So this is how the traditional version of the tale proceeds
A vain Emperor who cares about nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two weavers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is either unfit for his position or “hopelessly stupid”. The Emperor’s ministers cannot see the clothes themselves but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions, and the Emperor does the same. Finally, the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him, and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretence, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then, a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretence, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all, and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true but continues the procession.
For a couple or three years now I’ve used this children’s story as a yardstick to measure any so called ‘modern marketing methods’ that are thrown my way.
Most times it serves to remind me that there really isn’t anything new under the sun - of course, there will always be new methods of performing our marketing tasks - but in the final analysis, people buy from people, and no amount of smoke and mirrors can disguise that fact.
For example, how do modern marketers measure their success? in my opinion, for what it’s worth the primary currency of evaluation seems to be the number of times an ad, a piece of content or a comment has been ‘seen’ in the feed by someone - Doesn’t that kind of equate to the old-fashioned circulation figures once bandied about by newspaper sales executives to ‘show’ how many people ‘could’ be looking at your adverts?
Frankly, I have no interest in how many views, shares or likes something is getting - I tend to ask a few rather old-fashioned questions instead, and normally I get a bemused look in return. The sort of things I am interested in may be considered dull, old fashioned or mundane - but where’s the harm in asking ‘how many enquiries?’ ‘how many emails did we get?’ ‘did the phone ring?’ and last but not least ‘where’s the cheque?’.
How do marketers measure marketing success these days?
Well, it seems 85% think the “key metric” – pretentious phrase – is increased traffic. You might conclude you should judge success that way too. If so you would be making a huge mistake. You could call it “the lazy man’s way to go broke”.
Knowing how many people looked at, read or even replied to a message is a very poor guide to whether it will make money. This applies to ALL media - direct mail, advertising, email - everything. I’m not saying it’s totally useless. An increase in traffic gives you a better guide to likely sales than nothing. In the same way, how many people open an e-mail is a better guide to likely sales than nothing. But often the quality of those who open or click-through has nothing to do with the actual value of each of those responses. Very often their quality is lousy, and fewer click-throughs of better quality will get you more sales.