They say life is a game of inches. Marketing sometimes feels like a game of degrees.

While doing some client work, I couldn’t help but visualize safecracking. It didn’t help that crime TV was on in the background. You know when the bank robber has their ear to the safe, slowly twisting the dial and listening for the clicks?

That’s how I felt today while starting an A/B test on an opt-in form on my client’s homepage. The only thing I did differently on the variable I’m testing was remove unnecessary form fields. I wanted to understand if there was too much friction to click submit.

Of course, I want to test several things. Unfortunately, you can’t tell what affect you’re having unless you isolate the changes. If you do too much at once, it becomes harder to decipher your impact. Lots of marketing teams are often under pressure to crank out results by stressed out founding teams needing to raise money. Therefore, it can be helpful to remind them that it’s a game of inches.

Move quickly and break things, but make sure you can measure what works. In many ways, marketing is like turning the dial listening for the clicks. With one exception, there are multiple safes in various sizes in the room. I love that even with this metaphor, you can picture independent containers where you can measure the progress towards opening them while also estimating the ROI.

At times, you’ll need to hire other types of safecracking talent to apply different techniques to wedge open the doors. However, it still boils down to inches and degrees. There are big swings but within those swings are the micro adjustments that need to be made to get the most out of your efforts.