Whether we think we do or not, we are all victims of fallacies in our decision making processes. Knowing what those fallacies are is the first step in moving beyond them and becoming a marketing decision making pro!
The Straw Man Fallacy
The straw man fallacy is one you’ll recognize. It’s when an opponent over simplifies what you’re saying in order to make it easier to pull apart. You can see this when talking with a business partner (we’ll call him John for our purposes) about outsourcing:
You: I think we could add value to our company by outsourcing our marketing.
John: So you think we should invest money outside of our company instead of focusing on our in-house team? I think that will be too hard to manage and hurt us in the long run.
Ok there John, I think you missed the point. Many people cite outsourcing as a way to save money and add value to the company since employees are expensive. If this is a conclusion you jump to or a conversation you’ve had, consider these reasons to outsource your marketing and add value to your company.
The False Dilemma Fallacy
The false dilemma fallacy is one of the most common and it creates a major problem where one doesn’t necessarily exist. Let’s go back to our chat with John to see how this plays out:
You: Our landing page hasn’t had any conversions this week although there’s been an increase in clicks.
John: Clearly the landing page isn’t working, why are we even trying, let’s just take it down.
Do you see what just happened? John turned a simple delay into the apocalypse, ok not quite the apocalypse but you get the idea. Instead of seeking to understand the challenges, John narrowed the situation down to two possibilities creating panic instead of productive problem solving.
Most projects have a bit of wiggle room in them, and it’s ok for delays to happen within reason. Instead of panicking and creating an ultimatum in regards to your marketing, think of other solutions and brainstorm a way to solve the problem rather than pulling the plug.
The Hasty Generalization Fallacy
This fallacy may feel a bit like the false dilemma fallacy, but it’s different in it’s own way. The hasty generalization fallacy makes a decision with evidence to support it. Let’s check back in on your chat with John to see this in action:
You: Our most recent Facebook post has seen double the engagement of all the post this week.
John: Fantastic! Let’s keep all our posts just like that one from here on out. Clearly our audience wants to know about what you shared.
Ok there John, I don’t think you understand the way data works. You have to view data as a whole and not as a snippet, that’s how we get alternative facts. When you’re making data based decisions regarding your marketing plans it’s important to collect ALL the data. If you judge a whole campaign on just one piece you’ll never get the full picture.
The Middle Ground Fallacy
When two extremes are presented, the Middle Ground Fallacy assumes the best solution is to compromise. This can create many disjointed and confusing marketing campaigns. Let’s check back in with your chat with John to see what we mean:
You: I really think we need a brand new website, ours is outdated and isn’t converting anymore. It was built in 2010 and isn’t mobile friendly.
John: We don’t need a new website, we don’t even need to change anything it’s perfect.
You: We haven’t had a website conversion in over 6 months…
John: Oh ok, well let’s just make a few changes, we don’t need a whole overhaul.
Ok there John. If you make compromises you’ll often end up right where you started. Sometimes the middle ground is the right way, but more often than not, there is a better way. In this case, a few changes won’t fix the big problem of mobile friendliness which our friend, Google, cares about A LOT.
(BTW, We have a free mobile-friendliness test we can run your site through. Request your report now.)
The Fallacy Fallacy
Here’s where things get tricky… just because someone uses a fallacy in their argument doesn’t mean their argument is inherently wrong. John in the above examples may be quick to make decisions and bad at reading data, but his conclusions aren’t inherently incorrect. Before jumping to conclusions and committing another fallacy, do more research.
For example, if you have a successful Facebook post, try out others similar to it and see what happens before making a decision one way or the other. Look for a solution to low conversions before simply scraping a campaign. Due diligence can take you far in your marketing efforts and making decisions based on all the data is your best bet.
If you need help with your marketing decisions, reach out today to schedule, we can help make informed decisions and clarify your message.