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A Common Problem With Following Marketing Advice

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#1 iamlost


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Posted 18 November 2015 - 09:08 PM

A very good article by Ian Lurie: Know why: How to beat marketing survivorship bias, Portent blog, 18-November-2015.

Why does marketing advice suck?

We all look for marketing tactics we can repeat. You know what I mean: Some guy writes an article about marketing strategy, and boom, everyone’s off to the races.

And 95% of the time, the tactics out of context fall flat on their metaphorical faces.


There are lots of reasons marketing blueprints can get you into trouble. The one I most worry about is survivorship bias.

...our tendency to focus on and compare to techniques, people, etc. that ‘survive.’ We miss the failures because they’re less visible. It’s a common driver of the ‘correlation does not equal causation’ cliche.


Multivariate and A/B testing helps us figure out which tactics really work. But don’t stake your campaign on those results. Use them as a guide.

Test a lot.

Collect lots of ‘passive’ data, too: Traffic, behavior, sales, whatever you can. Use it when you ask “Why did this work?”

Question why something worked, and dig well past the data.

Data can lead to survivorship bias, too, because we’re interpreting it. Never, ever forget that.

In the article Ian recommends reading Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I concur, highly recommended.





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Posted 19 November 2015 - 07:20 AM

Thanks.  Interesting.


I enjoyed the part about infographics.  People send them to me all of the time about my topics and every one of them has problems.  I think people who are too lazy to get their facts straight enough to present them well in text do infographics. 


I still don't "get" the point of the transit image.

Edited by EGOL, 19 November 2015 - 07:21 AM.

#3 earlpearl


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Posted 19 November 2015 - 04:53 PM

This is the best marketing advice I've ever heard.  Its always good to repeat it as I get lazy and repetitive.


1.  Do the things that work.

2.  Stop doing the things that don't work.

3.  At some point the things that worked are going to stop working    

4.  Keep trying new things.

5.  Rinse wash repeat.


While I didn't read the entire article I did like the references to things that don't work.  You learn a lot from things that don't work.  I suppose marketers don't "market" them.  Remember them.  Learn from them and don't repeat them.


Sometimes with marketing its in the implementation not in the concept.  Pay attention to how you implement.

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