Is twice as good really what we want?

While slipping and sliding through the snow and ice in the last few days, I’ve found myself thinking about the merits of a 4×4 vehicle instead of my rear wheel drive automatic.
While there are times when it would definitely have helped, there have been occasions when I don’t think it would have made any significant difference.
That’s because in my mind the major difference is that you have four driving wheels rather than two (I know there are other features, but you’ll have to forgive my simplification) and if my car is sat on solid ice, I’ll just have four spinning wheels rather than two – without grip I’m going nowhere!
To me, it’s just like marketing activity. It’s relatively easy to double the apparent impact of activity – generate twice the number of visitors to the site, publish twice as many flyers, double the length of a promotion …
All we get though, is quantity (4 wheels rather than 2), whereas so often what we really want is quality (grip & drive). Twice as many off-profile enquiries may be the last thing a small or medium sized business needs. In my view the first priority is to examine the effectiveness of an activity and improve it as far as possible, before increasing the amount.
If we can measure and track the real return on marketing investment, we can discard the ineffective, improve the effective and then use the saved money to do more of the hard working stuff. Total cost may be little different, but the results will be transformed.
To use a different transport metaphor, if you’re sat on a bicycle, it’s a good idea to check you are pointing the right way and in the right gear before pedalling harder.
Measure, improve, prioritise and only then, increase.
Enjoy the snow,