“It can’t hurt . . . “


I always grind my teeth a bit when someone suggests, “we might as well try it . . . it can’t hurt.”

You’ve heard it, too. In truth, at some point, probably each of us has suggested this route. But aren’t we better than this? Don’t we want our marketing efforts to be better than this?

On the face of it, this seems like a safe option. You’re trying to accomplish something and it’s time to try something new, something that will move the needle, increase sales, stop the freefall, or whatever. And the “it can’t hurt” option won’t make things worse (at least in theory).

But there are a couple of flaws with this. First, we really don’t know for sure if what we’re proposing won’t make it worse. It definitely could make things far worse.

Also, when we accept this premise, we are significantly lowering our expectations. No longer are we aiming for the stars, we’ll be happy just to keep things from getting worse.

But the absolutely worst aspect of the “it can’t hurt” mentality is that it screams “this isn’t our best effort.” Hells bells, is it even an effort? When we accept that our plans may not generate any additional results, any increase, or even stop a decline, why are we even trying?

Do you really have the time or resources to waste on efforts where the acceptable result is that “it can’t hurt?” Our efforts must always be the best they can be, our plans designed to succeed and not just keep things from getting worse, and we should have confidence that those plans will succeed.