What if you had super powers?

Have you ever watched one of those super hero movies, and thought, “What if?”

I’m sure you have.  Or, maybe it was reading the comics.  Or some other story.

We all wonder what it would be like to have super powers.  To fly.  To have super-human strength.  To be invisible.  To control matter — or minds.

The possibilities seem endless when we’re making it up.

But most of us struggle to look at our real-life abilities, and to see just how super some of our powers are.

My real-life super power is X-ray vision…

Not like, “See through things,” X-ray vision.  But, “Be able to see through the big structure of things, and view all the little component parts.”  It’s slightly less cool, but way more valuable if I want a job outside of working for the TSA.

I don’t know exactly where it came from or how I developed it, but I know I was conscious of it around the time I was starting in marketing and business.  And as I’ve developed this ability it’s only become more powerful…

And in today’s essay, I’m going to try to bestow on you the gift of this super power, too…

Before I give you X-ray vision, my backstory…

(Because all great super heroes have a backstory that reveals how they got or discovered their powers…)

I’ve shared before that my first client was David Bullock.  David was a marketer with a manufacturing, engineering, and robotics background.  And in those fields, he’d run into Dr. James Kowalick, the first guy to ever apply Taguchi multivariate testing to marketing.

Now, I know that’s a lot of jibber-jabber to most folks, but here’s the crux of it…

Most marketers know how powerful it is to compare one ad against the other, to see which will be the winner.

The difference can be 16:1 or more.  Meaning, one ad could make $16 in sales, for every $1 the other makes — all from the same investment.

This is called a “split test” and forms the basis on which all direct marketing knowledge and best practice is based.

Well, imagine if you could run 10,368 ads against each other to see which was the ultimate winner?

And what if instead of actually running those 10,368 ads against each other (requiring as many as 10,000 impressions each), you could determine the same results by comparing just 18 different ads?

There might be one in there that does far better than 16X your control ad.  The trick is to find it.

Believe it or not, there’s a statistical model for this, in the Taguchi method.

Kowalick learned Taguchi from its namesake.  David learned Taguchi from Dr. Kowalick.  And here I was, learning this method from David.

Now, a lot of Taguchi is in the number-crunching.  Once you have data, you have to figure out what’s important, and how that leads you to the best possible ad among the 10,368 possibilities.

But as with any test, your input is actually even more important.  And this is what David really hammered home in the training I helped him sell.

You see, those 10,368 different ads you’re testing with Taguchi actually represent all the combinations of possibilities generated by 7 A/B tests, coupled with 4 A/B/C tests.

In other words, take a single ad, and identify 11 items (7+4).  The headline, subhead, price, picture, bonus A, bonus B, etc.  For 7 of those, pick two possible alternatives to test.  For the other 4, pick three alternatives.  If you add up every possible combination, you have 10,368 ads you could run.

What the Taguchi model does is spit out the 18 combinations you can test against each other to calculate the best combination of all versions of those 11 items.  And once you have results from the 18 test ads, it tells you which of the 10,368 combinations of 11 items is likely to generate the best result.

(In one example, 18 ads ranging in response rate from .23% to 1.74% spit out a totally different combination with an optimum response of 4.05% — more than double the best of the 18 combinations tested!)

What does this have to do with my X-ray vision?

Simple.  As soon as you start looking at ads to break down every single little element, and realize any one particular item can have a big impact on response, you get a new perspective.

It’s the whole forest/trees thing.

In any given ad, there are an infinite number of pictures you could use.  But one will perform better than the rest.  There are an infinite number of headlines, subheads, prices, salutations, and so on.  But for each, there is one that will generate the most response.

While ultimately one prospect will still see only one ad, you become a better copywriter, marketer, tester, and business person by being able to see into the ad and know its little component pieces.

That’s X-ray vision — and it has nearly endless applications…

Taguchi started on assembly lines.  It’s part of the reason why by the early 1990s, Japanese cars were running for 250,000 miles when US cars were dying shortly after 100,000.  Because the Japanese had used Taguchi’s methods and broke down all the components, testing to determine what would lead to the best final quality.

But the X-ray vision principle above doesn’t even require you to know Taguchi.

For example, let’s say you’re building a funnel.  You’re running Facebook traffic to a webinar, to get people to apply for an initial consultation with you, to eventually become a client for your services.

You might test that, and it might not work.  Or, it might work okay.  But you want it to work better.

Well, if you don’t have X-ray vision, you might just create a second funnel, and test it against the first.

Or, you could really break down the funnel into its component parts, for every single little conversion that needs to happen along the way to you getting the client.

So…

  1. Someone needs to see your ad.
  2. Then they need to click on the ad.
  3. Then they need to see the landing page.
  4. Then they need to opt-in to see your webinar.
  5. Then they need to confirm their opt-in.
  6. Then they need to actually watch the webinar.
  7. Then they need to click the call-to-action that displays at the end of the webinar.
  8. Then they need to fill out the application form for the initial consultation.
  9. Then they need to schedule the call with you.
  10. Then they need to actually attend the call.
  11. Then they need to get an offer for your services.
  12. Then they need to make a decision about the offer.
  13. Then they need to submit their order or make the purchase.
  14. And if they don’t, they need to get follow up…

I could go on…

And there are additional steps that could fit between these.  Such as re-marketing, or additional follow-up sequences between steps.

Every single one of these can be measured.  Every single one has some variable that could be tested.  Every single one has some level of performance.

And the cumulative impact of even small improvements at each step has a big impact…

I recently did some math based on 11 steps in the customer lifecycle.

If you went through each of these 11 steps that each customer goes through in their relationship with your business, and improved it just 11% per step, your business wouldn’t grow 11% overall — it would TRIPLE.

If you improve each step by 25%, you create 10X growth.

If you break down anything into its component parts and optimize each little component, the potential is tremendous.

And how do you do that?  With X-ray vision.

The good news?  You don’t need to be born a mutant, or made that way with glowing green ooze.  You don’t need to be born on Krypton, either.

You simply have to take that extra step of looking past the big picture, and look for all the little component parts that make it up.

Do it the first time, and it might be a little difficult.  But the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes.  Then, those little details start to become opportunities for you to make little improvements.  And the more you add little improvements on top of each other, the bigger your breakthroughs become.

Yours for super-powered breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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