howtoeatelephantProbably the joke I tell most often is, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The message behind the joke is to take the big parts of life and break them into bite size chunks.

I’m usually telling this joke to a person who is overwhelmed by some big task. It’s meant to bring a little levity to a challenging situation. But it’s also meant to be instructive.

As mundane as the advice is, it’s among the most important I give. And it’s not just advice I give, it’s advice I take. I, too, have to take life…one bite at time.

I’m partnering in a startup at the moment. The product development is at a stopping point. We have arrived at the marketing phase.

How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? One bite at a time. But it’s hard to know what the next bite is.

What’s the easiest way to solve a maze? Work it backwards. We have to start where we want to be and go backwards…until we can go forwards.

Our target market is independent MDs. We have some insider knowledge about the culture and workflow of the independent Doctor’s office. Plus, we know where we are.

Those are our two data points. Now to draw a line. What is the closest distance between where we are and where they are?

What is it they need to see…to hear in order to change what they do? When we answer that question, then we’ll know what we need to build, what we need to present. And then the experiments start.

For each failed experiment we run, we change at least one variable…the variable they were least positively responsive to. For each successful experiment we run, we repeat it. Over time, we find the most successful approach.

When we’ve found the most successful approach, we reproduce it…in a big way by going after Doctors virtually. But the data collection doesn’t stop there. Now that we’re working with a bigger sample, the data we collect is even more meaningful.

That’s just the first few marketing “bites.” That isn’t the entire elephant. But that’s OK, we’ll keep moving forward…one bite at a time.

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