3 small words:

LAUNCH AND LEARN

It’s become my mantra.

I’ve said before that the biggest benefit of AdWords is not that you buy traffic, but that you get to find out what your market actually wants, so that you can build it and sell it to them.



----------

Want to learn what the biggest benefit of AdWords is?

Read this post.
I just watched a YouTube video of how Neil Patel used the agile marketing method to create something for his clients, and it worked out well. Good stuff!
 
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Andy Black

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I used to have this line in my signature:

"Launch and Learn." (Seth Godin)


Until I came across Dan Norris' book "The 7 Day Startup". The tagline for his book is even more accurate:

"You don't learn until you launch." (Dan Norris)
 

Young-Gun

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Loving this series of posts, Andy. Amazing how much value they still provide almost 3 years after being written :)

To echo some other guys, I'm an AdWords "Intermediate-level" through my small business experience and experimentation.
It's clear you know what you're talking about.

Learning new Adwords tactics and secrets with each post I read! (to say nothing of the VERY welcome life-advice!)

But most of all, I'm starting to sense a "bigger picture" of life, business success, personal happiness, helping others etc that I don't quite grasp in its entirety - I don't have personal clarity on it yet - but can see connections starting to pop together more and more...
 

iam

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Thank you Andy!
What is also very useful with those cycles, is that you start with a barebone product and you add up to it.
So the basis of the product needs to be valuable enough for it to make it through the first cycles.
If not, I guess you start realizing very soon, that no matter what you add, it does not seem to take off ;)
 
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Andy Black

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Loving this series of posts, Andy. Amazing how much value they still provide almost 3 years after being written :)

To echo some other guys, I'm an AdWords "Intermediate-level" through my small business experience and experimentation.
It's clear you know what you're talking about.

Learning new Adwords tactics and secrets with each post I read! (to say nothing of the VERY welcome life-advice!)

But most of all, I'm starting to sense a "bigger picture" of life, business success, personal happiness, helping others etc that I don't quite grasp in its entirety - I don't have personal clarity on it yet - but can see connections starting to pop together more and more...
Glad the AdWords posts help @Young-Gun. Yeah... they should be evergreen, so I expect they’ll still add value in another 3 years.

Even better that other posts help in other ways!
 

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Andy Black

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Bump for all you folks who are taking too long before you engage the market.
 

sonny_1080

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Fear of 1) failure and 2) losing money .... is a bitch.


Edit: so is going to the same job everyday with no hope of having something that you own and can rely on. It's a process, not an event. Embrace the suck. Fail fast and revise until profitable.

Thanks Andy!!
 

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