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What’s Your Measure of Proof?

There was once a man who refused to give up smoking until it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that smoking caused disease.

He didn’t live long enough to see the proof.

Today, there are direct (digital, mobile, SAAS, subscription, e-commerce, club…) marketers who refuse to improve their marketing success with an insight-driven multi-channel strategy until the perfect attribution model has been developed.

Every day, another one is buried by a marketer with a more reasonable measure of proof.

Is overall marketing efficiency your ultimate measure? Is making one dollar of marketing spend return two or three or four times as many customers your objective?

If so, you are an optimizer.

If you prefer perfectly attributable though small gains in discrete channels, then you’re an incrementalist.

Optimizers eat incrementalists for lunch.

Sometimes, in very big places, incrementalists work in the middle of a pyramid with optimizers at the top. Even so, they can only swim so far up before they hit a ceiling. Too late, they find that the open market is not a very friendly place for an incrementalist.

Why do incrementalists do it to themselves? Is it because they are trading upside for certainty? Is being sure more valuable to them than being successful? Is being right worth more to them than results?

Or did they just swallow a less intelligent idea of what it is a marketer is supposed to do?

Well … enough musing about the incrementalists, much as I would like to convert as many of them as possible to a life of success beyond explanation.

We are for the optimizers.