Category Archives: reasoning

Wanderfly’s inductive marketing


What if you helped customers find solutions they didn’t know they need?

This is very different than the linear, deductive path of most sales pitches. As you recall from Philosophy 101 class, there are two types of logic — deductive and inductive. Deductive reasoning reduces generalities to specifics; if you want to know what a brick is made of, break it down in lab tests to find clay composed of hydrated silicates of aluminum. Inductive reasoning expands upon specifics to generalities — using a few uncertain assumptions to leap to new ideas, a more creative approach to building conclusions, say, “What are all the possible uses for a brick?”

Marketers love deductive logic, the linear cause-and-effect reasoning that suggests if we do A and B, then C will happen. You carefully calibrate variables, weigh all options, evaluate all risks, forecast results, and then when you finally pitch to customers, the goal is to tap their needs to pull them through an awareness-intent-response-sales funnel to buy your one perfect solution. Your careful math leads to a near-certain conclusion. Direct mail is the classic example, and in the 2000s Google became the ultimate deductive solution — digesting nearly all the variables in the online universe, the search giant helps consumers match need with exactly the right finding.

But what if you leapt out of that box?


Which is why we love Wanderfly.com. This travel site expands to an inductive approach — punch in a few specifics, and it comes back with wildly creative answers. The site asks for your travel time, budget range, and a few interest categories, and then if you pick “anywhere” will suggest you fly to say, Amesbury, England, the famous site of Stonehenge. Obviously not every business can build such creative solution sets, but if you work in a customer service organization, inductive reasoning could be a point of differentiation. It’s nice that Travelocity and Kayak will tell us the lowest fare to San Diego on Jan. 15; it’s nice that your ad agency can build campaigns to sell X number of widgets. But a service that helps us figure out the creative potential in life or customer response, why, that’s a trip.