Like it or not, luck plays a decisive role in everything you do. Yes, your skills do determine success, but skills alone won’t get you there. In fact, a lot of things you do in finance (like investing) depend on factors other than skill. Another crucial activity where success is a combination of skill and luck is marketing, and today’s post takes you through four steps you can use to make luck work in your favor.
But first, let’s make one thing abundantly clear: life is luck. That’s a fact nobody can change and only something we can plan around. You may have been prospecting and closing deals for years, and marketing’s probably second-nature to you right now. And still, chance exerts a strong influence on how things are going to turn out. You don’t know exactly what your prospects are going to do, and you don’t know what your competitors are up to. Even if you do, you can’t possibly anticipate every opportunity or risk that your marketing campaigns face. That’s why success = skills + luck.
That means, to get your desired results and to reduce unfavorable outcomes, you also need to work on the aspect of success beyond your skills. Here’s how to get started down that path:
1. Find out how much luck is involved.
You now know that marketing results depend on some combination of skill and luck. The next question to ask is how much is due to skill and how much is due to luck. This has to be determined for each individual activity in your marketing campaign (e.g., telemarketing, email marketing, social media marketing, etc.) since every activity has its unique skill-luck combination. In his book The Success Equation, Michael Mauboussin answers this question by proposing a simple test: if you can fail on purpose, then that activity depends more on skill. If you’re having a hard time trying to clearly understand the causes and effects in an activity, it’s most probably something where luck plays a greater role in.
2. Prioritize what you can control.
Let’s say your analysis from #1 indicates that, for your marketing campaigns, telemarketing depends on luck to a lesser extent than your social media activities. For a risk-averse strategy, telemarketing would be a better bet since it’s something you know you have more control over. If, on the other hand, you’ve determined that social media is more predictable, then it’s an option you should prioritize since the risk would be minimal. The main idea here is that marketing resources should be focused on activities you actually have greater influence over.
What about activities not meeting this criterion? This brings us to the next point.
3. Take the chance to diversify.
Prioritizing activities you can control doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring the less-predictable ones. Focusing on things that are least dependent on chance only minimizes risk of unwanted outcomes. To reduce this even further, you have to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket — in short, to diversify your marketing portfolio. Aside from the clear benefits of multichannel marketing, this approach also lets you spread the risk across many connected activities so that, when things don’t go your way, the consequences will be more manageable.
4. Learn to be lucky.
Although the idea that you make your own break is really just a myth, there’s actually some scientific proof that says you can improve your perception of being lucky. The secret is to have a positive attitude. You’d have better chances at good luck when you always try to:
At the end of the day, it’s going to be your mindset that defines good or bad luck.
So let me end this post by going back to our little equation above: success = skills + luck. From this, it’s plain to see what you need for greater success. Strive to be better at what you’re doing and don’t forget to embrace uncertainty.
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