- In 1950, Senator Joe McCarthy sparked a nationwide witch hunt by claiming 205 commies worked for the US State Department.
- In 2014, Representative Michele Bachman propelled cuts in food stamps for 850,000 US households by claiming 70 percent of the funds went into the pockets of Washington bureaucrats.
- In 2016, Member of Parliament Boris Johnson triggered Brexit by claiming EU membership cost the UK £50 million every day.
No! says the late copywriter and filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Lewis' legions of axioms included his "Rule of Statistical Deficiency:"
Readers respond less to cold-blooded statistics than they do to warm-blooded examples.
In On the Art of Writing Copy, he urged marketers to avoid statements like:
75% of the children affected might be saved.
Marketers should write instead:
We lost Jimmy today. His parents knew his pitifully short days were numbered. They never lost hope... until the end. But Mary, Karen, and Billy are still alive. We're fighting for their lives.
Fine for fundraisers. But what about B2B marketers?
Statistics are still deficient.
The following leaves you chilly:
71% of HR directors say our LMS is a very useful tool to enhance employee learning.
But doesn't this warm your blood?
We asked HR leaders from 10 companies if our LMS boosts enterprise learning. Execs from Acme, Spacely, Soylent, Wonka, Sirius, Clampett Oil, and Burns Industries said yes. Our clients experience the difference.
NOTE: Herschell Gordon Lewis departed this life September 26 at the age of 90. He wrote more than 20 books on marketing and produced over 40 films.