Everyday people make assumptions on just about anything they encounter, and while it can help them gauge possibilities, it can also deter them from taking risks and jumping into opportunities that can make things better.
It’s the fear of failure and disappointment that usually triggers this tendency to assume without even considering the pros and cons of a given circumstance. The thing is, with these ‘unsubstantiated’ assumptions you are likely to be more wrong than right.
For business, this can be a fatally destructive thing. If you look at the success stories of most businesses in our mainstream culture, you will see that the best decisions were made out of sheer risk-taking. But we’re talking about calculated risks here.
Making conclusions without proof
Take for example the plight of social media marketing. Until now, a lot of businesses are still reluctant to engage themselves into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites. Why? Because they already assumed that it won’t work. Because they assumed that B2B prospects are not on social media. Because they assumed that it does not have a clear ROI.
Now at some point they could be right – but to totally ignore the power of social media is definitely counter-productive to their business goals. Think of all the exposure and interaction they’re missing just because they don’t have any online presence. Clearly, those false assumptions have impacted the business dramatically.
(Mis)understanding the target market
Even seasoned businesses make the mistake of making bad assumptions. Whenever their sales numbers encounter a rocky road, they tend to scratch their heads out of confusion because they thought they had their target market all figured out.
Just because you’ve been offering the same set of products and services to your loyal customers doesn’t mean they won’t yearn for something fresh. Just because you’ve been sending the same marketing message since day one doesn’t mean it will not eventually lose it essence in the minds of the people. Marketers should never assume that they know their audience from head to toe. Lifestyles evolve and technologies develop. Hence, needs also change.
Research is the cure against false assumptions
If you’re not sure, why not employ the power of good old scientific method? We see a lot of sites that offer endless graphs and sheets of marketing statistics. Why? Because they know that false assumptions can mean the demise of businesses.
And that numbers don’t lie.