If you are that analytical type – this just goes against the grain. Clearly X is the independent variable and Y is dependent on X.
Y=mX+ B. We all know that. You would really rather that I focus on the X and then tell you what happens when X is varied. And then you are free to produce the Y.
But this is not text book math that we are dealing with. It is the real world. And in the real world, starting with a bunch of X’s and formulating the function for Y is pretty muddied. It’s just that every single X out there does not practice monogamy with just a single function at a time. In fact whatever X you choose to study is going to be part of many different functions. So maybe you should just pick the Y that matters to you and work backwards to figure out which X’s go into the creation of that Y.
In this analogy, Y is the real customer that you need to win over. The one who has the problem that you are solving; understands the constraints and limitations of how they are operating now; would derive great real-world benefits by adopting your product offering; and is WILLING to spend money to adopt the solution. So if you are presented with the real deal – a bonafide customer – you have to treat them as the ideal Y and then go and figure out those X’s and how they come together to make that Y. If you can do that, you have yourself an invaluable source of marketing content which you can use to shape all your messaging and effectively bring in a steady flow of new Y’s.
But often there is a breakdown in getting through that process. Assuming you recognize the correct Y when you see it – i.e. they are willing to give you money, then the bigger breakdown occurs when you derive the wrong set of X’s. And then, in the pursuit of maximizing productivity, you incessantly resort to dividing your labor to focus on cranking out as much of those X’s as you possible can. And so it goes. You could be getting lots of page views, lots of downloads etc. But if you are not getting a proportional increase in sales – you are not getting more Y’s. Have you ever heard some say: “We are doing everything right – but we are not getting results.”
So where does that leave you?
You need to get to know that genuine Y, better than you do. Or you need to get to know more of them. It leaves you with the need to go back to only the bonafide Y’s and try again to figure out what the real X’s are, and how they come together to create the Y. The true challenge rests in how the communication with Y takes place. If you treat Y as a test subject to be diagnosed to find out the X’s, the exchange may be short lived. Nobody really wants to be the test subject.
On the other hand, if Y is treated as a partner in your quest to understand the X’s, they will uncover the gems of information that are invaluable in continuing to formulate and refine your marketing content. And to be that partner for you – you must deliver additional and special value which provides the return on time investment that will genuinely motivate Y. I stand by my conviction, give me Y and I will give you X. And if you can’t give me Y – you don’t have a business.