The Curious Marketer Is Always The Winner

There is one simple way to be the one of the world’s best marketers. At the same time, most of the marketers seem to be doing exactly everything but this way. In this post, I’ll analyze why this is and how you can change the way you work in order to become better and more innovative in…

There is one simple way to be the one of the world’s best marketers. At the same time, most of the marketers seem to be doing exactly everything but this way. In this post, I’ll analyze why this is and how you can change the way you work in order to become better and more innovative in the way you work with marketing. Let’s call it Curious Marketing.

The marketing people all around the world can be (in a generalized way) divided into three categories:

The Leader

This is the person with a big mouth and a big bunch of followers on Twitter. This person spreads buzzwords like the Niagara Falls spreads water. This is the person who 2012 started tweeting “Content is king” and then 2015 tweeted “Content is no longer king.”

This is the person that does not have their own thoughts or ideas. This person just links to others’ articles, or tries to write some articles themselves even though they’re not working with marketing on a deep and hard-core level. You know, the “Social Media Marketing Expert” that doesn’t know the difference between oCPM and CPM on Facebook Ads…

This is the person that shares articles with the headline: “How to increase conversion rate by 24%” without questioning (or even reading?!) it.

Most of all, this person thinks everything is about “best practices.” This is the person that (unfortunately) likes to stand in front of a crowd at a conference and hold presentations without consistency. By dropping numerous buzzwords and showing a bunch of infographics other people made – they get away with it. Oh, man…

Well, as you notice – this is not the kind of marketer I would hire. Unfortunately, these kinds of persons know how to talk – so they happen to have pretty good positions at some big companies, making themselves seem even more credible. It’s just a bad loop.

The Follower

This is the person that follows the leader without criticism of the leader’s sources.

An example of typical behavior of “The Follower” would be the use of Google Analytics. Everyone is using it, for one single reason: everyone is using it!

“The Follower” doesn’t question the lack of functionality, the poor data quality, the myriad of bugs, and everything that’s bad about Google Analytics. A Curious Marketer wouldn’t accept this. A Curious Marketer would try some different tools and then find a better one. At least, they would face the fact that Google Analytics is nothing but a really poor analytics tool made for local bakeries who wants to track visits to their website – not for huge companies to make important decisions.

The Curious

This is a person that knows there are no answers to anything. The Curious Marketer knows everything is unknown until tested.

This person has a healthy view on articles, like the headline I gave as an example earlier (“How to increase conversion rate by 24%“). Curious marketers would, in this case, ask themselves:

  • How did this affect the average order value?
  • How did this affect the LTV?
  • How does this affect customer satisfaction?
  • Why did it increase?
  • Is this article based on a statistically significant amount of data?
  • And especially: Is the conversion rate even an interesting metric to look at?

There are no best practices, except one, and that’s: test everything yourself and make your own conclusions!

The winning recipe of a Curious Marketer is really easy, it’s just thinking and acting logically.

How to apply ‘Curious Marketing’

Ask yourself: Why am I doing this?

In everything you do, ask yourself why you’re doing it.

  • Did someone tell you what to do?
  • If so, does that person have the knowledge and experience it takes to tell you to do this way?
  • Is there another way to do this?
  • Can I disrupt this?

You get the idea..

Ask yourself: Is this helping our main goal?

I’ll explain this with a pretty detailed example of marketers who’re not asking themselves this question. So brace yourself, this is a long one.. 

I often have discussions with marketers that have a pretty weird view on conversion rate. Some really big companies use their website’s overall conversion rate like a metric for their marketing quality. That’s bullshit, if you really think about it.

So why isn’t overall conversion rate applicable when looking at quality of a website/app?

A conversion rate is made up of two components: number of conversions and number of visits. Mmkay?

Think about all types of traffic that come to your site. It’s everything from direct traffic, organic from Google, paid from Google, Facebook campaigns, mistypes of your domain, old link clicks going to a 404, bots you can’t identify as bots in Google Analytics, articles, blog posts, Google Display Network, display campaigns on a myriad of websites, TV campaigns, your newsletter, link clicks from all the emails you’ve ever sent to your customers, contests, Instagram and so on.

What you’re doing when you make up one part of the conversion rate with all this traffic is that you increase the statistical variance. That makes the number of visitors not dependable or interesting in any way (when related to number of purchases in the equation for ‘conversion rate’).

And the other part, number of conversions, isn’t relevant either. Doesn’t your products have different pricing? Order value is a factor that has to be taken into consideration. And predicted LTV/ARPU and similar metrics?

As an example: Let’s say you get tons of traffic from a news article about your website or one of your products. In this scenario, the clicks to your site were just curious people – not people looking to buy anything at the moment. Since this traffic doesn’t have a conversion rate as high as, let’s say, your existing customers clicking on your recent newsletter with a discount, then this will lower the overall conversion rate drastically.

What does this give us? Well, the conversion rate says you did a bad job by getting that news article. But logic tells you, you did good! Therefore, the conversion rate isn’t usable. It doesn’t tell you anything!

So, what is the overall conversion rate on a website? Well, just a random number saying your server or payment system isn’t down (well, if it’s not 0%…).

So how about a conversion rate, specific to each traffic channel? Google Analytics has this as a standard report and Google is, um, a big company with, um, huge competence.. so they should know what’s best, right?

No. 

So why shouldn’t you look at conversion rate per traffic channel on a website/app?

For the same reason, you shouldn’t look at overall conversion rate. There’s too much variation in the goals and results of your various marketing campaigns. If your conversion rate from “Facebook – Paid” increases by 50%, from 2% to 3% during a particular time period, does that tell you anything at all about the ROI? No, ROI might as well have dropped like bananas under the same period.

A pretty good example is when I purchased a huge amount of “crappy” traffic from Adf.ly, in order to research if I could get a good ROI. I got a conversion rate of 0.04% (compared to 5.00% from Google Search Campaigns). However, since the traffic was so incredibly cheap, the ROI was 260%. Compared to 115% on Google Search Campaigns. My conclusion: Conversion rate didn’t help me to determine if Adfly was a good channel or not. (Yes, I just compared the conversion rate of two channels. But that was just to show you how meaningless it was.)

So, I ask you kindly to think about this: What does a conversion rate really tell you? If you really think about it?

Why every marketing department should have a ‘Head of Curious Marketing’

In order to secure marketing innovation and always find new channels – every marketing department should have a Head of Curious Marketing.

Most marketing departments have given their marketers various areas to work with, such as:

  • SEO
  • SEM
  • Content Marketing
  • Public Relations

There’s nothing wrong with this, but the perfect complement (not substitute) would be a Curious Marketer.

This person would have such tasks as:

  • Continuously try to find new marketing channels. Don’t get stuck in the old ones. Adapt quickly to new! Example: Do you have a strategy for when Snapchat releases ads with a wider functionality? Are you even on Snapchat?
  • Analyze your previous marketing results in a new way. Why not redo the models and calculations? Are you really calculating ROI and LTV in the best way?
  • Are the tools you’re using the most suitable?
  • In cooperation with the rest of the marketing team, discuss attribution and how to come closer to “the truth.”
  • And so on.. I think you get the concept of being curious.

But of course, everyone in marketing could adapt ‘Curious Marketing’ to whatever position or job they have in marketing today. It’s all about start to thinking in a new way, in whatever you’re doing.

You get the idea! Now, start executing! 

And yes, the post image is a selfie by the Mars Rover Curiosity.