Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - When Plan B is Better than Plan A

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When we launched our company, New Media Campaigns, we were determined on only servicing the political niche. That's where we saw the growth of most future online activity and it's what got our team really excited to innovate.

Minor detail...we launched in May 2006 - the very end of the buying cycle of the 2006 election cycle! We were able to sign up about a dozen clients rather quickly, but it became quickly apparent that we could not build a longterm sustainable company just on our political sales.

Luckily, we had flexible technology, so our Plan B was not hard to implement or sell. We started marketing our software to non-profits and corporations as well, and now those two niches represent around 60% of our client base and political only 40%.

By quickly recognizing that we needed to shift to plan B and by having built flexible technology with talented programmers on staff, we were able to turn our Plan B into a company that's now existed for over 2.5 years and launched 150 websites.

@Stephen - I wonder if that is also true of customers. Do *they* really know what they want and need? You inspired me think about that. Are we in conversations with them to help them uncover that? Should we be? I recall a discussion I had with the them marketing guy at TBWA\Chiat\Day in NYC. He said that as customers we do not really know what we want until we see it sometimes (or often). At work I call that the "white paper" syndrome. People need something to shoot at. With regards to life as a journey and our being afraid of success, yes more times than we're willing to confirm.

@Tim - the thought that the ideas at the edge go into forming plan B intrigues me. That was my initial inspiration for this post. Missed a train, met a person who became really important to me. Or the chance event that changes your life. Indeed, plan B is a way to say - I'm looking at this from another angle.

@Katybeth - what a great story! Also, in school often repeating the lesson is rewarded more than thinking different or lateral thinking.

@PRJack - I am thinking that with a progressive customer you might have a conversation plan that is more flexible. I do see where you're coming from on the media/PR angle, I wrestle with that same predicament in one part of the work I do. In ag, when I was working there, we had a plan B depending on seasonality. Dry weather, more bugs, wet weather, more fungi and plant diseases. Maybe we became linear with the industrial age. Just thinking that when we were more connected to nature, we were more nonlinear in our response to it. Then we strove to drive uncertainty out with more control. Know your destination, adjust as necessary your journey. I'm with you on that philosophy.

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