If you fly regular routes, you’ll notice the same tail numbers around you. The same planes tend to fly the same routes, with changes mostly due to weather or maintenance.
What does it usually mean when a particular tail number shows up next to the plane you’re on? Nothing.
What does it usually mean when a particular visitor or cookie shows up on your website? Nothing.
So why are you obsessing about tracking every single click and sometimes considering using things like LFO cookies to follow visitors? The vast majority of the traffic to and from your website is nothing more than a giant tail number database, providing you with almost no insight about your customers.
The key is not tracking more tail numbers. It’s detecting two things: when a change occurs and when that change is significant.
What’s the best way to detect the change? Well, you could troll your millions of lines of data. Or you could ask some real customers.
Budget: Three Days to Re-key Data?
I just updated my Budget account profile, which only took a few moments. Now, according to this email, it’s going to take Budget up to another three days to update my profile with them. I have no idea what the further update entails.
I guess Budget is sending my update to somebody else to re-key into some other system. I wonder what offshore low-bid vendor is getting my data.
The funny thing is they took the time to automate the email to tell me about their manual process, but couldn’t be bothered to actually automate the process!
I can imagine the boiler room operation they’ve cobbled together with tin cans and string to manage the verification process. And we wonder why over a billion records were stolen last year? Unnecessary data transfer and unneeded data viewing is a big part of it.
Think your advertising copy is lousy? It could be worse. You could work for Mondelez.
I was standing in line at Walmart–hoping that nobody I knew would notice me there–when I looked up and saw this POP display right over the checkout line. I did a double take when I saw the line. Can you see it?
Huh? How is unwrapped gum “super useful?” I guess now you can use Trident gum to fix plumbing leaks or repair broken zippers. Silly me, I thought chewing gum’s main purpose was to help self-identify as an uncouth American tourist when traveling through Europe.
When I saw this misuse of valuable and expensive advertising space, I figured that the client never read this, the senior account executive never saw it or an even worse alternative happened–they all read this and thought it made sense.
We used to have copywriters on staff who were well-versed in the client’s products and integral to the advertising process. Now, my copywriter friends tell me that writing is relegated to the intern or palmed off on the low-cost bidder from an online crowdsourcing site. Paying peanuts and getting monkeys, as the old saying goes.
Maybe that’s what Modelez’s Project Sprout got them. Big savings, lots of monkeys and lousy copy.
Ever wonder how the McKinsey or Bain consultants your company hired can get the CEO to parrot their talking points in front of the all-hands meeting?
The answer, which Bob Hoffman brought to my attention today, is confirmation bias.
The initial fact-gathering and interview process over the first couple of weeks (billable, of course) of the engagement is to figure out not only what the executives believe about the business, but also what they believe the solution is.
When the deck comes back, the CEO thinks “Hmm, this looks a lot like my intuition, only with really clever charts that my own Powerpoint monkeys can’t create themselves. They must be right. On to phase two!”
Confirmation bias at work. We accept the things that match our belief system and filter out those that do not.
Great work if you can get it. Even better is that once the implementation of the plan is screwed up, you might be able to bill the next management team to confirm their biases.
How do we avoid confirmation bias? Make sure you don’t filter out ideas that don’t align with your belief. Hire a Devil’s Advocate (somebody like Chunka Mui or me) and task them with providing cogent arguments that challenge your beliefs.
Steve Jobs was famous for saying that our purpose was to put a dent in the universe. In small and big ways, we should always try to improve things.
On the other hand, how much time are you taking to enjoy things as they are? The universe will always be there for somebody to beat on. But we only have so much time to enjoy what we have.
Given the alternative between beating my head against the steel wall every day or watching the cardinals at my bird feeder while enjoying a cup of tea, I’ve decided the latter actually isn’t so bad sometimes.
Today’s eMarketer update caught my eye with this startling graph.
This tells me that understanding the customer–at least among the B2B marketers surveyed–isn’t in the top five areas of responsibility. Further, although recognized as a need, it’s going to take two full years to get there.
In a nutshell, this is why most B2B marketing is terrible and shouldn’t be characterized as such. In my experience, most B2B marketers with 10 years of experience have the same year, ten times. Sure, they do lots of marketing stuff and probably now do lots of social media stuff. (And have no idea why their “content marketing” doesn’t result in “conversations” about thermal control units, but I digress.)
The biggest sin that a B2B marketer can make is not knowing who the customer is. It’s a bigger sin than in the B2C world because with longer sales cycles and higher units of sale, small mistakes upfront can waste massive amounts of sales and sales engineering time. Plus, that doesn’t help with the historical levels of distrust between sales and marketing.
If you’re a B2B marketer and knowing the customer isn’t #1 on your agenda, fix it now.
I recommend this good article on how the concept of the blockchain (the root of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) works as a distributed database, improving trust and removing cost by eliminating the need for third parties.
I can imagine using this to lower cost and friction in online advertising, particularly in RTB–assuming the time lag problem can be fixed. Further, it eliminates the need for third parties that exist primarily to collect tolls. Many of the functions from entities like ICANN (domain names), Neustar (local number portability), RIAA/MPAA (media licensing) might no longer be needed, with the benefit of lower costs, better privacy and higher security.
I’ll be reading and thinking a lot more about the blockchain this coming year. How about you?