The Numbers Dance

ImageIf you work in a quantitative field there will come a time when numbers / text will just feel supremely overwhelming. I call this moment “The Numbers Dance”. Now the best thing one can do in this moment is walk away, some things you can do are:

  • Go outside
  • Get something to eat
  • Complete a home improvement project
  • Channel Surf
  • …or just sleep

To do any of the above you will have to make a serious effort to just walk away but it will serve you well in the long run. If you are on a deadline and walking away is not an option then keep reading for my tips and tricks.


Curious Case of QR

Scan It

A lot has been written about the QR code technology. It is fairly common now. Any one who frequently uses public transport has been exposed to the “square barcode”.

In terms of technology the QR code is easier to scan, can contain much more information and being license free is commercially very attractive to companies.

So why have I NEVER seen any one pull out their iphone, android or blackberry to scan the QR code??

There seems to be just something awkward about the process. Maybe it reminds us of the grocery store clerk. Maybe we expect advertising to “talk to” us and don’t want it to be a conversation.

What’s a marketer to do? Relate scanning QR code to something that includes activity. Random prize draws, direct link to “share your idea”, play a short game (games are the most popular phone apps during transit)

Marketing lesson: even diamonds need to be polished and displayed in the right light to get a good price for them. QR and other upcoming technologies can be real assets at almost no investment only if companies put in the effort and make sure consumers use them.

Until next time,



Targeting against the Law of large numbers

Sooner or later every one hears about targeted advertising. If you are a kindergarten principal your audience might be all parents but subconsciously you have a list of the parents that give the most amount of time or money. This compels you to greet these parents personally and keep an eye on their wards.

Targeting is a natural thing for humans just like eating food. Take human memory, it depends to a very large degree on heuristic knowledge. Assumptions like Asians are good at math and Indian people like curry are just heuristics we use within our memory to make things easier for our brains. Targeting is also help for our brain, it allows us to keep our contact group small but allows for benefit maximization.


Trust is the water to your product promotion’s seed.

The best offers and plans often FAIL to make an impression on the consumer. Most companies assume this is a failure to publicize the product. Often the problem is trust.

Scenario: A new company is trying to sell boots and offers worry free replacement for 1yr along with 20% introductory discount. Most customers will just assume there is a catch and won’t bother with it. Some will go to the store but will be skeptical of such a great deal, leaving without making a purchase. Those that make purchases will indent the sales staff with many questions before completing the transaction.

If the same offer was made by say REI Inc. the result would be excited crowds of people. The difference is trust.  All of us as consumers have been exposed to what I like to call the “crying wolf” problem, we view every offer and deal with skepticism. Too many companies have offer But One Get One only to write 20% off in tiny font at the bottom.

Marketing Lesson: Trust is not granted by default in today’s marketplace. Every commercial and non-commercial enterprise needs to work proactively to cultivate consumer trust. Good news is that trust is easy, make great products and services, provide great service and be honest in all your dealings.

Until next time.