The Numbers Game
Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Have you ever noticed that we bring our successes, losses, achievements, health, experience and everything else, down to numbers? What age are you? How many calories did you consume? How many kilometers did you run? How many countries have you visited? How many followers do you have? How many children do I have? And so it goes on.
When it comes to business, almost everything comes down to the bottom line. Even in marketing, we have to revert to the hard stats. While this is absolutely necessary to run a successful business, more and more marketers are accountable to the finance department (who always see marketing as a cost). They may wonder what is the ROI of that Valentine's Day campaign and why is it not bringing expected revenue right away. Is it important to measure campaigns? Yes. Is it important to know the ROI? Yes. Are the results in the numbers? No.
Ok, just hear me out; as human beings we think we operate logically, weighing up the costs of our purchases, rationalising our decision to spend an extra €3,000 on leather seats in a four wheel drive for that one time that we might go off-roading. You see, if we were to sit down with a pen to paper and crunch the numbers, you would find that our decisions don’t often make logical sense. When it comes to marketing and analysing results, the data only tells us what people are doing but not why people are doing it. Often, we don’t know why we are making daily decisions, we just simply do. The thing to understand here is that results generally don’t happen right away, at least not when it comes to building brand loyalty and lifetime value. (The low margin, high sales on Instagram & Facebook are different to what we’re talking about here)
When looking at the numbers, be they good, bad or indifferent, there is a bigger picture we need to look at. Take this equation; 7 X 1 = 7 and 1 X 7 = 7 it’s simple maths right? Maybe, but not when it comes to people and their decision to buy your product or service; 7(people) X 1 is worth more than 1(person) X 7. Why? The potential return from seven people purchasing is far greater than that of one person purchasing seven times. For example, if seven people buy your product once, tell one friend each, then the opportunity increases seven fold in that one purchase, whereas if one person buys your product once and tells one person then the opportunity only increases by one. Similarly, the success of a new song is measured by the number of downloads, streams, video views etc., which are representative of level of intent, but do we know how many people actually bopped along to that song, what emotions it brought about to reach out to a friend
And what value do we place on that?
I realise these are big and ambiguous questions but isn’t that what we want to achieve? Big impact?
So, while numbers are very important, they are not always the only unit of measurement. Are they representative? Yes, but if we only look at numbers we are missing opportunities.
Anyhoo, that’s my two cents for today!