Digital Marketing, Power Of

The Power of a Question

When I was 30, I lived in a largely rent-controlled building in New York City with my (then) girlfriend, who was also my age. There were nine other residents on our floor: a young couple in their 20’s, and seven single elderly widows/widowers in their 70’s and 80’s.

The average age of our floor was 58. No one was 58.

While direct mailers were carpet bombing us with brochures to switch our 401K funds to bonds, the residents of our building were either living off of pensions or just beginning to invest. Trees were being slaughtered because someone asked “What’s the average age of that building?”

Every time we boil our marketing data down to a “what” and leave it at that, we make the same mistake.

Success lies in your willingness to ask—and answer—just one more question than your competitor.

For most of us, it’s the same one: “Why?”

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  1. macroneus says

    This can be similar to Howard Moskowitz’s contention that there isn’t a perfect pepsi but only the perfect pepsis; likewise with digital strategy.

  2. says

    Having just left a big (largely) direct mail agency, I have to unfortunately point out that marketers do this because the ROI is almost always higher than using better or more nuanced targeting, and sadly, this is typically due to two avoidable issues: 1) An agency’s fees for better targeting are often cost prohibitive, and 2) When they attempt better targeting, they usually ask the wrong questions, make the wrong assumptions, or assume that it just plain doesn’t work after they have 1 bad experience.
    Nonetheless, good point. Good post.

    • lauraclick says

      @sschandler @webby Great post, Steve. Why is such a powerful word. The answer to it uncovers so much insight to guide our strategies!

  3. says

    Maybe what makes the question: “Why?” very powerful is because it leaves us more opportunity to ask the next: “Why?”  The question never stops, it just goes deeper.

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