How to Prioritize Like a Billionaire

By Taylor Pearson

Meditations / Pixabay

Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Dwight Eisenhower

In Justin Mares’ and Gabriel Weinberg’s book Traction Marketing, they offer a method for evaluating potential marketing opportunities called a bullseye analysis.

A bullseye analysis is an expected value calculator for marketing channels and initiatives.

The way it works is you enter some guesstimates for different criteria of each marketing channel or initiative you are considering like:

  1. how promising they were
  2. how expensive it was
  3. how much time it took to implement
  4. how many customers were available

The spreadsheet would spit back an expected value that let you prioritize what marketing channels to test first.

I copied their document and made a few modifications to suit my preferences and put it to work immediately.

Here’s what my first iteration of using it looked like:

The final column, combined score, lets you prioritize all potential marketing opportunities. Apologies for the blurring, but some of these involve specific people who did not give me explicit permission to use their names so I chose to keep them private.

Ideally, you’d want to focus on marketing channels that are likely to work, cheap, fast and have lots of customers.

Of course, there are rarely any magic bullets and so you always have to make tradeoffs.

The bullseye spreadsheet is a great tool to better understand those trade-offs so you can decide how to prioritize your marketing channels.

I quickly realized that it was useful for prioritizing anything, not just marketing initiatives.

So I created a more broadly usable version that let me calculate the expected value of different high-level opportunities.

I started using it as part of my quarterly planning process and teaching it in my course to evaluate which initiatives to prioritize.

I would list out everything I could potentially work on over the next 90 days and then rank them by a few criteria:

  1. time required
  2. cash required
  3. how excited I was about it
  4. short-term ROI
  5. long-term ROI

I found it was rarely accurate as a predictive tool, but it was a helpful tool for forcing me to think through the possibilities and better understand them.

  • Why am I more excited about one thing as opposed to another?
  • Why do I think this has better long-term ROI than that?
  • Is this really that expensive or can I get it done cheaper without sacrificing quality?

I used this for about a year and taught it in my personal productivity course. It was an improvement over my previous system, but I realized there were a couple of problems with it.

First, the time and cash required fields were redundant and added unnecessary complexity.

I would end up just ranking them then asking myself “how many of these do I actually have the time and cash to execute on in the next 90 days” and then do that many.

Second, I realized the calculator was linear even though it was being applied to projects with power law outcomes.

In the above image, the best opportunity gives a score of 13, not even twice as good the worst opportunity, 7. This is a linear relationship.

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Source:: Business 2 Community

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