by GrowthPlay Library / January 5, 2015
Business is “supposedly” all about ROI. So, to attract new business most marketers believe we have to be able to prove it. A three-year P & L accounting of a customer’s return on their investment in this wonderful product or service could do the trick. Except they’re expensive and difficult if not impossible to track, and too boring, and too complex for most to read. Let’s face it, even if we could get them, P & Ls are not exciting enough to attract attention in the market clutter of claims, clamor, and clever hype! We need pictures, graphics, and human interest. The ideal solution: a Case Study. If the headline is compelling, and the story plausible, it will be accepted at face value. The fact that the GREAT majority are trivial, irrelevant or actually misrepresentations gets forgotten. The problem:
many don’t pass the legitimate “smell test” of a truly analytic or statistical analysis.
Seth Godinmay may have put it best: “We don’t like to admit that we tell stories, that we’re in the placebo business. Of course, we need to persuade ourselves that it’s morally and ethically and financially okay to participate in something as immeasurable as the placebo effect. The effect is controversial and it goes largely unspoken. “Sadly, this manipulation and misrepresentation, has gotten so acceptable and pervasive there is even a company: Mega Placebos Plus™ that promises to bring the “awesome power of placebos to you in dozens of new ways.” They claim, “Absolutely nothing works as well as the multi-purpose placebos and placebo services we offer.” They guarantee it because “every product from Mega Placebos Plus™ is so easy to use–there’s really nothing to it! And there’s nothing to worry about!”
The second trick, typical with personality tests, type indicators, and style tests is to show the validity scores for the assessment measuring what its scales are labeled instead of future performance. In selection, we really shouldn’t care if a candidate is extroverted, we should only care if they will succeed in the job regardless if they are extroverted or not. Why? Because the real research has demonstrated that even in sales, many of the best salespeople are extroverted…but many are not!
Bottom line: “Lies…damn lies…and statistics” (if you don’t understand the statistical tricks) is true and we haven’t even talked about the marketing tools of “operant conditioning” or the more controversial persuasion techniques.
Seth Godin is a bestselling author who changed the way we think about marketing and work. Permission Marketing was an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller, a Fortune Best Business Book and on Business Week's bestseller list.
Validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims, the extent to which predictions made on the basis of test scores are accurate and meaningful.