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On learning how to experiment

This blog was posted by Laura Fraine on November 17, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

Is it the nature of blog posts that they always seem to start with a confession? Maybe just mine.

It has been hard to carve out time in the usual work schedule for working on my experiment. My main worry – the thing that’s keeping me awake at night – is that there was more I could have done to improve my results. The project is based around Facebook content and in some ways I am starting to conclude that it is just as much about the volume as the quality of the content.

But then, there is always more that could be done, and the results of the experiment should surely inform our normal working practice, not what you could do if you had five more hours in the day, an extra member of staff and a role entirely devoted to digital media.

Like many others, my role within my organisation is wide-ranging covering all press, PR, marketing, newsletters and so on – digital and social media is just one aspect of it.

But the brilliant thing about the DMA, is the way that some of the ideas discussed and things I have learned have actually begun to inform my wider work, and move beyond social media too. The results of my particular experiment form only a small part of what I am taking away from this experience.

The big project currently looming in my life is the development of a new website for our organisation, which won’t just change the way that we look online, it will also change the way we interact with our audience. We are beginning to draw up a brief, and my learning from the DMA is significantly informing the process – from starting out ‘scrappy’ with Agile to a better understanding of Google Analytics to see how users navigate our current site. Remember Trello, which was mentioned in one of our first sessions? We regularly use that as a planning tool now.

The experimental approach was also pretty new to me. My previous approach was just to get things right the first time! If only life were so simple. Now it is incredibly liberating to identify areas – albeit often small ones – where I can think ‘it doesn’t really matter if this works or not, this is an experiment’.

The whole point of experimentation is that it’s not the results themselves, but what we learn from them that counts. The DMA Fellowship is almost over, but I feel like the learning has just begun.

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