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Marketing Statistics

A Statistical Correlation Does Not Necessarily Mean a Cause-Effect Relationship

One of the greatest aspects of digital marketing in comparison to traditional marketing methods is the amount of reliable data we can collect in a short period of time.

Like no other marketing medium, we can track just about every aspect of every component of the ad and the people who respond to it.

This is great, but if we’re not careful this flood of data can cause us to draw incorrect conclusions to patterns and correlations we find in the data itself.

Here’s an example.

In 1924 a study conducted at Western Electric on employee productivity concluded that employees were more productive when they changed the lighting conditions.  Years later it was realized that the employees were more productive not necessarily because of the new lighting conditions, but because they new they were being observed during the study.

Another example often cited in statistics classes show the trends on a graph of annual murder rates and ice cream sales.  Both have identical seasonal curves on the graph – they correlate, but does this constitute a cause-effect relationship?  Of course not.

This example seems absurd, but I’ve seen equally absurd conclusions drawn of patterns and correlations in marketing data that caused the wrong actions to be taken where several times the results were catastrophic.

Just as it was important to look at the correct relationship between the ice cream sales and the murder rate (the weather) it is important to be sure to identify the correct relationship (if any) of the data sets being compared before taking action – then make small and simple changes, track the results and re-evaluate your conclusions before making anything permanent.

About the author

Dane Shakespear helps Residential Treatment Centers, Boarding Schools, and Troubled Teen Programs attract more qualified leads, convert them into paying clients and deliver a better product by doing more of what works and less of chasing shiny objects. Dane works with owners and executives who are tired of relegating the lifeblood of their business - their marketing and sales flow to 3rd party geeks and charlatans.

About Me

About Me
I am a former owner and founder of an Anti-Terrorist, Cargo Tracking Software company for airlines.

I have spent my career leveraging marketing, technology & psychologyto promote high-end services.

For the last 13 years I have focused my work on Business Development for Residential Treatment Centers, and Global Product Development.

Essential Books

80/20 Sales and Marketing Book Cover
80/20 Sales and Marketing
August 3, 2019
Trust Me I'm Lying Book Cover
Trust Me I’m Lying – Confessions of a Media Manipulator
July 30, 2019
Blue Ocean Strategy Book Cover
Blue Ocean Strategy
June 6, 2019

What They Say

“He rebranded our company, fixed our marketing, and got us noticed and absorbed by an Italian manufacturer. He knows his stuff.”
– Ray Lopez, Blackhawk Armory


“As a direct result of Dane’s insights and intuition we are generating an additional $350,000 per year that we would have never seen.” – Joel Bauer


“I’ve worked Dane on several of my projects over the past 15 years and can confidently say he knows how to compete in tough markets.” – Martin Howey


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