statistics
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
–-attribution in question, read about it here.

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.”
–- commonly attributed to Mark Twain

“An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts – for support rather than for illumination.”
— Andrew Lang (Scottish Poet)

“If the statistics are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers.”
― Edward R. Tufte

“Statistics: the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.”
–Evan Esar, prolific epigramologist

“I always find that statistics are hard to swallow and impossible to digest. The only one I can remember is that if all the people who go to sleep in church were laid end to end they would be a lot more comfortable.”
–Mrs. Robert A. Taft

“Medical statistics are like a bikini bathing suit: what they reveal is interesting; what they conceal is vital.”
– Anonymous (‘Shoot Out in Marlboro Country’, Mother Jones Magazine (Jan 1979))

“There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.”
–Archie Goodwin, in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novel Death of a Doxy (1966)

“Torture numbers, and they will confess to anything.”
— Gregg Easterbrook (‘Our Warming World’, New Republic, 11 November 1999, Vol. 221)

“USA Today has come out with a new survey – apparently, three out of every four people make up 75% of the population.”
— David Letterman

The above quotes notwithstanding, using statistics can help strengthen just about any small business marketing presentation or sales pitch by providing a third-party basis for your claims. For example, simply telling a customer that they need your social marketing service because “everyone is using social media now” is not near as compelling as presenting study data showing that 24% of the US population had at least one social media profile in 2008, and that in 2015 that number climbed to 73%.

Additionally, statistical data and industry studies can be critical to helping you understand your marketplace, and to helping you make informed decisions about how to grow your small business. For example, a health center might be contemplating whether to launch its own fitness App. When determining the type of features it should include, and how it should be marketed to patients, it would be helpful to know that a 2014 study found that the primary reason for using a fitness App was goal tracking for 30% of respondents, motivation for 27% of respondents, and connecting with an expert only 2% of respondents.

So, where can you get statistics like these for your small business and your market?


Statista is a great free online source that provides a searchable database of studies and statistics. The site claims to include data from “over 18,000 sources, including studies, scientific journals, official communications, trade reports, books, and other relevant statistical publications.” It also includes a number of industry reports for markets such as e-commerce, services, technology and communication, and retail, as well as a library of infographics on topics ranging from teens choosing Instagram over Facebook and Twitter to the slump in the global PC market, to those most at risk of becoming targets of April Fools pranks.

You can browse Statista by industry, company (such as Apple or Amazon), topic (such as the coffee market or Android use), or infographic library; or you can enter a keyword into the search to see a list of matching reports, statistics, and infographics. With a free account (you provide your name, email address, and phone) you can download any of the graphs or infographics as .png files to use in your presentations. You can also download ready-made Power Point slides, PDF files, or the raw data as an Excel file that you can manipulate as you wish. You can also use the provided embed code to put a Statista chart or graph into your blog or website. (Note that the free account does not provide access to all Statista data. If you see a search result with a “+” it is not available in the free account. A paid subscription is $49 per month.)

Watch this video to see Statista in action, and learn about how to leverage its search and export tools. And, be sure to use it the next time you need to add some color to a marketing claim, back-up the urgency of a sales-pitch, or just post an interesting industry infographic to your blog.

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Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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