Yesterday on his Kitchen Table Companies chat, Chris Brogan asked:

“Should you have a formula for creating marketing programs?”

The answer should be relatively evident to anyone who’s ever tried to cook something: it depends.

beef wellington revealed!

If you’re cooking a dish for the first time, following a formula, following a recipe, is probably a good idea. After all, if someone says, make me a Beef Wellington and you have only a vague idea of what Beef Wellington is, the outcome is probably not going to be what your diner is expecting. So the first time, you follow the recipe religiously. You render the Duxelles, you braise and wrap the beef in the puff pastry, and you make the peppercorn sauce. The first few times you make the dish, you screw it up a lot. The beef gets too tough or the pastry gets soggy, but eventually you get the hang of it.

After a number of tries, you need the recipe less and less. You don’t need to remember what ingredients go in the Duxelles. You don’t need to remember how to render peppercorn sauce. You just do it.

After many, many tries, you can do it from memory entirely, and you even start to improvise on the dish. Maybe you add curry or garlic to it, maybe you try brining the beef or using a different cut than filet. Now not only are you not using the recipe, you’re slowly deriving a new twist on the recipe, a recipe that is different than you’ll find in most cookbooks or online. If people love it enough and ask for it enough, you may even publish your own take as a recipe of its own, and then someone else will take up your Beef Wellington recipe, starting the cycle over agian.

Should you have a recipe for creating marketing programs? It depends on how talented and experienced you are at creating marketing programs. Like the chef, you’ll want that recipe for the first bunch of times until you’re proficient at it. As you gain more and more experience, you’ll use the recipe less and less and begin adapting it more and more, until someday you publish your own marketing recipes.

Bon appetit!

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