Top of Mind Thursday – February 8, 2024: Not Knowing What You Don’t Know

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I got absolutely no email for 12 hours yesterday.

Nada. No responses to email I sent. No messages I was expecting from clients and colleagues. No promotional offers. Not even a single piece of spam.

It turns out that on Feb 1st, Google and Yahoo implemented a new verification to prevent spam from email senders. This requires new authentication processes put in place for newsletters like this one.

It also meant that some of my 1:1 emails to and from clients and others were now blocked. In an effort to fix the problem, my domain provider actually made things worse, so that for half a day nothing got through at all. If you tried to email me yesterday, you probably got an error saying my account didn’t exist. Gee, where did Linda go?

While it was nice not to have all that unimportant stuff to wade through, it was also annoying. What important messages was I missing? People who had my cell number began texting me, but others may have just given up. Was it worth it to keep trying to reach me? Maybe not.

The problem with not getting information is you don’t know what it is you don’t know. And while not getting email for a day is not a life-threatening situation, not getting other information might be.

During the pandemic, many people put off routine medical screenings. As a result, more cancers were missed and caught later, when they were harder to treat—resulting in an unexpected rise in cancer-related deaths.

If you are an air traffic controller or a brain surgeon, not knowing critical information could be the difference between landing the plane safely or saving the patient—and disaster. If you’re a type 1 diabetic and don’t know if your blood sugar is very low or very high, you can wind up in the hospital—or worse.

And if you run a business, not knowing when your customers need your help can be the beginning of the end of the relationship.

What systems do you have in place to make sure you are up to speed on what’s going on in your business? How will you limit what it is you don’t know but should?

The only thing worse than finding out you have a serious problem is not finding out until it’s too late to fix it. If only you’d known what it is you didn’t know. . . .

Check out our marketing leadership podcasts and the video trailer for my book, Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing that Matters.

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