What's the "Toothpick Rule" for Marketing? - Carney
The Daily Carnage

What’s the “Toothpick Rule” for Marketing?

The “toothpick rule” was born thanks to politics. To cut down on bribing, meals were banned for lobbying discussions. An exception was made for “food that you have to eat standing up using a toothpick.”

So now, officials have to be primed with finger foods and more convincing conversation than a prime rib and rare vintage. The goal was to reduce lobbyist influence on politicians. Did it get the job done? Not entirely. But it’s a step forward towards that larger goal.

So what does the toothpick rule have to do with marketing measurement? It’s about starting small. Let’s paint a little picture for you here…

The Problem: Fear of imperfection

Too many companies get lost in the sauce when it comes to developing a strategy or product or organizing their own data. They want everything to be perfect and they don’t move forward until it is.

On the road to perfection, their actual goal is lost.

The Solution: Focus on small improvements

To avoid getting analysis paralysis, seek progress, not perfection. Take smaller iterations towards the big picture. This is where it can pay off to be scrappy or take risks as well.

Is an imperfect step less attractive, less transformative, and less exciting? Yeah, but the truth is that large, sweeping fixes are hard to come by. It’s more productive to focus on what you can do each day to make your marketing practices slightly better. Then watch them add up.

Check out the full exerpt from Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers’ Hearts on Think with Google’s blog for example on small changes you can make in your marketing. This includes small tweaks to your personalization, surveys, spending.


Get the best dang marketing newsletter in your inbox on the daily. Subscribe »

Related Posts