Evidence is defined as that which makes evident or manifest; that which furnishes, or tends to furnish, proof; any mode of proof; and the evidence of the truth or falsehood of a statement. As marketers, it is our job to communicate the evidence for our products or services.
As we like to say in our literature, “Your business is on trial. Your customers and prospects are the jury. You’re the attorney. And it’s a life or death sentence. What will you say that will convince them to buy from you? What kind of evidence can you produce to PROVE beyond any reasonable doubt that they’d be a fool not to buy from you? You’ll learn in this step-by-step system, how to build that case. You’ll learn how to create over 20 kinds of irrefutable evidence that will allow you to win every time.”
Powerful stuff! The question then becomes how do you, as the marketer, tap into that evidence, how do you determine whether the evidence is valid or even useable? Let me use the attorney analogy again.
Here’s an example. Your client is on trial and it is a life or death decision. You have at your disposal an investigative team that has furnished you with information and you have to determine what you will produce as evidence for your case. Here is a short list of what you have:
And this is just the preliminary work. That’s a lot of data; it’s too much information! Without a systematic approach, this lawyer would flounder amidst all this information. So as a marketer, how do you determine what evidence works best for your product or service? What will make your product’s case “manifest” to any prospect that comes across the marketing you develop? Remember, you have access to a tremendous amount of information at your disposal.
Here is a list of the types of evidence you should use:
As a marketer, you are your own investigative team. When you sit down you have to gather that information. But do not rely solely upon the business for the evidence; no attorney ever gets all of the evidence from his client. There’s more intelligence gathering that needs to be done. The business can point you in the right direction but then it’s up to you to get additional information that you determine would best portray the business you serve.
We have defined 6 industry models and the sales points associated with businesses within these models. Your first step should be to define which of these industry models your business falls into. This will point you in the right direction and help whittle the above list from twenty-two types of evidence to the 12 or 13 most effective for your company. The attorney does the same thing. If he is working on a murder trial, physical evidence will be more important; with a white-collar crime, the paper trail is tantamount, eclipsing fingerprint work all day. By defining an industry model we will then know what type of evidence we should concentrate on gathering. More energy will then be spent gathering the most effective kinds of evidence, not wasted on spinning our wheels.
Even after an industry model has been chosen, you are still left with process of gathering information through research. I would suggest that you try and get as much information you can on the front end and deal with the mountain of paperwork later. As a marketer, there is a process of creativity you can follow that would assist you in researching and deciding what types of evidence are useful and appropriate. It is the Directed Creativity Cycle, (Creativity, Innovation, and Quality, Plsek 1997), and here are the steps that relate to the research of evidence:
Observation ? Analysis ? Generation ? Harvesting
Observation: This entails all of your initial work. The discovery questions and business evaluations will greatly add to your understanding of what the business offers. These questions will also render clues as to what types of evidence would be appropriate. An attorney will have a good idea of the type of case to present after talking with his client. Observe the foot traffic in the store, “observe” by conducting surveys, really try and see what is going on.
Analysis: As a marketer you need to think, ponder, and reflect over the information you get as a result of the initial stages of your work on the project. You need to look at this from every angle, from your own understanding, putting yourself in John Smith’s shoes as well as the business’ perspective. These differing perspectives will come with their own sets of evidence.
Generation: The results of your thoughts and reflection will be ideas. There will be a time in every project where your ideas will far outweigh the information you are putting in. Record all of them. They will indicate as to what evidence would give purpose and power to your case.
Harvesting: This is the stage that entails the greatest work. From our topic of evidence, you must become a selector; you need to decide what evidence to include. The process provides you with a framework to get and encapsulate all this information. The information should have been directed by the other two levels: sales points and the next level. The other two levels were analyses of the frustrations and problems prospects deal with. The information is what the business does to solve those frustrations. This information reflects the inside reality of the company. The inside reality can – and frequently is – measured in many different ways.
This is why it’s important you get all the information that you can. The compelling story you are trying to tell is useless without the facts. So here is a partial listing of resources available to you to gain information on your project:
Start with these. You need to gather as much evidence you can so that the case you build is strong and will produce results.