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How to count cards & beat the recession odds

Sales and Marketing is a lot like playing games at a casino. In gambling terms known as ‘The House’.

Everywhere we advertise, seek leads and hunt for prospects is a game of money and time surely these are the richest currencies of business - one feeds the other. The most expensive tool we have is our employees and their time, and the highest amount of money we spend is on customer acquisition through advertising.

Wouldn’t knowing where to place our bets in a brewing recession be a great advantage to any and all businesses?

I pose this question as the odds are being stacked against business during a recession and only the most efficient will survive. (Our white paper on the operationalised self destruction of brands is due next week).

Efficiency is not about cutting corners or leaving customers behind, that is the most common mistake. All it accomplishes is a reduction in loyalty and ultimately costs you the revenue you crave.

This thought was not a new one to us. Back in 2017 we spotted a Gap and began working on an algorithm to beat the odds of ‘The House’.

Not all advertising works but nobody is sure which is good or bad. Not all sales activity is worth the time invested. This was being defended by attribution models of which there are so many different versions but here are four -

It's a weak system and infiltrating it would be like moving the house odds of you playing Slot Machines (15-25% in favour of the house) to Blackjack (0.5% in favour of the house). Making bets and altering the size of the bet at the right moment is how players take advantage of the 0.5% odds.

The challenge is knowing which cards to count and which cards are bad. For the benefit of advertising we looked at how the player (Businesses) was laying their bets:

  • Where players are betting in terms of channels. (Programmatic, Facebook, TV, Google, Display).

  • How players are betting. (the relevancy of the Data being used particularly focused on Psychology of the product and service as we had identified the lack of meaning within data as a large Gap).

  • When players are betting. (How they actually use the combination of channels and data).

  • Why players are thinking that way. (The strategic thinking governing player behaviours and hunting assumptions in that thinking. We are but followers of today's rules and that is not always a plus).

What we found was this advertising ‘Mud Sticks’ Strategy was one where every player was literally stacking the odds in the houses favour; They were showing the house their cards before they bet! It meant sometimes they won, sometimes with needless loss (spending money for the sake of it).

What this allowed us to do was to rebuild the architecture of the game around WHY the customer buys (The Blackjack bet) which may be unique to the customer but there are patterns of behaviours in customers that works in the same way that counting cards does.

From the customers’ perspective, the mathematics are quite simple - it's an algebra question architecture because algebra is how to solve problems. It’s not just the same solution for all and that right there is the problem - using the same system for all and that just suits the house, not the customer and even less so the player.

The customer thinks at a rapid rate of knots:

  • Is this advert relevant to me?

  • Why is it relevant to me?

  • Do I need it now?

  • Do I have the time right to look at it?

  • Is my mindset in the right place right now?

After two years of building, testing and correcting, we tried those questions (and many more) so that we could easily look at ‘The House’ odds of how a business was set up to serve its customers and thus know what to amend strategically, creatively and statistically. We gamed the system (Jackpot!).

Our results are impressive. Irrespective of business size, a saving of 18 - 26% of advertising spend alongside revenue growth of 3 - 21% (Global billion dollar businesses at one end and high growth businesses at the other).

For marketing and sales activity (slightly different but same idea), the same variables are there with results equally as impressive. Optimisation of time, resources and channels is both a money maker and a saver, the time of wild betting is over.

Wouldn't you want to stack the odds in your favour?

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