Decisions Don’t Start with Data. This was a post found on the Harvard Business Review Blog. This is another attempt to explain how marketers are the kings of the world telling us what we should buy and we are too stupid to know otherwise.
We buy goods and services because we believe the stories marketers build around them: “A diamond is forever” (De Beers), “Real Beauty” (Dove), “Think different” (Apple), “Just do it” (Nike).
That was my favorite excerpt from the post. Thanks marketers, because I wasn’t sure what running shoe I wanted but “Just Do It” has now made up my mind.
The point I got from the post was that people don’t make decisions based on data, it is based on emotions.
To influence human decision making, you have to get to the place where decisions are really made — in the unconscious mind, where emotions rule, and data is mostly absent. Yes, even the most savvy executives begin to make choices this way. They get an intent, or a desire, or a want in their unconscious minds, then decide to pursue it and act on that decision. Only after that do they become consciously aware of what they’ve decided and start to justify it with rational argument.
While I do believe this is true. It does not mean it is right. Just because executives do this does not mean we should succumb to their ridiculous decisions and not present the data.
I do believe we make decisions on data, whether it is consciously or subconsciously.
Apple may say “Think Different”, but if their product is crap and is breaking all the time a person wouldn’t buy it.
“A diamond is forever” doesn’t make me buy from DeBeers. It is there customer service and quality.
There was some form of information that is driving the decision.
I do agree with the author that when presenting a group with a new and possible radical idea that a person should approach his audience in a way that will get their attention.
For some that may mean presenting straight data. For others, presenting a story or a “what’s in it for me?” point of view and weaving the data in.
This isn’t about data and decision making. It is about knowing your audience and adjusting your approach to help meet the audience see your point of view.