Us ad hacks have a problem. We don't understand math.
The result is that we're easily impressed, mislead, and bullied by sneaky or irrelevant data, meaningless charts, fast talking metrics monkeys, and cement-head marketing mavens who know even less than we do..
Here's an example.
Someone recently sent me one of those articles about the brilliance of auto makers shifting to online media to attract the precious Millennials. The piece featured this fact...
"Millennials, defined as 18 to 30 year olds, make up 40 percent of the total available car buying population..."Wow! We better get our millennial strategy going pronto, right?
Not so fast.
While they may make up 40% of the total available (that's the sneaky weasel word) car buying population, they make up a tiny percent of the actual car buying population.
In fact, the last stats I saw were that 18-34 year olds buy about 12% of new cars. So 18-30 year olds have to be less than 10% of actual car buyers.
Let's go to the blackboard.
If 18-30 year olds are 40% of the available population but only 10% of actual buyers, that means they index at 25. That is, they buy 25% of what they would be expected to buy if they bought proportionately to their population.
Meanwhile, if people over 30 represent 60% of the available buyers and buy 90% of the actual cars, they index at 150. That means they buy 1.5 times as many cars as they should in a normal distribution.
So if this guy's numbers are correct, a person over 30 is six times as likely to buy a new car as someone under 30.
Still excited about that Millennial strategy, amigo?