The Right Cure

You would never dream of going to the emergency room and telling the staff to remove your appendix. I mean, there are a lot of organs nearby and it could be diverticulitis or even a stone in your urinary tract. Probably not a good idea to show up demand that they start cutting. Instead, you’d go in and explain what your symptoms were and let the experts do the diagnosis. In order to get to a cure you first have to accurately identify the problem.

Bilateral kidney stones on abdominal X-ray. No...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’re thinking that’s an absurd example – who would do that? – but the odds are you have seen something very similar in your business life. Sales are a little slow and the boss comes in and announces that the ads stink – change them.  Sure, changing the creative or maybe even the media plan will have an effect – it will be a cure of sorts – but is it the right one?  That’s where data comes in.  The media plan may be delivering the planned impressions, the resulting traffic to whatever landing page you’ve designated might be fine – but conversions are low.  Analytics can tell you if it’s a landing page issue (bounce rates!) or a funnel issue (where aer they dropping out?).  The cure for those things – redesign or maybe some remarketing – isn’t to change the ads.

Some of us spend way too much time implementing the wrong cure.  We should be spending time looking at the symptoms and figuring out all the possible “diseases” they can indicate before we start demanding that someone removes a perfectly healthy appendix.  It’s not always easy when the one demanding is a higher-up but if they’re any good at what they do they’ll welcome someone who points out that there are many other potential issues the perceived problem can be.  While it’s not really a good idea to point out that you are more expert than the boss in your particular area (they should know that and think it’s a good thing!) part of your job is to protect whomever is driving the team forward from sending it off a cliff.

Cutting out an appendix isn’t a cure for kidney stones.  Changing a media plan isn’t a cure for a crappy website.  We need to find the right cure, not just any cure.  You agree?

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