A friend of mine recently told me the story of her family dog, and I am sure many can relate to this one. Every Wednesday at 10 am, the dog would go wild to protect the family from the territory-invading garbage truck. In his mind, the family had to be protected at all costs. After a few minutes, the truck would leave, and the dog would return with a proud “job well-done” strut, knowing that he had again protected his family from the enemy. From the dog’s perspective, the enemy had been driven back with distinguished gallantry. Peace could return to the kingdom because the job was done bravely. All that remained was a parade culminating with a doggy treat for meritorious service. The dog knows what action was taken, what happened, and is confident the cause-and-effect knowledge.
Attributing a specific ad click to a sale is the same as the dog barking at the garbage truck. It happened, but it is unlikely that one fully caused the other. You need to ask yourself, when was the last time you went from seeing an advertisement to final sale in one click? Not the last time you wanted this to happen to someone else, but the last time it happened to you. Most business people want a direct line from their ads to their sales, but few get that.
While touches to conversions vary greatly from industry to industry, most experts estimate a minimum of 7 to 20. If this is true, then no one touch created more than 5% of the sale. People are always looking for the one thing they should do, but this proves they do not understand the problem. The question is, what are the next 20 things to do?
Some people will call me out on this one, and that is fair. Just answer one question for me: When was the last time you saw an ad and purchased the product or service as the total experience? That’s what I thought, and since you never do that, is it fair to expect this out of your own advertising efforts? As I look back at my last ten purchases related to an ad, I had already decided what I would buy, and the ad helped me find the vendor. I had visited their website many times before and trusted that they were the right supplier in almost all cases. That trust came from many exposures, some paid and some organic.
The ad click is an important step in the process, but the other 19 steps in the total customer experience are still required. Each of those steps set up the success or failure of the next step in the process. If you do not think that Marketing is complicated, consider how many things are flowing through your sales system at any one time. Different things move every person in your sales pipeline at different times. Some will skip some steps, and others will go over the same step multiple times. Changes in messaging can change the results by moving some forward, but it can also move others backward. Consider changing the dog.
I would like you to meet my dog, Christie (circa 1972). She was a third-tour guard dog that was passed down to me during my tour in CanTho, Vietnam. She was braver than anyone I knew, and if she had decided a garbage truck was a threat, I can assure you that this story would have a different meaning. The truck would not come back, and the garbage would pile up in your yard. This dog is for another article where we compare touch power and quality, which matters more than most think.