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this week's Marketing
Last month I was surprised to run across this on a sales
page: "With 8 of 10 Americans doing the majority of their
shopping online these days..."
Statistics slipup #1: No source was listed.
Since I knew the person behind that page, I emailed her
asking for the source of that data. She sent a link.
Statistics slipup #2: She'd misconstrued what she read.
The study cited in that link reported that 79 percent of
Americans have shopped online. That is, 8 out of 10
Americans have at some point bought something online - a far
cry from 8 out of 10 doing most shopping online.
Statistics slipup #3: The error was not corrected.
Although the woman I emailed graciously acknowledged that
she had misinterpreted the survey, as of last night, the
error remains. Isn't that marketing malpractice? She is
now knowingly misleading readers for her company's profit.
Numbers from reputable studies are a key persuasion tool in
marketing. But always tell people where your numbers come
from. Make certain you're accurately reporting the study
results. And post corrections right away if you made a
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