You can’t argue with facts, right? Fact: 46% of the people reading this blog have an undergraduate degree from a four-year university. Fact: 57% of all baseball fans have been to at least one major league ballpark and have a souvenir to prove it. Fact: 13% of all private pilots have experienced a near miss with another aircraft in controlled airspace. Fact: 100% of the statistics above were made up just now as I wrote them.
One of the truths about anything presented as being fact is that people are inclined to believe it. That can be dangerous because sometimes facts are not, in fact, facts. All too often what passes for a fact is not fact at all, but rather, an assumption. There’s a very big difference between a fact and an assumption and while a fact can sometimes be mistaken for an assumption, an assumption should never be mistaken for a fact. Assumptions are nothing more than a best guess and my best guess is that your best guess is no better than the next person’s best guess.
But statistics indicate 63% of you would be surprised at how many marketing programs are actually entirely based on someone’s best guess!
After all, management, based on their many years in the business, assumes they can pretty much tell you what their customers are thinking about their company and its products. They’ve been in the industry long enough to assume they know exactly who their competition is and what will move consumers to buy. All too often, the people responsible for their marketing program buy into these same assumptions and base entire marketing efforts on someone’s “best guess.” And more than 6% of the time they’re right!
Do the math.
We do things a little differently. We start out assuming nothing. We believe the best way to determine what consumers are thinking about a company and its products is to go ask them. The best way to determine who or what is competing for the dollars a consumer might spend with you is to go ask them. The surest way to determine what the most effective message should be to move consumers to buy is to go ask them. It’s called research and it should be the first money you spend from your marketing budget. The ROI on effective research is tremendous, especially compared to the ROI on a marketing program based on someone’s best guess.
How reliable are assumptions? Wouldn’t you assume everyone would know the answers to the following questions?
1. What is Hillary Clinton’s official title? (53% answered correctly)
2. What is the Vice President of the United States’ first name? (47% answered correctly)
3. What does Derek Jeter do for a living? (54% answered correctly)
4. How many United States senators do we have? (43% answered correctly)
The smartest thing a marketer can do is learn to distinguish between a fact and an assumption. A fact that is, in fact, a fact is to be trusted. An assumption should always be suspect.
Is your marketing based on facts or assumptions? Find out. We can help you sort it all out.
* Only one of the statistics presented as fact in this blog is, in fact, a fact. Can you identify it?
Co-Founder, Love Scott & Associates