At a very high level

Warning: this content is older than 365 days. It may be out of date and no longer relevant.


There are over 400 messages in my LinkedIn inbox that are unread. A good quarter of them are solicitations for feedback about someone’s project, someone’s book, someone’s this or that. (I will eventually get to those messages, just not soon) Almost all of those solicitations ask for feedback “at a very high level”.

That’s such an interesting ask, such an interesting request. What exactly does “at a very high level” mean to you? To me, it means something stripped of all of its tactics and execution details, all of its campaign strategy, and left only with a little bit of grand strategy and overall perception.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you had a web page that you were working on. What kinds of feedback might you receive?

Lowest Level of Feedback

I’d move the red button 14 pixels down and change the phone number to be (XXX) XXX-XXXX format. That should help conversion by a couple of percentage points.

Low Level of Feedback

The red button needs to be moved, and the format of the phone number standardized. Conversion should increase by about 2%.

Moderate Level of Feedback

The page layout needs to be improved. Clean things up and standardize them and conversion should increase a little.

High Level of Feedback

The website isn’t working as well as it could be. It’s messy. Clean it up and conversion should increase.

Very High Level of Feedback

The website probably isn’t going to do what you intend it to do.

As you work your way up from tactics to strategy to grand strategy, details get lost, little details that can point you in the right direction. The most valuable marketer on your team is going to be the marketer who can operate at a very high level (so as to be efficient and focus on the most dire problems), but when everyone else is stuck and there’s a burning problem, that marketer can jump from very high level to very low level. Such a marketer can then find the problem, fix it, and resume their high level work.

That’s what I hope you aspire to be as a marketer, and one of the reasons why, even at senior levels and in strategic roles, you still need to polish and perfect your marketing skills (particularly in the areas of creativity and technology). You should have an operational understanding of what’s going on so that you can lend fast, insightful assistance at every level of your organization.

What do you think? What’s your take?

You might also enjoy:

Want to read more like this from Christopher Penn? Get updates here:

subscribe to my newsletter here

AI for Marketers Book
Take my Generative AI for Marketers course!

Analytics for Marketers Discussion Group
Join my Analytics for Marketers Slack Group!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This