Dominating with the Denominator

One of the pearls of wisdom I have learned over my 30 plus years in B2B marketing and sales is to watch the numbers.  Those squiggly, circular, and straight digits are a marketer’s good friends.

I talk to prospects and clients frequently about the law of averages, which I sometimes call the law of numbers.  These are principles of science and statistics, and really not that difficult to understand or explain.  I like to say the larger a pool of numbers gets, the easier it is to see to their relations to each other, and how the numbers as a group play together.  Here is a quick example:

If you take a coin out of you pocket and flip it, you have a 50% chance it will land on heads, and a 50% chance it will land on tails.  If you do this five times, one side may win, and sometimes win big, like five heads to zero tails.  If you flip it ten times, it is less likely to happen with the same extreme.  Flip it 100, or 1000, or 10,000 times, and your average will revert to 50%, the mean (in this case, half heads, and half tails), and your average flip result will almost certainly be (very close to) 50% for both heads and tails with these larger numbers.

Think of marketing as an experiment that is tried over and over again, like a coin flip.  The more a marketing system is repeated, the easier it is to understand the future results of the program.  And such it is with OnTarget’s prospecting system.

Having spent the last 25 years building and refining OnTarget’s system, I can tell you with certainty that in any ratio, my favorite number is the one on the bottom.

Some marketers love to test marketing programs.  They have good intentions to “prove the theorem”, “test the waters”, or “run a quick pilot”.  This is understandable, with limited budgets and confined timeframes.  When someone comes to me with such a program, I listen and smile.  When they are done telling me why this is a good idea, I explain the law of numbers and averages.

Small marketing is like few coin flips.  “You never know what you will get” I say.  And you should not make big budget decisions with the results of too few flips.  That’s why, as a marketer, I like to dominate with the denominator.

The minimum number of organizations/companies/agencies/buying decisions OnTarget is interested in running marketing programs with is 100.  This is the number we have found will give you good odds.  Of course, 500, 1000, or more is great, but, especially for pilot programs, 100 can be magical.

“So, how many appointments will I get out of the 100?”, they ask.  The answer is I don’t truly know.  I believe we can generate between five and 12 (a pretty big range), but we will know much more after the pilot.

Once the pilot is complete, the real power of the denominator is revealed.  From that point forward, in almost every program I have run, the follow-on work produces a similar result.  That, my friends, is dominating with the denominator.


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