In business, marketing assumptions are critical to the strategy and tactics being used and the results that they achieve. Unfortunately assumptions are defined as “a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.” Therefore when your assumptions or the data you are using to arrive at them are incorrect, the strategies and tactics you develop for your marketing efforts will tend to be off as well.

A recent study depicts this issue really well by showing that only 45% of business owners say web traffic from search engines is an important source of new opportunity for their business. Additionally, only 39% of business owners believe their website is correctly optimized for search engine traffic.

Now if the assumptions of the 55% of business owners that search engine traffic is NOT an important source of new business, they have a really big problem on their hands. Using this assumption, they are developing strategies, tactics and mediums that have a higher focus than search. Providing that this assumption is based on real data and not their past experience with terrible search marketing efforts, this may indeed be wise. However, if the assumption being made is not based on industry data and instead is solely based on their experience, many other considerations should have been taken into account.

Required Questions To Ensure Proper Assumptions:

Using our example of small business owners above, here are just a few additional questions that should have been included to validate the assumptions these business owners are making.

  1. Did they hire a search marketing company to do their SEO and PPC marketing?
  2. Was the search marketing company qualified and did they do it effectively?
  3. Did they use a DIY (do it yourself) approach to their search marketing?
  4. Were they qualified to do their own search marketing?
  5. How did they track the results from past search marketing efforts?

Without knowing enough about the sample of businesses that were questioned in the study by The Small Business Authority, it is extremely difficult to know the experience, type and professionalism of the businesses surveyed. Therefore it is also difficult to know if the findings are accurate or were the questions asked in a way that simply supports the company’s products and services. Are you following me here?

Data Can Be Contradicting:

Depending on the source of the data, the science behind its collection and the motivation behind the collection of the data, the assumptions derived from it can be contradicting. Let’s take coffee, wine or fruit for example. It seems like every other month a new study is released that says contrary to what we were told about the health effects of these items just months before. Drink more wine for a healthy heart one day, yet wine can be dangerous the next.

Diving into the data at a deeper level is required before making firm assumptions regarding your marketing efforts. In the case of research data, it is important to understand the source, the motivation for the study or statistics as well as the group the data was collected from. Regarding digital marketing analytics, the interpretation of the data is just as important as the data itself. The experience and qualifications of the person interpreting the data can be just as important to the decisions being made from the data itself.

Foundations Are Crucial:

My purpose for this article was to get you to rethink your assumptions. This is especially important for those of you that are struggling with your digital marketing efforts at the moment. However, even if you are currently rocking your digital marketing, I guarantee you that there are areas and assumptions that you are basing your strategy and tactics on that are off. Take the time to do some very deep level research and investigation into the data you are using to formulate your strategy.

Ask yourself:

  1. Do I really know what I know and why?
  2. Do I know what I don’t know?
  3. Is the data and/or the interpretation of the data we are using to formulate strategy and tactics accurate?

Think about this:

If you’re doing $100,000 per month in revenue now and you make adjustments to your assumptions based on more accurate data, which could result in 5 or even 10% increase in revenue, that’s another $10,000 per month in new income. On the other hand, if you keep doing exactly what you are doing based on inaccurate assumptions, not only will you not gain in revenue, but you could easily drop.

At the end of the day, if you are wrong about the data and subsequent assumptions you believe, your strategy, tactics, platforms and methods don’t matter like they should. It’s time to change that.