Submitted for your approval, from the Marketing Zone
Behold a distributor with a product. This is a very special product and there are only five distributors for it. Each distributor addresses a different market so they don’t compete with each other and their individual sales numbers are available for the asking.
This lack of competition and marketshare was done on purpose, with intent, part of a quest for knowledge that far surpasses time and space as we know it.
Likewise, the company producing this product packages the product in a very specific way, a way it’s known about and used since before man was man, a way that, like the building of the pyramids, seems more like magic than science applied.
And the distributors’ numbers are good. Each distributor’s volume is 90% for every month, for every quarter, for every year. It’s better than clockwork. In fact, it is clockwork because this product’s performance is as regular as the ticks of the seconds-hand on an atomic clock.
And then one day, without consulting the company that produces the product, one distributor decides to change the packaging and modify the display.
And the numbers drop by better than 20%. Just this one distributor’s. Nobody else’s. And just for one month.
But it was the last month in this one marketspace because this distributor didn’t look at any other data, didn’t contact any of the other distributors to see if their numbers failed, didn’t contact the company to ask if there were changes in the product this distributor was unaware of.
Instead, this one distributor discontinued the product.
Sad but True. Rod Serling didn’t write this
I wish the above were more fiction than fact. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty good summation of real world events. I’m seeing more and more companies spending lots of money on various analytics then completely ignoring the data, only looking at data they want to look at, or making decisions based on emotion or ego that will obviously hurt them, yet still going right ahead with the bad decisions. In the case above (one of the real world events), ego got in the way of good decision making.
Part of this comes from too much data coming too fast. People seem to be losing the ability to recognize what’s relevant or to appreciate that a single data point does not a compelling story make. “When doing analytics, people often tend to focus on the obvious and forget about the ecosystem,” according to Quebec City based web analytics expert and WASP creator Stephane Hamel.
One person, knowing that comparative monthly numbers were readily available, offered, “Available and urgent or worth looking at are not the same thing. ‘That’s over there and has nothing to do with me or my situation’ is the rule.” That was the best summation out of all the people I talked with to research this post. And the sentiment was prevalent everywhere.
Data Defended Marketing, Anyone?
Let’s step back from the Twilight Zone for a moment while keeping that key of imagination.
Imagine having data to back up your marketing decisions when you make them, data to defend your creative when you present your layouts at a client meeting. Imagine driving with your eyes looking down the road instead of fixed on your rearview mirror.
Maybe we’d see that signpost up ahead.
Heck, maybe we’d be able to put the signpost where we want it and inscribe a message so well crafted that travelers go exactly where we want them…
And finally, because it’s so good…
I found the following while putting this post together. I suggest you listen to it all although the first fifty seconds says it all (as far as I’m concerned) when it comes to good marketing.
Please contact NextStage for information regarding presentations and trainings on this and other topics.
Sign up for The NextStage Irregular, our very irregular, definitely frequency-wise and probably topic-wise newsletter.