Have you ever watched a movie that you thought was pretty good, and later saw that almost all of the reviews by professional movie critics were negative? There's a reason why that happens, and the same issues that plague movie critics can also affect you as a marketer.
Let's talk about how.
First, let's answer the question: Why are critical reviews always worse than user reviews? I challenge you to go to Yahoo! Movies and find a movie where the overall critical grade is higher than the the average user grade. I've never seen it happen -- though there may be a few rare instances I just don't know about.
That used to drive me crazy. I'd watch a good movie and see that the critics gave it a C- and the users a B+. "Are critics really that clueless?" I thought.
No, they're not clueless. The problem is exactly the opposite -- they know too much about movies.
Let me give you an example: let's say you build houses for a living. When you walk through a house to size it up and see what it's worth, you're going to see every design and cosmetic flaw in that house. You'll see them because you know where to look, and you understand what you're looking at. After all, you build houses, too. But the average person might walk through that house and say "Wow, what a great house!"
A home builder would think less of a house because he knows how to spot the flaws. In the same way, movie critics think less of the movies because they know how to spot the flaws. Thus it's rare to see a movie with a higher critical score than user score.
What does any of this have to do with your business? Everything. In a previous post on avoiding perfectionism I talked about the need to just get things done well and get it out the door rather than trying to release an absolutely perfect product (there's no such thing).
What I'm talking about here is related. Just like perfectionism can prevent you from ever releasing a product because it's never quite perfect, over-analyzing can prevent you from taking actions that might benefit your business.
Jeff Stibel, the current Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet, put it very well in an article he wrote about analysis-paralysis:
Yes, wisdom comes from your gut. So when making a business decision, take in the amount of knowledge and data you can manage, then trust your gut to do its job. That approach has served me very well in my 7 years of Internet Marketing and product development. Each year has brought new and greater success than the last.
In a way I feel sorry for movie critics, because it's so much harder for them to enjoy a movie. Instead of just kicking back with some 'corn and a soda, watching the flick and having a good time, they're busy noticing every failed theatrical device and every minor mistake made by the cast. What a great way to ruin a wonderful pastime -- and your business, too!
Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.