To grossly oversimplify some sports I barely understand, in archery, the closer you get to the bullseye, the better.
It’s logical and straightforward.
But in darts, the best points are laid out between lower ones.
Rory Sutherland, in Alchemy, explains how this applies to marketing:
“Most darts players aim for the treble 20, because that's what the professionals do. However, for all but the best darts players this is a mistake: if you are not very good, your best approach is not to aim at treble 20 at all, but instead to aim at the south-west quadrant of the board, towards treble 19 and 16. You won’t get 180 that way, but nor will you score 3. It is a common mistake in darts to assume that you should simply aim for the highest possible score — you should also consider the consequences if you miss.
Many real-life decisions have a scoring rubric that is more like darts than archery.”
Marketing is more like darts than archery:
It’s not about just doing something and hoping for the best.
Sometimes, aiming for the wrong place, at the wrong time, is worse than doing nothing at all—because it costs us money it won’t return.
In your own marketing: Are you aiming for the 20, or are you aiming somewhere safer?
And what will happen if you miss?