How "marginal gains" will help you win in business

Last month, on the final day of the Olympic track cycling competition, Team GB Performance Director Dave Brailsford explained the "marginal gains" strategy that had proven to be the secret to Team GB's success.

He said, "The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together." (BBC News)

He explained one of the first things he taught the team was how to wash their hands. They were all instructed to spend an extra 5 seconds washing their hands every time they did this, and he estimated that those 5 seconds per hand-wash, over the course of 4 years, gave them an extra 5 days of training by reducing infections. Those 5 extra days of training might have given the team a gain of a few microseconds on the track. And at Olympic level, those microseconds can make all the difference.

I couldn't help but think of the parallels of this in marketing.
People often come to me expecting me to say "Here's the ONE THING you're doing wrong! If you change this then all your marketing problems will be sorted." But it's never like that in reality.
Success in business is, more often than not, less about monumental changes and more about the summation of lots of small adjustments across the whole business (not just in marketing), which together add up to a big improvement.
And in some ways that can feel a bit unsatisfying because all these small tweaks take time to change and the effect isn't usually a sudden, dramatic influx of sales. However, once these tweaks are made, you can be confident that your marketing machine will run much more efficiently and effectively for the long-term.
If this is something you want to do in your business, book a call with me and we'll talk.

Ros Conkie


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