Another day, another call for an effectiveness shift. This time Rory Sutherland argues the case in the field of advertising (Advertising is in crisis, but it’s not because it doesn’t work, in Campaign, January 24th 2019). In a well-written article, Rory calls out some of the ways efficiency thinking is driving activity within the marketing and advertising world. Instead he makes the call for a return to effectiveness and creativity.
He provides a compelling example of the ways in which online can befuddle thinking.
The absurdity of the efficiency bubble was brought home to me in a recent meeting with an online travel company. The conversation repeatedly included the mantra “the need to maximise online conversion”. Everyone nodded along. Clearly, it is much more efficient for people to book travel through the website rather than over the telephone, since it reduces transaction costs. But then someone – not me, I’m ashamed to say – said something revelatory: “Ah, but here’s the thing. Online visitors to the site convert at about 0.3%. People who telephone convert at 33%. Maybe the website should have a phone number on every page.”
He is at pains to point out that he is not against online, he is for effectiveness, evidence and creativity. The things that make life and work joyful. The example uses evidence of what works and reflects ‘what matters’ from the consumer point of view. This is something all effectiveness improvement and design consultants understand. Conversations online are fine, however customers prefer to talk to somebody when purchasing some types of products. I have seen these conversations about efficiency played-out numerous times in businesses. Rory adds to yet another call for an effectiveness shift.
Read the article in full … it’s worth it.