Listening to a webinar hosted by David Bland and Alex Osterwalder on the topic of testing business ideas they discussed the relative value of the idea and evidence that a business model will build a successful company. Too often the focus is placed on the idea rather than evidence that the product or service – or the business itself – will be profitable. It is the same for public relations and marketing – too often the focus is on the tactical activity rather than evidence it is delivering the desired commercially-valuable outcome.
If startups and small businesses, or more established organizations for that matter, asked for tangible evidence that their efforts would deliver a commercially-valuable outcome they may not be as willing to part with the expensive retainer fees demanded by traditional agencies. Alternately, if agencies could demonstrate the logic behind their advice and recommendations they might find customers satisfied with their investments and willing to see PR practitioners are trusted business advisors.
It’s the reason why Lean Communications Framework Canvases have been developed with an assumption-testing engine at their heart
But evidence shouldn’t only be used as a way to quantify the ultimate value of a strategies – it should also be used to build and validate them incrementally. Each step of the strategy should be developed as a hypothesis, tested through experimentation and iterated based on hard evidence so that progress towards a desired business outcome can be tracked.
Using evidence to demonstrate both progress and business impact requires an entirely new metric stack to be developed. More about that in future posts.