When what you see is not what you get

Yesterday I highlighted the survivorship bias that comes along with goal setting.

Which is a manifestation of the broader problem we have of conflating correlation and causation.

Take, for example, the almost perfect correlation (r=0.947) between per capita cheese consumption and the number of people who have died by becoming tangled in their bedsheets (brought to us via Tyler Vigen).

what you see correlation

Now when I first saw this, as a card-carrying high-volume cheese consumer, I became very concerned and decided to sleep sheet-less for a night or two.

But then, I came to my senses after a few of the interviews I’ve conducted with firm principals about their lead generation demonstrated my error.

Upon inspection of their website (email opt-ins and all), blog content, and LinkedIn activity, it seemed as though they “should” have been pulling in opportunity after opportunity via inbound request.

The reality?

These were actually outward signals of a desire to head in that direction, not yet realized, with the large majority of historical business won through…

You guessed it…


And so the question is:

Is inbound content marketing the per capita cheese consumption of the consulting world?

Well, clearly it can be.

But, as I frequently argue

I believe this “spurious correlation” isn’t just a statistical pattern-matching issue, but instead an indication of something missing in the hidden mechanics that underlie a successful email-based lead generation engine.


If you’re curious if there are some changes you could make to the hidden mechanics behind your firm’s lead generation engine to turn correlation into causation (a.k.a. actually start generating legitimate inbound leads), I can help you answer that question.

Click here to take a short survey and schedule a time to chat.

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