Why Knowing Just The “Numbers” Is Meaningless

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Here’s a quick real-time example to answer those which want to live and die by “numbers” alone. Where extrapolation of the numbers are de facto as proof of why something (marketing plan, business investment, fill in the blank) should proceed.

Next time you’re in a meeting or, sitting across from someone who is only concerned with “the numbers” in which you know is far too myopic a view where it can actually hurt more than help. Think of this example:

As of today, JC Penny® has hit one of its lowest points. Both in credibility, as well as in its outlook to move forward into the future. Their stock is down somewhere near 60% or more, and seen to be floundering. (It was announced today that activist investor Bill Ackman has sold his position in total as of this morning) Simultaneously it is assumed they have lost sight of their core business. On the other hand…

As of today it’s being reported the vulgar performance of a once heralded child star has pushed the Nielsen® ratings for the VMA Awards™ up over 60%. It is also widely considered to be a low point for this brand. While simultaneously it is assumed they have lost sight of their core business. (Remember when MTV® actually played music videos?)


One is going to look at their numbers and do everything possible to halt their slide and change direction. The other?

If numbers were the only measurement – there would be no need for any discussion or insinuation there was a right or wrong choice for either.

Never be afraid to assert whether or not the “numbers” are the end all – be all or, the only metric that’s relevant. More often than not everyone else will get so focused on just the numbers – they’ll miss the big picture.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr   www.MarkStCyr.com