A phenomenon of our culture is the miracle cure that is the band-aid (the universal recognition of the Band-Aid brand itself is a quite impressive phenomenon, but that’s off-point). You know what I’m talking about, right? It doesn’t matter if the malady is a scratch, a bruise, or a bump on the head, a band-aid will probably cure it…if you’re under the age of 10. Then we get smart and grow out of that delusion…right?
I’m not so sure.
I don’t think the need for a psychological quick fix ever leaves us, it just manifests itself in other ways. We’re all guilty from time to time of looking for a quick fix to a problem that’s either to complicated or too time consuming to really resolve the right way. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We’re human.
Sometimes being human can lead you to make dumb decisions. Sometimes to be a good marketer you need to be better than just human.
Scenario: You are a marketer (naturally). You are running a series of web ads promoting a new product. After a week you’re only at 30% of your expected conversion rate. What do you do?
- Immediately replace all the ads with a different one
- Evaluate where your traffic was coming from and where the ads were not being as successful, look for opportunities to change placement, and introduce another version to A/B test, then monitor closely & adjust as necessary
- Conclude no one wants your new product and discontinue it (and fire anyone involved in its inception)
- Decide web ads don’t work, defund it as a channel in your marketing mix and go buy a prospect list to spam instead
If you picked 1: I’m disappointed in you but not surprised. You need to learn to balance decisiveness and patience, grasshopper. Many people don’t do this because they simply don’t have the time. It’s faster to just make a switch and see if it works. I get it. We’re all busy, but taking the time to do it right will usually return better results than doing it quickly.
If you picked 2: You get a gold star (or a cookie…I’d prefer a cookie). Take the time to diagnose the problem, let the data tell the story and guide your decision, approach the solution strategically, and then you set yourself up to be agile and adjust for success.
If you picked 3: You have no business being a marketer. Maybe look for a job in rough construction, or audition for The Apprentice (is that show still on?)
If you picked 4: You’re worse than the 3-selectors. They’re obviously nuts, but you’re just sane enough that in the minds of many (who don’t think about it too hard) this is a reasonable option. I’d call this putting a band-aid on a nosebleed. Most people will realize it’s not quite right but if you put it on tight enough it will stop the blood from pouring out…at least for a little bit.
My point: if you believe that what you’re doing matters, do the right thing, not the fast thing. Don’t have time? Do fewer things better than a lot of things half-assed. And if what you’re doing doesn’t matter enough to do it right, then don’t do it at all (and I suggest rethinking what the hell you’re doing).