It’s a disease. One that proliferates the minds of even the most practiced and experienced marketers. Equivocating actions to results, even though upon reflection or examination, it is clear that the action does not match the outcome; a non-sequitor. A false correlation is the assumption that one set of actions will result in a desired change, even though it is directly related.
cor·re·la·tion[kawr-uh-ley-shuhn, kor-] noun
1. mutual relation of two or more things
2. Statistics. the degree to which two or more attributes or measurements on the same group of elements show a tendency to vary together.
Or, to put it another way, even marketers tend to believe that more people (visitors, members, followers, etc) are the answer to whatever problem they are facing (revenue, engagement, success). When in fact, it is not numbers they are seeking, but the outcome. Simply adding numbers to a problem only provides a bigger dataset with which to find the fault in the reasoning.
Why do we believe that simply adding more people will produce the results we want? More visits (visitors, followers) is a single metric. Is there data to support the conclusion that revenue will follow that single course of action?
The question is: Are there other metrics that have a more direct influence on revenue?
Here is an example of my question. This is from a group of marketers on LinkedIn; however, I have seen this message in countless emails and posts from business owners, marketing managers and concerned C-suiters.
Subject: Are your friends and coworkers part of ***** Marketers?
Hello, I wanted to introduce myself, my name is ******* , and I am taking over the role as the community manager for this fantastic group we have here on LinkedIn. We currently have over 1,200 members, but I would love to grow the engagement and participation within our group.
You can click “Share Group” on the very right in the navigation panel to invite people from your network and encourage them to invite their contacts as well.
Challenge for all: Can we get to 3000 members by November?
Given this statement, goals are to:
- Grow the engagement
- Grow the participation
…and primary stated action to accomplish the goals is: increase membership by 250%
As marketers, we of all people should understand the concept that more visitors do not directly translate to more success. There are many factors that create our desired outcomes and goals, and all require careful examination of the data to uncover assumptions and realities. There are multiple segments within the numbers that have a higher influence over revenues and engagement, yet ignoring those segments and focusing on growing numbers will result in the same problems as before, only with more people.