“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics” -Benjamin Disraeli
As I was recently scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, I noticed that practically every other headline was a statistic: from an article claiming that it’s 6x easier to sell existing clients than to generate new business to an infographic demonstrating that 42% of mobile phone users are concerned about companies knowing their alcohol consumption. With all of these numbers constantly being thrown around, I try to remember that 86.3% of them are completely fabricated.
I hope you saw this coming, but that last statistic was completely made up, and in all reality, the former two were most likely embellished by their publishers as well. It’s our nature to want to believe what we see, so naturally, we get swept up with new calculations and figures, even when it is difficult to deduce from where they came. Unfortunately, there are two main problems we face when we accept the false data with which we are presented:
The first problem is the COMMUNICATION OF MISINFORMATION.
In layman’s terms, there is an extreme likelihood of amplification of information. It happens all too often; companies take multiple reports, combine them on another spreadsheet, magnify the data, and issue these skewed results as a new analysis.
The second problem is that statistics are SELF SERVING.
In a perfect world, all statistics would be based on concrete evidence and facts. However, though it may be unethical, we all know that data is more frequently than not skewed to benefit the party who is conducting the research. From leaving out data to asking pointed questions, results can be driven in a very specific way that ensure the producing party receives the results intended, a surefire way to transform a harmless survey into a dangerous report. When you participate in surveys, we recommend that you ask yourself questions such as: “Who did the primary research? Were they paid to sponsor research?”. In doing so, you will be able to affirm the validity of the final report.
Though it sometimes takes a lot of digging, we know that there are reports out there that aren’t falsified, and here at InsideOut, we pledge that we will continue to produce validated content. In fact, we are currently working on a CXO Benchmark Survey that will compile real clear results and data that reflect the trends, applications, and best practices in our industry. Let your voice be heard by making your contribution to this honest report.