Posted: 2008-12-16 22:36:17
Shortcut URL: http://t.conquent.com/Q000
The (un)importance of statistics
@CarriBugbee took a look at my note about creating a Conquent branded url shortener and mentioned a service she uses that gives her tracking. Which is great -- the Conquent version has tracking, too, but only for internal use.
But this brought up a point that I've been unable to make for years -- people don't care about statistics. They'll say they do, they'll demand statistics, they'll pour over the details, but at the end of the day, they won't make a single, substantive change in their plans based on statistics.
Much of what we do in the entrepreneurial world is based on faith. Faith that we know something other people don't know and that facts are deceiving. Faith that even though everything seems to be pointing in the other direction, we're headed the right way.
I've found that when my clients are faced with cold hard facts, be they statistics or surveys or focus groups or whatever, they tend to rationalize why the numbers are wrong. Sure, they may authorize some minor tweaks to a media plan, but overall business direction usually remains the same no matter what.
I'm not saying that statistics aren't relevant; to the contrary, you can't make a firm decision without the facts. What I'm saying is that these statistics are usually irrelevant to most business people. Unless a client is willing to let go of the emotional or political investment they have in their project, statistics will just be a point of argument, not a change in direction.