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The spendthrift and the swallow, application to today’s business strategy

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Aesop wrote about a man known to be a spendthrift. Apparently this man had been quite wealthy before wasting his fortune on things that did not matter. One day this gentleman saw a swallow perched on a branch. He immediately assumed that spring has arrived so he sold his coat.

The next day the weather returned to the winter cold which killed the swallow. The man, now shivering, saw the swallow lying dead on the ground.

"Thanks to you I am freezing," exclaimed the spendthrift.

When testing new concepts are products businesses often make the same mistake as the spendthrift. A test of a single store will not produce reliable results.

Look at it this way, suppose a spaceship exploring planet Earth landed in the playground of an elementary school. They would report back to his mother planet that earthlings were approximately 3 foot tall. If a second spaceship was sent and it landed on the court of the professional basketball team they would report back that earthlings were almost 7 feet tall. Neither of these reports taken separately would produce any valuable information. Nor would the two reports create anything by confusion.

Whether a new store layout or new product rollout, test marketing requires a cross sampling of demographics in order to make an informed decision to proceed in the future.

Adapted from Aesop’s fables for the contemporary business world by Max Impact and used by permission. To read more 21st Century Business Fables, click here.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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