Forget the elephant in the room, focus on the HiPPO

We’ve all sat in that meeting. Years of first-hand experience, reams of exciting ideas and campaign proposals backed up with pages of data. In enters the HiPPO. 

No, not the large semiaquatic mammal but the “HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion”. The buzz is quickly shot down with decisions based on emotion, theory or a “one-size-fits-all” solution. 

Suddenly the room falls quiet, tension mounts and everyone leaves the room feeling deflated (not to mention the potential damage caused to the business). 

The HiPPO theory originates from a study by the Rotterdam School of Management which found that projects led by senior managers had a lower success rate than those run by more junior employees. It transpired that staff felt more comfortable offering opinions, challenging assumptions and giving feedback based on fact in teams where senior managers were less present.  

So, what does this mean from a marketing point of view? 

The problem with letting the HiPPO take the reins is that you then end up ignoring data to back up any decisions. For example (in the most basic terms), you could be deciding how to personalise your email marketing efforts based on location. A HiPPO might say that your target audience is based in the USA, however, your Marketing Manager (armed with a map of email opens) knows that the majority of recipients are based in Germany. The HiPPO declares their assumptions and the Marketing Manager instantly feels unable to showcase the real-time data. 

This could lead to incorrect information or irrelevant news being given to your target market, who will no doubt quickly shut off. Loss of relevance? Loss of clients. 

A HiPPO is also likely to ignore the wisdom of the crowd, therefore neglecting knowledge from front-line staff. 

How do you deal with a HiPPO? 

  1. Increase awareness of the HiPPO effect and have open discussions about data based decision making 
  2. Remove the spotlight – try and encourage less senior employees to speak up and have their say! 
  3. Present data in a visual, hard to ignore way 

Are you a HiPPO? 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’ve had X amount of years experience so I know best.” You’ve got to where you have for a reason – you’re good! However, listening to your team is key to ensuring you all make the best decisions for your business. Don’t let the power go to your head and learn from the people you’ve painstakingly hired and trusted to do their job. 

Need a hand with figuring out the data from the bias? We create marketing strategies that directly align with your sales numbers. If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy, get in touch today on 01392 796 702.

How fearless marketing will make you serious money. Be Brave. Sell More.

Does your marketing approach need a shake up? Tired of sending out the same old fluff and seeing the same low ROI? Then this guide is for you. 

We’ve put together 4 lessons to help you think differently about your marketing strategy, ultimately resulting in more sales and long lasting relationships with your ideal customer. 

Be brave and look closer at the numbers 

Shy away from the nitty gritty of your target numbers no more! Grab those numbers by the horns and start making the profit you deserve. 

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • How much needs to come from renewal or existing customers? 
  • Is marketing responsible for delivering a target of qualified leads? 
  • Do you know the conversion rate from a marketing qualified lead (MQL) vs a sales qualified lead (SQL)? 

Start from a place of enlightenment! Get these numbers in place. Now. 

Be brave with your content 

We’ve all heard that famous quote: ‘Content is King’. Your customers want to know about your products, your opinions and how all of it makes a difference for them and their business. 

Read these stats: 

  • 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands with CEOs that are active on social 
  • 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them 
  • 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience 

And read them again. Then have a look at what’s missing from your current content and dare we say it… idea storm! 

Be brave with your targeting 

Heard of the “sneezer effect”? Enough is enough! 

We all like to feel special. The trouble with ‘catch-all’ marketing and aiming for a broad appeal is that you actively alienate the people who need your product most and instead, focus on casting a wide-net and filling it with fairly uninterested fish. 

Start by: 

Who wants to spend all their time and effort convincing everyone to like you, when you could preach to the almost converted instead? 

Be brave with your delivery 

Marketing trends come and go, but creativity endures. It’s tough to stand out in a fast-paced attention economy. When everybody’s talking, why should they listen to you? 

Most of us carry around a super powerful computer in the palm of our hands that targets us with advertisements based on our preferences. There’s no shortage of content out there, but how often does it make you think, you know what, I want to discover more about this? 

Have a look at the way you currently deliver your content and see if you can apply these 3 small changes: 

  • People are smarter than you think – don’t over-explain 
  • Incorporate clever print into your campaigns 
  • Use your competitor’s campaigns as examples but try and analyse what could have been done better or more creatively 

It’s all in the delivery. 


Download our guide. Get brave. Sell more.