It’s common knowledge that the more an idea is promulgated, regardless of its pedigree, the more people will believe it. Politicians and investment bankers live-and thrive-by this rule. Shout a concept loud and long enough and you’ll develop a following, no matter the veracity of your statement. (Isn’t that right, Fox News?)

In business today, there are many misconceptions that continue to float around without much, if any, pushback from naysayers. Here are a few that resonate well for the optical community:

Brick-and-mortar stores are a thing of the past. Online shopping now exceeds $300 billion annually in the U.S. Yet brick-and-mortar stores are still relevant, according to Retailing Today citing a TimeTrade Systems study, noting that 87% of consumers are planning to shop actual stores at least as often as they did in 2014. For 85% of consumers, it’s the opportunity to “touch and feel” the product and 90% are more likely to buy when helped by a knowledgeable associate.

Millennials are the new target. It’s true that this emerging consumer group wields a great deal of influence. It’s also true that they shop more scrupulously, eschew traditional brands, and support retailers that contribute to worthy causes. But according to the same TimeTrade study, Baby Boomers still control 70% of U.S. disposable income, and they buy premium and branded products.

Luxury goods can only be sold in the big cities. Would it surprise you to know that the median annual income of a luxury car owner is less than $100,000? Or that luxury consumption is higher in Georgia than it is in Ohio? According to a Kantar Media TGI study, wealthier consumers tend to be more critical shoppers, and they also tend to enjoy more little indulgences (like Starbucks coffee), as opposed to lower-income buyers, who will splurge on aspiration-driven purchases (like luxury eyewear).

Print is dead. Yup, digital communications has transformed the way people receive information, but reports of print’s death are something of an exaggeration. Magazine revenue will climb modestly in 2015, according to Advertising Age, and newspapers will decline. But at the same time, 28 new consumer magazine titles were introduced in May 2015, and Ad Age points out that the majority of advertisers are “very reluctant” to remove magazines from their media mix. And if you’re reading this in hard copy, well, there you have it.

The point of all of this is that nothing is ever truly black or white in business intelligence. Sometimes you have to look between the “facts” to get at the truth.


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