I received an email earlier this week from Jim Geurts titled 13 Stats to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Mobile in 2013. It was a great read – I’d highly encourage you to spend a few minutes with it. A sampling: 25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.
The content was great. But what I appreciated even more were the sources. (The stat above comes from Knotice).
In the Digital Age, facts can lose context easily. And, with an ever-increasing supply of “fact,” there is danger in Googling for answers. The numbers that seem too good to be true? They can be just that.
If a number is important, follow it to its source. A recent non-marketing example drives the point home as clearly as any I’ve seen. It comes from an article in this month’s Atlantic titled How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?:
The widely cited statistic that one in three women ages 35 to 39 will not be pregnant after a year of trying, for instance, is based on an article published in 2004 in the journal Human Reproduction. Rarely mentioned is the source of the data: French birth records from 1670 to 1830. The chance of remaining childless—30 percent—was also calculated based on historical populations… In other words, millions of women are being told when to get pregnant based on statistics from a time before electricity, antibiotics, or fertility treatment.
It’s not a marketing example, but the author’s point can – and must – be applied to anyone seeking truth online these days: “Most people assume these numbers are based on large, well-conducted studies… but they are not.”
Know your numbers. But, as importantly, know your sources.
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