Today I want to talk about avoiding ego stats.
For all the time I’ve been in marketing there are people justifying their career, justifying their job, their salary, and they’re doing it by telling leadership what they believe leadership want to hear;
“Oh the numbers are up”
“Oh this is really good”
“Conversion rates strong”
“We’re looking really good for this”
The end result never seems to bear out, very rarely do I recall the result being as positive as the PR, the marketing or the SEO person had led us to believe.
The reason for that is we will tell ourselves stories, of course, to protect ourselves and to position ourselves in the world, in the business. So ultimately our heart rules our head.
In previous blogs, I’ve talked about the art of heart and the need for our hearts and intuition to lead the way, but when it comes to statistics the problem with numbers and statistics is if you’re going to be statistical, you can’t be egotistical.
You have to be black and white and true to the numbers.
You have to be brave and accepting that sometimes the numbers are gonna make you look crap.
That a lot of the time in marketing is the reality because you’re testing things, you’re trying things, things aren’t working. But when the chips are down and you can’t afford to look crap, people revert to ego stats. They find ways to justify the campaign, the spend, the investment whatever it is.
Ultimately everything we do here at TepFu is about re-establishing the connection to intuition in marketing. It’s about relearning how to pay attention to gut feel. And a lot of the time the reason we don’t have that capacity is because we haven’t really spent time focused on building that muscle, the intuition muscle, the gut feel muscle. We’ve put our ego first and let that determine what stats we’re going to talk about, why they matter, how they’ve prove that we’re brilliant and that we’re geniuses.
And actually if you’re not able to tell a management leader or a client that you made a bad call or you’ve got you got it wrong or that your judgment was off or whatever it is, if you’re not able to do that, the problem you have is you’re probably weaving stories based on ego stats.
Now if you’re a business leader, you need to know that ego stats are often what you’re going to hear and what you’re going to be told.
You’re going to be fed a story that justifies the existence of someone else, and there’s no bearing on the profitability of your business. And of course as a business leader that’s really all you really care about.
So you have to be able to see through that.
For business leaders intuition and gut feel matters too.
When you’re being told statistics or results of a campaign, you have to pay attention to your intuition and call it out if you think it’s BS, you have to climb it down without shaming the person and say “Is that the real stat?” “Where did we screw up on that campaign?”
You have to probe for the failures, because marketing is of course more fail than win.
If marketing was more win than fail, then it would be easier.
And marketing is not easy and that’s the point.
So you have to lead by scooping up the employee or scooping up the agency and saying “look look look, I get what you’re telling me, I can see why having four hundred million impressions on that web page were good, but what’s the outcome? What have we actually sold as a result? Where’s it taking us? So what we’ve got 800,000 followers on Instagram, how much value are we creating out of that?”
Now value doesn’t necessarily mean sales of course, it could be people signing up for an email newsletter, whatever the outcomes are. But you’ve got to hold those outcomes pretty honestly up and and hold your team, staff, agency, you’ve got to hold them to account.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve realised is that people are gonna revert to story and to ego, and therefore ego stats are going to always surface.
It’s got to be the business leaders job to ultimately work out what’s really going on in the business.
So if you’re not in tune with your intuition and gut feel, then that’s an even bigger problem.
It’s one thing if your team and your agency aren’t, but if you’re not, then you’re gonna get the wool pulled over your eyes. And ultimately all of this points to the reason why so many people distrust marketing. You know it’s Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan, it’s good versus evil.
It’s not intentional, people don’t do it on purpose, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone seeking to defraud anyone on purpose, not on not at all on the contrary, I think it’s part of human nature.
That’s why it’s really important to build the other muscles around intuition and gut feel because just because the stats say that’s how people will react, doesn’t mean you should run the campaign.
Just because the stats tell you to use that hashtag because of a big disaster, doesn’t mean you should use that hashtag.
And it’s really important we get back to listening to your intuition before we completely mess up our brand on the basis of ego stats. It’s really really vital.