I’ve been trying to get a few things straight in my head about the way people Learn Online Marketing.
Will you help me?
Here’s a Premise:
The Online Marketing world seems to repeat the same mistakes over and over; it’s almost like every new generation of technology is a clean slate and somehow people expect an approach that was flawed in a previous generation won’t be flawed this time.
Sure, technology changes, but the fundamentals of human behavior are much more difficult to change. So you would expect there to be some constants, right?
For example, putting a high value on “quantity” of activity (remember Hits?) when every past generation has found that “quality” ends up as a more important metric.
When people talk about MySpace, they talk about how many millions of accounts there are. People forget the many companies that have fallen on the sword of the “total accounts” number in the past.
What you really want to know is how many accounts are active (say, any activity past 3 months), and whether the percent active is rising or falling. This one simple metric is a fabulous predictor of the health of an online business – from the very earliest days of interactivity right up until now (example).
The quantity of accounts doesn’t drive revenue generating activity – it’s the quality of the accounts. Quantity just drives costs.
So, why does every source from the media to bloggers to conferences ignore this? Why doesn’t anybody challenge the value of “we have this many accounts” every time it comes out of the mouth of a company spokesperson?
In other words, despite the “testing” mentality online, people seem to continually ignore the results of the past, like it’s different this time – and every time.
Question: Why does this happen? Is it because:
1. The Teaching is failing – books, conferences, courses, blogs, newsletters, etc. just are not conveying the correct principles. “Group Think” in the blogosphere might be making this condition worse.
2. The Learning is failing – people simply don’t want to rely on the lessons of the past and want to experience every new platform as a blank space with no constraints.
3. Other – Your reasons? Or problems with the Premise?
Please help me sort this out!