Tests that don’t count

Call me a skeptic (please I don’t mind) but I think that new marketing concepts or techniques that claim to show where a brand is going in the future are worth nothing UNTIL there is independent replicated empirical evidence supporting this bold claim.

And just in the same way you wouldn’t (indeed can’t) buy a new pharmaceutical drug until some testing has been done on it, no marketing manager should spend their shareholders’ money based on unproven claims. They would be better off spending it on doing some testing themselves – if it works they will have discovered something competitors don’t know, likewise if it doesn’t work.

Marketing consultancy abounds with concepts, frameworks, research and modelling techniques that claim to indicate brand health and predict the future. They target weak minded and hopeful marketing managers. Many (most ?) of these models are based on empirical support that is no more convincing than that for palm reading or astrology.

Trustworthy findings are trustworthy because of direct empirical tests of the predictive claims, done multiple times (in different contexts) by independent and preferably different teams of researchers. There is no short cut…

“But the technique is ultra new, modern, it’s the leading edge” – doesn’t count. These are just code words for “untested”, and “unsupported by theory or data”.

“It’s very complicated, very expensive and difficult” – doesn’t count.

“The sample size was huge” – doesn’t count.

“It is statistically significant” – doesn’t count.

“Clients like it” – doesn’t count.

“Qualitative supports it” – doesn’t count.


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