Fear. Happiness. Frustration. Anxiety. Anger. It is said that what differentiates man from animals is the ability to reason. However, we are not always using our distinct strength to its full capacity of providing an objective vision. Emotions are exploitable attack vectors that have the capability to insert themselves into arguments and derail the conversation away from the intended purpose. Some assaults are done willingly so as to appeal to a certain individual or group by constructing your arguments to comprise general or explicit sentiments.
No matter your customer, B2C or B2B, if you are looking to forward a proposal the idea that “the customer is god” will inevitably nest itself in your content. Be it you advertise to a large audience or in front of a directors suite, you will try to complement the inherent value of your solution with bits of arguments as to why you are the better fit. Even before the meeting you will have prepared materials that allow you to initiate an argumentative attack: financials, poor implementation, possible savings and so on. However, let us consider the possibility that the discussion has exhausted your benefits and the clients are yet to draw ink on the contract papers.
Well, you are standing there with eyes glaring in your direction and just in time remember the names of some big clients in the industry that have worked with your company. So, with a confident tone you let loose their names in an effort to persuade the executives to act. On one hand, you displayed your trustworthiness since being contracted by an industry behemoth, and with some data to display what you’ve done that should win them over. However, this is the start of a logical fallacy often used to inspire credibility.
“A fallacy (sophism) is the use of invalid or otherwise faulty reasoning in the construction of an argument. A fallacious argument may be deceptive by appearing to be better than it really is. Some fallacies are committed intentionally to manipulate or persuade by deception, while others are committed unintentionally due to carelessness or ignorance.“
Fallacies affect the soundness of an argument which is another subject that can be discussed to sizable lengths. Therefore, communication must be treaded carefully by always being on-guard to identify and intercept pretenders. There are many ways to classify fallacies but this is a matter better left to entertain the philosophers.
Having gone over the text-book definitions, let us review how mentioning the names of prominent business companies in an isolated case can spell a fallacy. Appeal to authority is a form of argument that seeks to use an authority’s opinion on a topic as substantial evidence for the argument. Some minds are of the opinion that if the reliability of the authority is agreed upon by presenting parties then it is safe from the savageness of unsoundness. Others point out that the fallacy is always present if used as a primary means.
Now that email or presentation of yours needs a review. Previous industry client giants can welcome their stay among the lines, but you would do well to shift the premise. Touch upon the issue at hand and its resolution, with a case study to back up your claims. Then, point out some issues you have researched about the company’s operations: “I couldn’t help but notice how you could save up to ~20% by optimizing your database or turn to a different data provider.”
Let us redirect our attention to another important scene in the land of marketing efforts. The switch to digitalization has enabled marketers and other departments alike with the long-needed testing tools. Many a “how to smash your email game” guides will invariably have or require you to know beforehand about a/b testing your segments. Most email automation services have such built-in functionality, but many rush through this process. Even if it’s a success by coincidence, people will interpret it as a job well done rather than scrutinize. If you were to draw conclusions on a small or unrepresentative sample, which on its own is affected by the law of small numbers, you would have committed a faulty generalization, more exactly hasty generalization — or, jumping to conclusions.
These are two common examples of fallacies that are nested within marketing departments be they willingly acted upon or not. Certain simple steps can be taken to overcome barriers of thoughts — another look, perspective, or have a different team provide their feedback. Nevertheless, both cases can be ameliorated if accommodated with both quality and quantity data.
Prominent intelligence platforms will enable you with information on a myriad of data points you can use to tune-up the soundness of your content.
All in all, faulty reasoning can indeed be problematic for all parties involved in the dissemination of information. While others willingly employ their usage to compel opinions, unaware people can fall victim to a sense of helplessness that could have been avoided rather than go through empirical experiences. Don’t beat yourself too much if you commit them. You will surely stumble on them as you navigate through life.
P.S. Argument from fallacy is a fallacy of analyzing and argument and inferring that, since it contains a fallacy, its conclusion must be false. Things certainly aren’t easy in this domain.