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Statistics and Value Propositions for the Catholic in Business

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 29, 2009

As a Catholic In Business (CIB), you have to look at statistics very carefully to make sure that you don't create lies or spread "third-party manufactured lies" to others. In marketing, statistics are sliced, diced, julienned, cooked, garnished and served to present appealing-looking business solutions.

For example, let's take something as fundamental as customer satisfaction. A service company surveys its clients and receives an actual approval rating of 85%. If not satisfied with this percentage, rather than address the problem with better service, the company might find a way to exclude a certain percentage of the survey results.

Let's say it determines that 12 out of the 15 percent of "disapprovers" each paid less $10,000 annually to the company--the lowest tier of service customers. (In other words, the company was neglecting its smaller customers.)

The company then adjusts the statistic-based statement to read "97% customer satisfaction", on the grounds that those providing less than $10,000 per year in revenue are receiving a service level with which they cannot possibly be satisfied because they have not made a sufficient level of monetary commitment.

Even true statistics can give a false impression if they are not accompanied by other relevant statistics or necessary back-story. Example: if a company broadcasts that it was voted one of the five most influential companies in its industry/region, without broadcasting the fact that it was also voted one of the five most hated companies.

The CIB needs to figure out how to create value propositions that do not rely on glitzy statistical extracts that do not have the weight of truth behind them. This may seem problematic when competing with companies that do not play from the same rulebook. However, this apparent limitation may actually be an opportunity--if your company takes a proactive approach by focusing on the definition and creation of true differentiators that don't require deception, rationalization or bad logic to make a strong case for your business.

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