Exhibit No. 535: Here’s why asking people about their digital behaviors is worthless

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We love to use the stories we have to back up our agenda and that’s fine to a degree. We know what we live so we tell those stories. I do that too. And part of authentic storytelling for businesses is about telling our stories.

But the customer experiences can be worthless Information to businesses when we ask people about how they use a website, what they saw, what they clicked on, etc. Heat mapping and A/B testing are much better for that.

Here’s where that hit me again. I was on a call with a client and as I often do during calls I had their website up and was offering some live ideas.

The discussion turned to email marketing and how to grow your list. I shared my 5 percent email growth success story hack.

On the phone they said: “Oh, we have a pop up. That should work right?”

Yes, pop ups do work – including on mobile. But, I told them, you don’t have one on your site!

“Oh yes we do.”

Remember, I was clicking along while surfing and talking.

I certainly didn’t get it. Or didn’t see it.

I closed Firefox and opened the site in Internet Explorer – that’s about the only thing I use IE for nowadays ?.

The pop up came up right around 10 seconds. Not too intrusive but also there. It was in the bottom right corner. Maybe not the best spot as that’s one of the last spot your eyes go, but it was there. On mobile it’s likely in the middle of the smaller screen.

Except I didn’t even see it the first time.

I instinctively and automatically closed it.

I did sign up for the list now from IE. And then the confirmation went into my junk mail. ?‍♂️?

Has it ever been harder to connect with people? And I was even working on connecting with them here!


Cases like this happen all the time and I’m sure you’ve experienced them. Digital consumption moves so fast that we can’t and won’t remember everything. People Prospects are too busy.

And our recollection might not be there at all. I do wonder how many people give the answer they think the person asking wants to hear.

“Do you read my blog?”

“Oh yes of course.”


Reader feedback is another item that fits here. Feedback volume goes up when views go up. So the more people read, the more will email and complain or compliment.

So let’s say a wide-read controversial piece on here gets me 10 negative emails and 2 positive ones but the other 10,355 readers didn’t email. That doesn’t mean it was a bad piece at all.


Things to ponder and to keep in mind. It was a strong reminder to me when it happened live on a client call. We remember the stories we live – for sure.