April 12, 2011

The Shipping News: Thoughts on Seth Godin’s Poke the Box – The difference between thinking and doing

Recently, we were contacted by The Domino Project, a project around publishing some of the greatest current thinkers out there:  Seth Godin, Derek Sivers, Steven Pressfield.  We didn’t take too long to consider whether we would participate, we were in.  The challenge was, in real Seth Godin fashion, the Domino project leaves it up to you to determine how you will…as Seth frames it in his new book, Poke the Box…initiate.So, we elected to take on spreading the word about Poke the Box at the IBM/Unica Marketing Innovation Summit.  And we knew a couple of things.

  1. It was important to try.  We might fail awfully in doing this and waste time and money.
  2. We would be pushing a string uphill trying to attract attention – There are a lot more Goliaths than our little firm trying to cut through the clutter.  People with a lot more money can outspend our perfect track record any day – without having as much client success.

So as Gimli says in Lord of the Rings:  “Certainty of death, *small* chance of success… What are we waiting for?”  And we were in.  I am not sure we counted upon being shaken awake at the same time.  Our CEO Ryan Kosanic has nicknamed me Corporate Initiator, a badge I wear proudly.  So, as we embark on initiating regularly, the executives decided to reflect on what we walked away from Poke the Box learning.  And more importantly – what we were going to do about it.

Poke The Box


It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.                      — Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President

Marketing success does not come without failure and the simple quote of Theodore Roosevelt is reflective of what Poke the Box is all about – Initiative.  As marketers we must not let ourselves be victims or creatures of habit in our approach to learn from and engage with customers.  Let’s all face it; the customer is in control and changing the game faster than most companies think they can respond.  The simple reality is that companies can respond to their customer’s today by trying something new.    Companies must continue testing and trying repeatedly – treating each trial as a learning opportunity. – It’s what is necessary for organizations to succeed.  It’s about trying early and trying often. This simple act is necessary for organizations to succeed.

We are sharing what we’ve learned.  If you are going to #MIS2011 – The IBM Unica Conference for Marketers in Boston in May – please come by our booth and ask us.  We have copies of the book for people who let us know to save one for them.   You have to initiate a little, but look at it this way, it’s worth it.

To see more of Cristene’s thoughts about Customer Experience, Marketing Process, and other general musings, you can read them on her blog Muse and Maven.


Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz

#PoketheBox, #MIS2011, @covalent_mrktng, @hermione1