I think that this point is obvious to the vast majority of life science marketers who may read this – and you should certainly be well aware if you’ve been following this blog or the Marketing of Life Science Tools & Services Group on LinkedIn – but I’ve seen this problem a few times in the past week so I think it’s worth bringing up: When you make a claim, be sure you validate that claim.
Let’s drill down to the core of this discussion and build from there. What is a claim? According to Merriam-Webster, a claim is “a statement saying that something happened a certain way or will happen a certain way : a statement saying that something is true when some people may say it is not true.” For our purposes, we can view a claim to be any statement that may reasonably be disputed.
Of course, the reason that you are making claims is to convey a viewpoint to another person. The whole purpose of marketing communications is to get an audience to adopt a particular point of view; if they can reasonably dispute that point of view and you do not attempt to preemptively address potential points of dispute, then your marketing communications will be ineffective. The nature of these disputes are myriad; they could be anything from simply questioning a factual point or rejecting an opinion to questioning the neutrality of the source or the basis for the claim itself. Resolving these disputes is where validation comes in.
Funny side note, going back to Merriam-Websters, their example usage of the word validation is: “I’m afraid we cannot act on your claim without validation.”
Validation is where you resolve the disputes that the audience may have with regards to your claims. This can involve provision of additional factual information or data, third party opinions, etc. How we do so is not important here; once you identify how your claims are likely to be disputed then the method of solving those disputes is often obvious. What is important is the recognition that what you are communicating is, in fact, a claim (and therefore may be disputed) and, subsequently, how that claim is likely to be disputed. Once those things are identified, you’re well on your way to improving your marketing messages.
Also, when validating your marketing messages, don’t forget that it’s always better to show than to tell.