What can a study of circus performers teach marketers and small business owners?
In 2016, Stanford Professor, Justin Berg, undertook a groundbreaking research project in the context of circus acts – to see which group would best predict the popularity of new ideas when shown on video via social media.
The research had two parts – a field study of 339 circus arts professionals and a lab experiment. Creators and managers were asked to forecast the success of new circus acts. Their assessments were then compared to data from 13,248 audience members.
So, who did best as new idea evaluators: performers judging their own acts, circus managers or fellow performers?
Performers themselves were the worst predictors. They consistently thought too highly of their work. This is not unusual – it’s common that we are overconfident when judging our own work. I see it quoted that in tests 70% of students rated themselves “above average”, among college professors this rises to 94%. Business owners rate the prospects of their own company at 8.1 compared to other similar firms at 5.9.
Managers did better, adding a layer of necessary scepticism, but they were too distanced from the performers’ work to be truly in tune with how it would be received.
In the end, it was the circus performers’ peers who were best able to predict success in the “market”. Close enough and informed enough to be able to judge good work, but objective enough to take an outsider’s perspective.
We argue that this applies to marketing as well. Getting an objective second opinion from a group of external fellow marketers is a truly useful way to check your work before you splash your cash.
This is exactly what we do at SenseCheck. Through SenseCheck you can access a panel of experts who will assess your ideas, copy, assets, campaigns and more before you roll them out. The idea is to provide you with an objective third-party view on what you’re doing so that you can pinpoint the best way to reach your customer.
The more relevant experience a reviewer brings to their task, the better their judgement will be, and we hand-pick our panel to ensure a strong mix of members of various expertise.
It’s as easy as 3 steps:
Send in your work and receive objective, constructive feedback, designed to get your campaigns converting that much more. You can sign up here, or check out our How It Works page to find out more about what we offer.