Archives for August 29, 2006


There’s no magic to being Signal instead of Noise

The concept of a signal to noise ratio is a fundamental one in electrical engineering. My first real exposure to it was buying my first stereo system in college and getting the pitch from the sales guy on why all the dweebezaarb’s and flipper-flappers on the more expensive receiver, speakers, cables improved the signal-to-noise ratio. Better signal and less noise was, of course, good. Good in stereo’s, radio’s, cordless phones, video systems, whatever systems where frequency strength (and minimized noise) is a good thing.

Every where I turn today I see people struggling with how to get their signal (i.e., value proposition, marketing message, sales pitch) out to those tuned to receive it when these same people are being bombarded by so much signal from others that the combined signals are creating incredible amounts of noise.

Email marketing (to prospects at least) is pretty much dead. Direct mail, in a sort of surprising twist vs. where everyone seems to be focused now (internet marketing), is growing at 7-8% per year. In the same way that people leapt on email marketing when the internet took off, everyone seems to now be buzzing about viral marketing as though there is now some new, free, magic method of creating demand and selling goods and services.

Like anything else, there isn’t a magic bullet, secret sauce or effortless way of reaching, persuading, and touching people with your value proposition. Clients hire me expecting I have all the answers, can point them to the perfect technology or can whip out the mythical Top Ten List they could follow to ensure that if their signal is high, maybe the highest, that fast growth will ensue.

If it were only so.

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