Beware of Black Boxes. Look for Actionable Outputs.

Beware of Black Boxes

Science fiction is one of my guilty pleasures (after golf). And with young children, I don’t have a lot of time to read as I please, but I’m happy to find a good sci-fi movie when they stop by. I find a lot of food for thought and even parallels that directly help. So if you’re also a Dune fan, you know what I mean when I say that black boxes tend to make me very nervous. If so, we strive to understand the details before deciding to purchase the newly proposed tool.

MarTech’s Black Box is a bit like the boring Storage Wars show

OK, it may not be as intense as Dune’s example, but all solution purchases of not being able to see what the input is or understand exactly how the output happened are part of a “storage war”. The element definitely exists. In Storage Wars, the premise of the show is that people leave all sorts of things in storage containers.In every abandoned building there can be real opportunities for real value. Or it could be a random output of basically worthless crap. The show’s fun lies in the stories behind the item’s owner and speculation about what might be of value there. It’s clean fun with few real flaws other than a minor financial disappointment (sometimes a little moldy). , rarely bring too many skins into the equation. All major technology purchases cost much more in my store. And while each has potential benefits, there are also many risks. Here are the areas we’ve learned to explore:

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It’s got a patent, so it must be doing something important, right?

Patent law was created to enable inventors to obtain a reasonable return on their investment in innovation. For many good reasons, they quickly became something of a badge of ingenuity, letting the world know you were smart and full of really good ideas (after all, The patent office has identified your invention as “unique” – or maybe you’re the only one who got there first). But of course, like many laws, over time people have used patent law for other, less laudable purposes. While patents signal innovation, they can also easily stifle innovation by shutting out others. They are also often used to maintain unnaturally high prices across categories while protecting the return on your initial investment.There are patents somewhere in between. It’s not evil, but it’s also not particularly useful (which is why the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a silly monthly patent page on his website). Despite these shortcomings, patents still exude an aura of quality and value for many people.

Patenting as part of your message and positioning is, of course, a concept favored by marketers. In fact, this is the approach that led to the explosion of over-the-counter “health products” known by “proprietary drugs” or more colloquially as they were known, starting around the 19th century.
snake oil. That’s the basic purpose of Theranos, and it seems that no industry category is immune to this game. So when my team evaluates patent-promoting solutions, we’ve learned to look at them to see what we think. We often find that there are many ways to achieve a desired goal. There is nothing magic about ideas protected by patents. Sometimes what sounds like something special turns out to be just a marketing gimmick.

Understanding Patents/Understanding Processes

A quick patent search was helpful for customers trying to better understand the different types of solutions available to support GTM. For example, it was helpful to clarify how vendors determine which accounts appear to be interested in their solutions. You can see how difficult it is and how much guesswork it takes to see which accounts are accessing your site. They understand that there are more effective ways to understand relevant accounts, starting with a clear understanding of what your audience is actually investigating. Then it becomes clear how powerful our inbound converter approach really is.

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Here’s another example of how confusing this can be: Suppose you were told that you could use black box techniques to tell your sales team where signals of buying behavior were physically coming from. If that’s correct and you’re dealing with a small office location that doesn’t have too many people on the list, consider calling the relevant cold contact for the location. is a case. In our business, Enterprise Technology, what critical business processes are going on at the site (for example, it’s a distribution center and looking for supply chain buyers) and who owns the site? The location of the site can help a little if you know what you’re using. Sites as office addresses (such as supply chain professionals). But all too often, geographic signals tell us that somewhere in a large office building there is an anonymous person conducting relevant purchase research (or or it could be a false positive signal from a misinterpreted keyword sequence). Without additional information, it is not possible to determine how meaningful the signals are to the journey of active buyers. ) and so on, I’m not sure. Nothing of value to sell.

Moreover, as we have learned from the recent pandemic, geography has become less and less important these days, whether we are talking about the location of people or the location of technology using the cloud. Companies are now hiring everywhere, and functional groups often work entirely virtually. Therefore, our business model places no particular emphasis on the localization of the actual IP signal. More than ever, it’s people who buy, not accounts or office locations.

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