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Digital Construction Marketing: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Digital Construction Marketing: The Dunning-Kruger Effect

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

Digital content marketing is an ever-changing industry that, when utilised properly, can be hugely beneficial to those embracing it. 

In the construction industry, a setting that is still taking its earliest steps towards bringing together the building products culture and the digital marketing mindset, there is a risk that marketers can get carried away, jump in head first without first understanding the full scale of a digital marketing task thinking that they understand it all.

The result is this; The Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Let’s look at how The Dunning-Kruger Effect can infect a Digital Marketing workplace.

What Is The Dunning-Kruger Effect?


The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a psychological term, developed by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger during a cognitive study in 1999, referring to a cognitive bias based on the interpretation of intelligence.  

Very Well Mind define The Dunning-Kruger Effect like this:

“A type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable [at certain tasks] than they really are.”

The implication of The Dunning-Kruger Effect is an illusion of superiority. Effectively, people afflicted by the Dunning-Kruger Effect have an incapability to recognise that they have a lack of ability on a specific subject.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect feeds into the idea of metacognition: thinking about thinking. People falling under The Dunning-Kruger Effect category are unable to objectively consider their intellectual capacity to complete a task and are therefore lacking the self-awareness of metacognition.

The cause of The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a intellectual incompetence that comes from people overestimating their skill set, failing to recognise their mistakes or gaps in their knowledge and ranking their own abilities over the expertise of others.


What Does It Mean For Digital Construction Marketing?


The Dunning-Kruger Effect has an implication for the Digital Marketing industry as there may be many people working under the umbrella of digital marketing without realising the full scope of what that term entails.

The consequence of this: construction businesses not being able to reach their full potential because their digital marketing efforts are not embracing all the requirements to run a successful campaign.

If the Dunning-Kruger is allowed to take hold in a digital marketing environment then content may not be up to standard. It may contain incorrect information that staff are improperly training to notice because Dunning-Kruger causes them to believe that they are experts in their field and do not need to double check their facts. 

For customers, this can have serious repercussions. Should a customer act on information that has been incorrectly published by an employee who believes they are correct and something goes wrong there could be legal implications for the company as a result. 

Believing that they are more capable at digital marketing then they are, marketers also run the risk of publishing error-riddled work, promoting an unprofessional image to the wider public. 

Dunning-Kruger is about believing that you are more qualified to carry out a task than you are; for digital marketers this can mean carrying out allotted tasks without completing the appropriate training. Poor quality work will take twice as long to complete as it will need to be rectified which can then have a knock effect for time management and organisation. 

The potential implications are endless.


Prevent The Dunning-Kruger Effect From Taking Hold


You can prevent the presence of the Dunning-Kruger effect in you digital marketing team by giving employees constant, extensive training that reaches into every aspect of their job role.

Although you cannot prepare for every eventuality, giving employees the skills to face potential challenges in the interim will better prepare them in the long run and ensure that they really are as highly skilled in their field area as they believe they are. 

Ensuring that it is standard practice to have work checked over by a senior member of the team is a great way to check for gaps in the knowledge and ensure that all content is accurate before potential customers have access to it.

Interaction between team members from all areas of the company should be encouraged, according to Quora, who say that if somebody is aware that Dunning-Kruger may be happening in their work space, they are already equipped to deal with it.  


The Dunning-Kruger Effect is a potential disaster waiting to happen should it be allowed to take hold in a digital marketing workplace.

Customers are at risk of receiving incorrect information, employees may be improperly trained to deal with problems arising as a result and further damage the reputation of the company by producing improper answers to customers questions believing that they are correct.  

By giving the digital marketing team the proper training, and continuing that training in line with industry developments, monitoring mistakes and ensuring that they are recognised before customers are affecting, you can avoid letting the Dunning-Kruger effect take hold in your work place, protecting yourself, your employees and your customers.

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About Insynth

Insynth Marketing is a leading UK construction marketing consultancy based in Shifnal in the West Midlands. Insynth employ the latest inbound marketing techniques such as construction inbound marketing, to help building product manufacturers grow their businesses by aggressively driving sales lead generation activity. 

As the only HubSpot certified agency to major on construction marketing, we bring together construction marketing strategy, digital strategy, website design, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, sales automation, marketing automation and HubSpot CRM implementation to produce successful campaigns and great results for our clients.

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