Marketing perspectives: By the numbers, by the heart (or both)

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time tohire
Timetohire.com has been effective, but not quite in the way I originally expected.
Turmoil in the Shanghai stock market cut my net worth by 10 per cent in minutes. Should I worry?
Turmoil in the Shanghai stock market cut my net worth by 10 per cent in minutes. Should I worry?

It’s a strange feeling, observing your wealth decline by about 10 to 15 per cent in a matter of minutes, and knowing, in your heart, it doesn’t matter. Conversely, I’ve experienced enough odds-defying coincidences, where seemingly miraculous good things happen in the midst of absolute chaos, to appreciate the observation: “You can plan and set goals, but you should always be ready for surprises.”

I raise these points because, while you can apply best practices and avoid folly in your marketing processes with some solid systems and metrics — and you should always use these to validate significant marketing investments — the really interesting stuff in business occurs when you look beyond the numbers to discover surprising opportunities. And, at times, you need to put the numbers in perspective.

As an example, I’ve used a service, timetohire.com, to recruit commission-only sales representatives. Essentially, the service data-mines commercial job boards and then sends a systematized programmed email to a list of names they gather that have keyword matches to your opportunities.

In the early goings, I analyzed the call volume, leads, and the fall-off rate from short list candidates, and determined that if I paid approximately $500 to the service each month, I conceivably would end up with two qualified commission sales reps a year. These reps, if contracted and successful, would generate several hundred thousand dollars a year in revenue.

Well, the service has been successful, but not quite in the way I had expected. I contacted with three reps for different publications, and all of them ultimately flaked out — sometimes after some significant cost in time and energy (and even cash).

time tohire
Timetohire.com has been effective, but not quite in the way I originally expected.

As these failures were occurring, one candidate responded but declined the offer, proposing instead we pay her for social media management services. This wasn’t what I was seeking, but at the time, I realized we needed an enhanced social media policy. I agreed to the proposal — in essence, the person I wanted to hire as a sales rep effectively sold me on introducing a new service and paying a new contracting fee for a service that would not, in the short-term, generate any revenue.

Six months later, however, she returned to me and asked if she could take on the commission selling opportunity. I said “sure” and now she has become exceptionally effective in rebuilding our US markets.

I suppose I should now dust off the budget and recommence my monthly cycle with timetohire.com to find another rep. The issue that is holding me back relates to capacity and management/organization. Can we handle the opening/managing and operation in the new markets, allowing for the probable fall-throughs and failures?  Answer, yes, but let’s get through the annual planning meeting cycle and build the budgets and systems before rushing into anything.

As for the wealth decline, I’ve learned to take the international stock market’s bumps and grinds with some patience and respect. You can look at the numbers, but you need to appreciate the emotions behind them.

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