June 16, 2020

When A Consultant Tells You What You Should Do

Arizona - my State ... is now one of the hottest Coronavirus regions in the world, in terms of cases (which I get is tied to testing and hospitalization isn't at levels like in other hot spots and deaths are FAR below other hot spots and blah blah blah blah I get it). But we're starting to cook here, regardless. 

You wouldn't know it by visiting the grocery store. Aisles are clearly marked ... you can walk in only one direction. The 15% of shoppers wearing masks adhere to the directive ... 85% of shoppers are not wearing masks and they're doing what they want. If they want to cut in front of you and touch all of the Brussels Sprouts, they'll do it. You're not going to impede upon their freedom.

Arizona had a short quarantine period, and was quick to open for business. From late March to late April, you simply never ran across somebody who had the virus. You'd think the virus was a hoax, because you didn't know anybody who had it.

In mid-May I ordered a carry-out pizza from a restaurant. When I arrived, there were 70ish people in the restaurant ... two or maybe three tables open with every other table filled with up to ten people who were all actively playing a trivia game. No masks ... not from the staff, not from the patrons, certainly not from the trivia host who belted out instructions into a microphone.

Like anywhere else, this wasn't happening for a lack of education. Everybody was told to wear a mask. Everybody was told to social distance. Everybody was told to stay home ... all the freeway signs told you to stay home.

And yet ... well ... here we are.

If you've ever been a consultant, you thoroughly understand this behavior.

Allow me to give you an example.

I launched this blog in 2006. During that time I've written ... hundreds of times ... of the importance of mail/holdout tests in print and email marketing. In my project work, it is common to generate a million dollars of easy profit for every $100,000,000 in annual sales a brand generates annually. Execute mail/holdout tests, apply the results on an annual basis, and become much more profitable. It's not hard.

I'd speak at a conference ... somebody would introduce themselves to me. The individual had been a long-time blog reader ... since 2010, for instance!! We'd talk about random stuff, but eventually land upon mail/holdout tests. I'd ask what their tests told them. 9 times out of 10, here's the response I'd get:
  • "Oh, we don't execute mail/holdout tests. And we aren't going to. What other ideas do you have to help us become more profitable?"
That response ... "what other ideas do you have to help us become more profitable" is just plain offensive. I gave you the idea ... FOR FREE ... hundreds of times ... and you chose to ignore the advice ... over and over and over again. Why?


If you are a mask-wearing advocate and you are fed up with people who won't wear a mask and won't take steps to keep everybody safe ... ask yourself if you implement the concepts you've been given for free on this blog 200+ times a year for fourteen years for free? If you haven't done that, well, hmmmm, interesting, right?

I know I've been guilty of this style of hubris over my career. I can't tell you how many consultants waltzed into Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom during my tenure and told me what to do and as they walked out of the building I'd begin immediately doing whatever the heck it was that I wanted to do.

It's human nature, folks. We do what we want to do. All of us. Maybe we're strict advocates of doing the right thing in one area but then we'll eat Cheetos every night in spite of knowing it's the last thing we should eat.

When a consultant tells you what you should do, vet the consultant. Maybe the person is a fraud. Maybe the person is an expert. If the person is an expert, keep your mind open to what the person is saying.

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