Imposter syndrome tactics and all about fallout rate

A quick personal update

(no hard feelings if you’re here for the education, skip on ahead)

OK, It MUST be that time of year for the speaking circuit.

First up I’ve been busy preparing for an upcoming presentation at the Data & Analytics Summit in Sydney next week. A colleague of mine David Grinberg (aka Grinners) our Head of Marketing Technology Development at The Lumery and I are covering The future of identity: where does it live in the modern analytics stack? We’ll be chatting all things crumbling cookies, data clean rooms, walled-garden ID’s and what identifiers you actually need to know for activation and attribution (spoiler alert – they’re different)!

Secondly, the very following day, I’ll be speaking at Destination Victoria on all things GA4. If you’re subscribed to me you would have to be living under a rock if you don’t already know you effectively have one-and-a-bit months to sort all of that out (unless you’re on 360, but even then, don’t let that delay you – change management takes time folks)!

Thirdly, though a few weeks ago now, I’m excited that my passionate chat with Jim Gianoglio for the Measure Up Podcast and author MMM Hub is now live! Jim and I get very vulnerable and talk about how we both transitioned into analytics roles, imposter syndrome (and later, of course, attribution)! Listen to our chat here

So with that update, it was my chat with Jim along with a conversation with a few conversations with my team that inspired this week’s “Week in Review”. 

Week in review reflection 

The concept of imposter syndrome is pretty well documented and has entered the mainstream lexicon now (I do not feel the need to explain it).

What I have always known is that I’ve suffered from this ailment but what I have come to realise in managing and coaching a team of analytics professionals this year, is that this feeling seems to be pretty universal. 

I’m talking about very capable people here, who feel on some days, as though they don’t deserve to be in a room solving hard problems. 

Here’s the thing, imposter syndrome or not, sometimes we have days where we just are not on our best game. 

Maybe we didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe we skipped lunch. Maybe we have stuff going on at home and our mind is a little preoccupied.

Even still, maybe we have none of these reasons to be a little off our a-game but we’re just served up a question that JOLTS our nervous system and leaves our brain doing something like this…

Actual footage of my brain saying to me “Excuse me Kathryn I know you KNOW the answer to this… come back brain!” 

Suffice to say there’s a lot of broad but helpful information online about how to work through feelings of imposter syndrome, but I’ve been yet to see a set of tactics, a practical guide on what to do in THAT moment. 

You know the moment I’m talking about. 

You’re delivering a presentation. You’re referencing a number of hard figures backing up your position. You are in a room full of eyeballs and someone asks…..

“Where did you get those figures from? They don’t look right to me”


“Did you use the Bayesian approach to calculate that?”

I’m kind of kidding around with this meme. Coming prepared to understand your work is a no-brainer, but there’s more to it.

Don’t get me wrong. My team knows that every report we deliver has clear annotations and an appendix full of our data sources, assumptions and calculation methodologies

We also spend a great deal of time circulating and getting acceptance from key stakeholders early in the piece to mitigate risk. Even still, you can’t work with everyone in an organisation and this can still happen (you could still be led astray)!

Often too, we can get a sense of why the question is being asked. In my experience, the “tone” of the question is usually one of the following: 

  1. An interest to explore with genuine curiosity; you have rapport with this individual and they are interested in a dialogue and discussion; or
  2. A question a heckler asks to show how much they know in that room 

(we’ve all seen it)

If it feels like the former, it’s an opportunity to act curious and engage in a dialogue. Do not get defensive and learn how to lean into discomfort wherever you can. It really is a muscle. The more you try it, the easier it becomes. 

If it’s the latter kind of question however, it’s a loser’s game. Therefore, my tactic is to reframe and side step entirely. 

Therefore, first approach is to always lean into curiosity. “Not looking right” in what context? Get to the bottom of the question right then and there. Be willing to lean into the discomfort of problem solving in the moment. That means not being afraid to say things like:

“Interesting. Can you tell me a little more about why these numbers seem to conflict with your current understanding?” 

This approach also gives you a chance to better understand if the individual asking is referencing a non-evidence based belief, or an evidence-based one. Regardless you can then find yourself being willing to refer to the data sources and methodology to confirm what these numbers mean. 

Okay so that’s the preferred course of action – but what if you have a heckler. A type 2 question. Or even if you don’t but your brain simply decides to shut down in the anxiety of it all – what do you do then?

This has happened to me, so I’ve developed some strategies. Some sound bites if you will. 

Here is a list of the sound bites I’ve logged in my vault ready for these moments. They’ve got me through some sticky situations and I hope that you never need to use them, but if you do, that they help get you through.

When it makes sense to reframe. 

Use this one when the question is actually drawing you away from solving the problem at hand. Perhaps it’s about a peripheral detail but not core to the problem that is being solved. 

“I know you are asking me this question but I think the question we need to be asking is….” 

When you are pretty sure you know the answer, you just want a chance to breathe and carefully consider your response.

“I love that you are even asking that question! I don’t want to derail this session as I know we have limited time but I would love to dig into the detail with you after this?” 

When you just completely need to deflect and continue on.

Use this when all else fails. Say you don’t know but give a date you can promise to get back to them by.

 “That’s a great question, I am curious too actually… I don’t have the information at hand for that one but let me come back to you by [INSERT DATE] with a response?”

“I couldn’t be sure without taking a look into… but let me come back to you by [INSERT DATE]”

To reiterate – I’d never side step a question from a growth mindset focused individual who is genuinely interested in a dialogue to problem solve. Those kinds of people are the best possible people you can work with. 

Even still, it’s good to have a few tactics up your sleeve in case you get the other kinds of people too, or if your brain just decides to check out in those moments you feel you needed it most (thanks brain)! 

That’s it for this week’s “week in review”. A bit more “soft skill” based this week.

Literacy foundations

Fallout Rate.

Fallout Rate indicates the rate at which potential customers drop out or disengage at various stages of the marketing funnel. It compares the total number of individuals who did not progress through to a stage with the total number of individuals who had the potential to do so. 

It is used as an indicator for marketers to measure the effectiveness of their funnel, quantifying the number of individuals who could be considered “lost” in the context of the point in time that funnel volumes are being observed. 

While the funnel provides a total indicator of the potential opportunity that was initially driven and was subsequently “lost”, marketers require additional contextual metrics to understand traits of the types of people who were lost, to better understand how their marketing efforts are performing. 

If the total fallout rate is low, a marketer can conclude that the total marketing efforts deployed across the mix of activities, at the point in time the funnel is being observed are on balance, effective. 

If the fallout rate if high however, this indicates the customers that are being targeted are either not market fit customers for the product or service being sold, or they are not in a position to be making a decision at the point in time the funnel is being observed. 

It is for this reason that marketers need to combine fallout rate with deeper insights into customer and channel performance. 

Some possible reasons customers may “fall out” of a funnel at a point in time include: 

  • The targeting and/or messaging is not effective; customers who do not resonate with the value proposition or are not in the right mindset to buy are being targeted
  • If the path to conversion is long (e.g. a larger purchase such as a home or car), there could be business cycle or seasonal impacts to the funnel where more top of funnel customers are browsing but not yet in a position to buy
  • The targeting is effective but there is otherwise an issue preventing a purchase from being made; whether that be a technical problem such as a website being down, or a product being out of stock

To best contextualise Fallout Rate, marketers must observe this alongside a customer segmentation framework and product performance. A customer segmentation framework should indicate traits such as the number of past customers vs prospects and of these, the proportion of new and returning. A time series analysis should also be considered alongside Fallout Rate figures to contextualise the point in time for the business cycle or seasonality that may impact the marketers ability to meaningfully fill a funnel full of customers who are in the right mindset of their purchase journey. A product performance report supports the team to rule out other reasons a customer may not have been able to complete their purchase.

Calculating fallout rate

To calculate fallout rate, take the total potential opportunity that could have continued through to the next stage of a funnel (e.g. awareness stage, consideration stage, conversion stage) and divide by the number of people who did continue through to the next stage. Potential divided by actuals. 

Hi I'm Kate! I'm relentlessly curious about the attribution and origin of things. Especially as it relates to being a corporate girly balancing ambition and a life filled with joy.

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