I was attending a meeting recently where web-metrics were being presented. When the topic came around to the company’s corporate blogs, the presenter spoke enthusiastically about the thousands of unique visitors who had read our blogs.
Curiously, she didn’t mention the blog-subscription numbers. So, with the same level of enthusiasm that she described the thousands of hits, I explained that our RSS subscription-rates were steadily rising and that one of our bloggers had just broken into triple digits. The silence in the room was deafening. It was clear that my triple digits were being pooh-poohed compared with the quadruple digits that the marketing manager presented.
Marketing folks have a paradoxical view of numbers. On one hand, they love really large numbers. If you say, “We got a million new unique hits on our corporate website yesterday,” the news will be greeted with enthusiasm. Marketing folks also love small numbers. If you say that “We had a 6% hit-rate on our latest advertising campaign,” you’ll receive enough back-slapping to collapse a lung.
The paradox is a holdover from the Golden Age of Mass Media, where corporations shot messages pell-mell through mass media outlets to see what sticks. Because the response rate for these mass communications is so dismal, marketeers were forced to play “Probability Marketing,” where large numbers were required on the front end of a campaign in order for a small number of conversions to precipitate out the back-end.
I attempted to explain why my triple-digit “subscription” numbers trumped the quadruple-digit “hits” numbers. “Think about it this way,” I said. “The people who take the time to subscribe are so fascinated with our bloggers opinions on these super-niche topics, that they demand notification whenever we write something new!”
Now that’s influence — the currency of New Media.
Successful New Media isn’t about “Probability Marketing.” It’s about a unique group of people who are interested in your products and services. In these New Media Times, it is much more important to focus on a small number of engaged customers and prospects than to use the shotgun method and blast your message through all of the noise.