“Experimental” – Deadly or Essential? Try This …

June 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm 1 comment

My friend Hal is an “experimental aviator.” Hal is perfectly sane and is quite successful in business and aviation. Many people would call him a “lunatic with a death wish.” Why would an otherwise intelligent person experiment at altitude? Of course, two experimental aviators became historical icons: Orville and Wilbur. Right? They changed the world.

But when a marketing manager takes the terms “experimental marketing” to the C Suites, he or she will more than likely retreat to the cubicle with tailrudder smoking. Are aviators just more brave and daring? Does time spent at 30,000 feet give pilots an exceptional success rate? Or are marketers just too focused on “experimental” mistakes like the infamous Snapple Popsicle Melting mess? (Many have termed that a marketing masterpiece, by the way.)

Countless “experimental aviation” clubs exist worldwide, and they’ve helped deliver numerous breakthroughs in flight science. But marketers who call themselves “experimental” are often criticized for taking unnecessary and expensive risks with the brand.

Go ahead. Become an Experimental Aviator in your office.

Go ahead. Become an Experimental Aviator in your office.

Try This …
Take a tip from Hal, and experiment – with both aviation and your brand. First, find this book:

    The Great International Paper Airplane Book

(by Jerry Mander, George Dippel and Howard Gossage). Everyone has folded scraps into a paper airplane at least once. And with this book, you will craft paper into part origami art and part supersonic jet. Along the way, you’ll follow seemingly crazy directions of cutting, folding and gluing that you’ll never believe will actually fly. But do it, follow along with the experiment. And when done right (and maybe practiced a few times) you’ll have created incredible flying machines.

This is a great tool for a team-building exercise or pre-brainstorming session. Unless you’re an engineer, this book will stretch your imagination, your creativity and you’re ideas of experimentation.

Of course, incredible experiments are taking place everyday in marketing. Look at all the social media tools available – many of which will fail to gain altitude. But if you are willing to experiment, you may very well board one that flies like none before.

Now when you think about experimental marketing, you can recall The Great International Paper Airplane Book, along with the success of Orville and Wilbur. Right?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Shannon Nicholson  |  June 12, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Brilliant! It pays to experiment, especially in social media. I don’t think anyone currently has all the “answers” for that strategy yet.



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