As a marketer, I love a good stat. I think a lot of us do. That moment when you find a stat that perfectly aligns or gives credibility to some thought leadership you're creating is a magical moment.
Sadly, a lot of those magical moments quickly turn into disappointment. In an effort to find the source of many great stats, I'm led down a rabbit hole that ends in me realizing the stat is likely fake.
Below is a response I've gotten back recently from someone who wrote a great blog post with a stat that I would have liked to leverage, if it were legit. I've blurred out some details to protect this marketer's identity.
This probably happens ~75% of the time I reach out to someone trying to find the stat in their "great" piece of content marketing when the source is not clearly marked. I've even tracked down stats included an HBR article that were widely cited in our industry only to find out it was bogus.
Marketers, this can be easily prevented. If we want consumers to trust us, we need to step it up. As an industry we are a little too fast and loose when it comes to what we willingly spread. Here are a few simple steps you can take to not be the source, or even part of the problem.
1. Always link to the source
2. Don't have your source be another article with the stat, but with no source (most common issue)
3. Don't spread bad stats
Resist the urge, even if it makes a slam dunk case for your point or product. In the end it comes down to trust, while there is a large portion of the world that will blindly trust any stat out there, if we want to build trust with potential customers make sure anything you reference has a source.