Marketing can be ever so humbling.
I distinctly remember this coming up in one of my interviews for my first-ever marketing job, at National Geographic. I was so happy to even have the chance to interview, and I wasn't from a marketing background at the time, and I was trying to just take it all in and not mess anything up. One of the higher-ups that I interviewed with said that it could be very humbling to see what worked and what didn't work in direct mail. I remember listening, nodding earnestly. I didn't fully understand it (I barely understood what direct mail was, at that point), but I was happy to accept it as true, and tuck it under my hat.
Boy how I've thought of that comment in the years since. So often campaigns don't work the way you might expect them to. What's intuitive is not always a win. What seemed cute or clever often backfires. Unlike other areas of my life, I learned not to trust my gut instinct right off the bat, but to sit with new creative, collate feedback, and look again.
Of course as time went on, my intuition became sharper. I learned the business more, I moved up the ranks, and I gained years of experience working with the brands and audiences I marketed to. Of course, experience certainly doesn't mean we all can't be surprised. For me, being successful at marketing means understanding conventional marketing wisdom, while keeping up with rapid changes in the marketing landscape. This means knowing why you're doing what you're doing, but also pausing at regular intervals to question it, to see if it's actually still working. It means respecting the power of metrics and data, and the stories they tell: it means testing and trying new things.
Adapt, or get left behind.
I'm thinking of all of this while digesting this article from HubSpot, addressing a question they pose that we've all surely pondered: Should you create more content of a lower quality or less content of a higher quality?