We went to London this weekend to visit a friend. I was overtaking a lorry on the motorway when suddenly the car shuddered and lost power. A yellow engine light appeared on the dash.
We went from 80 miles per hour down to 65, down to 55…
When you really need to move over no lorry driver will give you space.
With a junction approaching we rolled over the chevron markings and stuttered gratefully into the hard shoulder area.
Now, my idea of engineering is to know where the engine is and who to call to fix it.
As we sat on the motorway embankment watching lorries thunder past, I realised that the most painful thing is uncertainty. Would we have to be towed home? Was there a serious problem with the car? Would it be expensive to fix?
The good thing about breaking down on the motorway is the breakdown people don’t waste any time coming to move you. Within 15 minutes a tow truck had arrived to take us to ‘a place of refuge’, otherwise known as the services.
At the services the driver plugged in a code-reader into the engine, and told me that cylinder 1 had misfired. Which in a Volkswagen usually means a faulty coil pack. He also offered to send someone out with a new one.
Suddenly we went from a high degree of uncertainty, to a moderate degree of certainty. You don’t mind waiting around when you know exactly what the problem is.
We’re going to talk this week about certainty in marketing.
When you choose to work with a marketing provider what most people really want is certainty. You want to sleep easy at night knowing your AdWords budget is being spent wisely. You want somebody to validate your strategy. You want to be certain than any money you spend will be a good investment.
Marketing agencies are exceptionally good at selling certainty, where in fact very little certainty exists.
They don’t quite lie to you, but they don’t quite tell you the truth either…