Don’t Believe the Hype

Hip hop pioneer Chuck D. once said, “Don’t believe the hype.” Since I was a youngster, I have always tried to live my life by these words of perspicacity. What exactly do I mean by “hype,” you ask? It is when a person gets caught up in the minutiae of a situation and they refuse to see the big picture.
These types of folks are normally very numbers driven. If they can’t measure the results numerically then, well, the efforts are completely wasted in their mind. For example, think of your doctor and the Body Mass Index scale.

The BMI scale is a formula physicians use to evaluate the shape of an individual’s body based on their height and weight. The problem is it only accounts for two variables: weight and height. I am 6 feet, 185 pounds and according to my doctor I am—you guessed it—fat. The scale is totally numbers focused, completely ignoring external factors such as bone size and muscle mass.

If I valued my doctors opinion—which clearly I don’t—and got down to 160 pounds I would not only look like Screech, but women would probably start to mistake me as one of their own.

The same kind of crude tool is used to measure success in the world of marketing. Over the course of my career, I have been involved in several successful marketing campaigns; however, not all of them, in the short term, could be measured in total sales. If a quick increase in sales is a short term goal, then that needs to be explicit from the get-go.

One campaign sticks out in particular. It was a social media campaign for a local home builder. The goal was to simply educate their target on the current housing market and expand the reach of the brand within the St. Louis Metro area.

Upon completion, the client was perplexed that they didn’t sell any new homes during the duration of the campaign. To them, it was a complete failure. I, on the other hand, was thrilled with the outcome.  Social engagement was through the roof and growing steadily. People were talking about us. We were “sexy.”

Six months after the campaign, the client sold 2 new homes in one month. That was more than they had sold in that last 9 months. While these folks did not participate in the social campaign, they were, in fact, aware of their newfound social presence.

Sure a quick boost in sales is nice, but it doesn’t always equate to long term success. If you can expand your reach and increase brand awareness, you can reap the benefits from one campaign for many years.

The same can be said for weight loss. If the number on the scale doesn’t say “you are skinny,” but people complement your appearance… your efforts were a success.