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Why Confirmation Bias is disastrous for Marketing

What is Confirmation Bias?

Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias in which a person makes irrational decisions because they have a strong emotional preference for the information being put forward.

We sometimes have an urge to believe something that we find convenient or agreeable, not because it’s true or logical, but because it feeds into our hopes or preferences. It’s natural to want to be right, but sometimes we’re wrong and confirmation bias prevents us from realizing it.

When we are faced with new information, we assess it and then make a decision if it is true or not based on our memories and past experiences. There is a tendency for people to take in information that aligns with their beliefs, rather than challenge them. The confirmation bias can lead us to make wrong decisions because of this tendency.

Confirmation bias also has a negative side: it can lead us to reject information that contradicts our beliefs, or hold on to false beliefs even when we are presented with new evidence.

How Confirmation Bias in Marketing Happens in Action

Confirmation bias in marketing is when you are looking for evidence to support your beliefs rather than considering other options.

This happens when marketers only see the blog posts that support their beliefs. When they can’t find any, they go out and create them. They also might only read articles about topics that align with their beliefs, but not ones that don’t.

If we have a topic or issue we want to promote, we will pick the data which supports our point of view and ignore anything else that doesn’t fit with it. In this way, confirmation bias can be used by companies to create messages targeted at specific audiences who share the same values as them.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to look for, interpret, focus on and remember information in ways that confirm one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses.

It can be very dangerous when it comes to analyzing data. This bias skews the data collected, making it hard to find any significant results in the collected data. This is because people are looking for something that confirms their hypothesis even if it does not exist.

The Dangers of a Confirmation Bias for Marketers in Today’s World

Marketers and advertisers have a huge responsibility in today’s world. They need to ensure that they are not just marketing to everyone, but also that they are marketing to the right people. This is where the confirmation bias comes into play.

dangers of confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is when we let our personal opinions affect what we see and hear. For example, if someone believes all dogs are bad, they will interpret everything as if it supports their belief even though it might not be the truth.

This can be a huge issue for marketers as those with strong beliefs will see everything as supporting those beliefs even when it doesn’t and this can lead them to make wrong decisions about who to target and what messages should be used in their marketing campaigns.

The product development process, particularly the design and marketing stages, often involves a confirmation bias. This means that instead of asking “Is this what consumers need?” or “Is this the best way to maximize potential customers’ needs?” we ask “Does this confirm what we already think about our target audience?”

This happens for a variety of reasons, such as company culture and personal beliefs. But it is an instinctive human tendency that can be hard to break, even when it is necessary to do so.

We are naturally inclined to make decisions based on our beliefs and preconceptions. The confirmation bias can lead us to make decisions based on what we already know instead of where the greatest value lies – in new ideas.

How to Avoid Confirmation Bias in Marketing

The best way to avoid confirmation bias in marketing is to have well-defined goals for your marketing strategy. This way you will be able to filter out all the noise and focus on what can help you achieve your goals.

In order to avoid confirmation bias in marketing, you need to acknowledge the biases that exist and be open to different perspectives. You should also ask your team if they have any suggestions that you might not have considered before.

confirmation bias infographic

The following are a few ways to avoid confirmation bias in marketing:

  • Acknowledge the fact that you’re human and susceptible to confirmation bias
  • Work with others who have different perspectives on the same topic and watch them carefully as they go through this process; if their reasoning leads them down a path that is different than yours, then it is likely that they are considering angles that you may not be considering
  • Give your audience a variety of options related to your product but don’t force them into one strict opinion
  • Look for ways in which your assumptions may be wrong and try to disprove them with evidence
  • Challenge your assumptions about your audience by seeking input from diverse perspectives
  • Keep your mind open to all possible hypotheses of how customers are interpreting your product
  • Double-check your findings by looking at the evidence for the other side’s point of view
  • Remain skeptical of the conclusions you are drawing from any dataset
  • Be sure to identify potential biases or faulty assumptions in your data analysis methods before you apply these methods to the dataset
  • Be open-minded enough to change your mind when new information is presented or when you find persuasive counter

Establish a Culture of Critical Thinking in Your Team

critical thinking

The importance of critical thinking in the workplace is underscored by the importance of developing a culture where employees are encouraged to question things. This can be done through regular training sessions, seminars, conferences and retreats.

A culture of critical thinking is one where employees are encouraged to question things by not taking anything for granted. The first step towards establishing this culture is encouraging people to ask questions.

This should be done through regular training sessions, seminars, conferences and retreats that are designed to teach people how to think critically, as well as providing an environment that makes it easier for people to pose questions without fear of being ridiculed.

We at 7 Peaks Digital Marketing (7PDM) start every project without letting any sort of confirmation bias set in whether from our side or from our client’s side.

Issac Karayahabitin

Digital Explorer, Author and a wanderer

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