Here’s a vital question I have from a recent discussion with my CEO at the Student Loan Network:

What happened to the other 98%?

We talk a lot, especially in marketing, about click through, conversion, and retention rates. Invariably, these rates are small fractions in all of the discussions I’ve had. 1% click through rate, 10% open rate, etc.

When you turn these metrics around, they’re a little more depressing.

90% did not open rate.
99% did not click through rate.
95% did not buy something rate.
96% did not volunteer rate.
94% did not complete the form rate.

As a marketer, that looks appalling, so we state things in the positive – ooh, that cold calling campaign landed a 2% conversion rate.

What the heck is happening to the other 98%? Didn’t open? Why not? Didn’t click? Why not?

Often we talk in marketing about increasing market share or conversion by a few percentage points.

Why don’t we ever talk about increasing conversion by an order of magnitude?

If you were in charge of a marketing campaign, how would you get the did X/did not X rates to switch places?

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What happened to the other 98%? 1 What happened to the other 98%? 2 What happened to the other 98%? 3

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