Sometime ago, Richard Thaler won the nobel prize for his contributions to behavioral economics. His book ‘Nudge’ talks about why people do what they do when spending money.
It’s not often that we can implement research by a Nobel Prize winner in our marketing strategy, but this one was too good to let go.
Research on behavioral science opens a window into a consumer’s mind, making us witness the thought process that made us buy those pair of skis, which we didn’t need in the first place (because it’s July and, do you even ski)?
Typically, we think we know what our consumer wants and we approach our marketing strategy accordingly. But do we really know what they’re thinking before they buy our product? If we did, we could even successfully sell a pair of skis to a non-skier consumer, during summer!
Here are 5 behavioral science principles that could help bring in more prospects.
#1. Less is More.
Research says that the amount of information a person can hold in working memory is four to five elements at a time.
Research also shows that people rely on unconscious processing and first impressions. To add to that, the first impressions are usually based on aesthetics.
This means, you can afford to cut back on information by limiting it to four or five words or sentences. (PS: that doesn’t mean you cut back on impact). This process is called Chunking.
Chunking: An approach for making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information.
Here’s a one line-story that made use of effective chunking, yet retaining impact.
Advertising in the digital media can be tough because people aren’t looking for ads, let alone your ad. But if you did manage to get their attention, make sure your content isn’t bloated with too much information. Further details on your product can be linked with a post.
#2. Don’t Confuse them with choices.
Research says that the presence of too many choices leads to either unhappiness, decision fatigue, going with the default option or deferral – which is the customer walking away from it altogether.
May it be an emailer, or social media post containing products you’re selling, just a few of the best products, or the ones that are trending, can be displayed. If these are appealing enough, your consumer can visit your main product page for more.
E-commerce giant Amazon is a good example for this strategy. It makes use of a clean display that avoids cluttering, confusion and too many choices.
#3. Create an impulsive shopper.
“The combination of loss aversion with mindless choosing implies that if an option is designated as the ‘default,’ it will attract a large market share. Default options thus act as powerful nudges.”
-Richard Thaler, author of ‘Nudge’
On the idea that we humans hate to miss out on things, it is pretty easy to make the consumer believe he wants something. By flashing time sensitive deals and using phrases like ‘while stocks last’, ‘sale ends at 5PM’ or ‘24 hours flash sale’, consumers will have very little time to rationalise.
Also by showcasing products that only have ‘few pieces left’ brings a sense of urgency, leading to impulsive buying.
#4. Make content disfluent.
Making content or matter that is disfluent, makes the person spend a bit more time trying to understand the matter, making it last longer in their memory.
We may think the age old idea of keeping matter easier for the audience to understand might get their attention. But the thing is, you already got their attention, and they might have understood your ‘easy’ content, but would they remember it?
The trick is to challenge them. Or better, let them challenge themselves.
When people see a word or point of matter they can’t comprehend easily, they tend to ponder around it, which is basic human instinct. Our mind tends to wander towards new or unfamiliar elements merely out of curiosity.
Disfluency causes people to process information at a deeper level, making the information more ‘memorable’.
#5. Personalisation rules hearts.
Behavioral science research shows that, in a world awash with generic content, personalisation makes us pay more attention to advertising messages that change behavior. The brain is also drawn to any information that triggers an emotion, be it negative or positive.
Also, the Jivox Benchmark report from 2016 shows that interaction increases significantly by adding geographic and time cues.
Relatability in content and marketing is quite hard because you have to put out a strategy that would hit everyone and still be relatable.
A marketing strategy which is interactive with the audience you’re attracting is the first and easiest way to their heart, and that can be achieved by relatability.
With personalisation, you will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have undivided attention of the majority from that zone. It’s the kind of personal approach consumers would get drawn into.
Personalisation in content and marketing can also mean quizzes and tests, where the audience can take a quiz to know how much they’re updated on a particular affair, trend or field.
It may seem like behavioral science and digital marketing are worlds apart. They might be, but with the few tips mentioned here, you might just be able to get a bit closer to your buyers’ thought patterns, so as to let you plan your digital strategy more effectively.
They save the world all the time, looking cool while doing it.
They all have their strengths and know each other’s weaknesses.
They work together as a team to stop villains who threaten to wipe out humanity. Spoiler alert – they actually do in the end.
They don’t get paid to do these things; just the feeling of happiness knowing they’ve served humanity, is enough.
See a pattern? There are Avengers right amongst us! You don’t need to go to a movie theatre to see them. Here are the 5 avengers heroes you will find, or need, for your startup.
Okay, he might not be the strongest (when it comes to skill sets) among the avengers, nor the one with all the cool gadgets or money, but captain is good at one thing, “captaining”. A born leader, captain usually takes the reins and guides the team from one adventure to the next. He manages team efforts, assigns tasks to people based on their strengths, is calm but assertive, and always plans the bigger picture.
Who is the captain in your startup?
Look closely and your CEO might just have all these qualities, plus the uncanny ability to spot risks and opportunities. He need not be good with coding or numbers, but he will almost always know how to “get things done” by the right people.
So look to your captain for inspiration; and, if he doesn’t inspire you, maybe you should jump teams, or change the Captain!!
2. Iron Man
Tony Stark might be richer than all the Avengers combined, and that’s probably because he has a giant-sized brain. Making a flying, rocket firing, beam shooting contraption is not an easy task, but Stark makes it looks like child’s play. He built his first suit while being captive in a cage (while the rest of us find it difficult to even make fire without gas).
So why do you need Tony Stark on your team?
In the early stages of a startup, a good quality product will make your company stand out, and building a good product needs a solid engineering team. These guys are the ones who know the ins and outs of the workings of your app or website (better than everyone else). They have the passion to succeed and the ability to think outside the box. They need not have great people skills like the captain, but they should atleast be able to build and test and see your product through.
So go ahead, hire the queer full stack developer who insists on bringing his cat to work.
3. Black widow
No team is complete without the presence of a strong female character, and the same is true with the avengers. Natasha Romanov brings the much needed balance to the team and acts as the voice of reason in times of crisis. She is the Captain’s go-to person, and although she may not be strong like the Hulk or be able to fly like Iron Man, she is a deadly assassin who is the best at what she does-kicking a**.
Although universally, startups are seen as male dominated territory, I cannot help stress the importance of having female presence in your early team. They provide a whole new perspective for many problems, are usually more creative than their male counterparts, and can help make your startup more gender-equal.
Kick away black widow, kick away!
This avenger is the one with dramatic entrance, who literally brings charm to the entire team. Thor can fly, has a cool hammer that only he can use, and has a quirky dress sense that makes him look like he’s stepped out of a Shakespearean play. In one word, Thor has personality, and that’s the one quality your Marketing Head needs.
Your marketing person breathes life into your team, business and product, and should have ideas that will make your brand propel upwards. The ideal marketer is well rounded (like Thor), has travelled a lot and seen many places (like Thor) and has a hammer of a voice that only he can wield with conviction (again, like Thor). He has to work well in a team and have strong presence. A quirky sense of humour is not a necessity, but definitely a plus. He might also have a crazy half brother whose life mission is to destroy the avengers, but not everything shows up in background checks!
Just make sure your marketer has strong personality and a voice that’s original.
5. The Hulk
The strongest person on the team without any doubt, Hulk is trained to focus on just one thing. Smash things. His alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner, is a brilliant physicist who helps Tony Stark in all things tech. So who is that Dr. Bruce Banner/ Green Monster combo on your team who has enormous potential but also can get the basics right when needed?
The answer? Interns.
That’s right, young fresh minds have a lot of untapped potential. It is up to the Captain, and the entire team, to nurture these young minds and help them unleash their full potential. Interns in your startup need to be highly self-motivated to cope up with challenges of a startup, and yet they must also have the potential to turn into rockstars and get things done when needed. Stay away from those who have anger issues like Hulk.
There you go. These are the 5 kinds of Avengers you need in your startup. Honourable mentions include Hawkeye, Black Panther, Dr Strange, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, but we don’t want our startups to be too crowded 🙂
Cocaine and Organic Marketing
We’ve all done it and if you’re a content marketer, there are high chances, you’ve done it too!
You love it and have seen its results over time.
It’s so addictive that once you start, it’s pretty easy to lose touch with how much time you’ve spent doing it.
No, I’m not talking about cocaine. I’m talking about organic content marketing. Sending out creative emails, writing blog posts with interesting titles, and in general, any hair-brained idea that brings traffic to your site naturally over time.
And who else to teach it better than the man himself, Pablo Escobar!!
Okay, you must be wondering, how running a Columbian drug cartel relates to attracting people to a site?
Vamos, let’s get started!
1. Think differently and creatively
When the cocaine market started in Columbia, it was controlled by small cartels and people who weren’t aware of the true value of the powder.
It was Escobar who had this grand vision to ship the powder across America and make millions of dollars. Of course, the rest is history (Escobar, with his cocaine millions, bought half of Columbia).
The lesson here is this. Think of your organic marketing strategy as a long-term strategy. Any real marketer knows that getting traffic to a site with just interesting blog posts and emails will take time, so don’t expect dramatic results overnight. Instead, take small measures towards this greater vision.
Infact, think of it as a small cocaine sapling you’re watering every day. You need to let it grow, harvest it, process it in a lab, and smuggle it across the ocean before you see results. The money will always come (unless the cops catch you, which rarely happens if you’re marketing just content and not cocaine!)
Experiment with a small audience, like Escobar did with Columbia. Always have a target, and then once you do, target your content to reach that defined user base. When the targeted users land on your page, let the content be addictive enough to keep them there and allow them to grow that base with their people; that’s when you know you’ve succeeded like Escobar.
2. Grease the right hands / pay the right people
Escobar had informants in almost every division of the Columbian Law Enforcement Department. These people would tip him off countless times before the cops could raid his place.
He employed kids on streets to do his bidding, track police movements and share vital information.
No, hold your horses, I’m not telling you to recruit young boys and girls to write your blogs.
What I’m saying is, first, create high quality stuff, that’s also engaging, interesting, and informative enough to build your credibility gradually, like Escobar. Then, pay the right people to spread the word, think facebook, linkedin, twitter or other relevant social media platforms, or even influencers and search engines. (PS: Don’t skip this step).
If you’re starting up small, you might have to get your own hands dirty initially, and write a few posts yourself. You can otherwise consider paying a sum to hire quality writers and agencies to write quality blogs. It might also be a good idea to get a mention in a popular blog.
The last part may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. Write quality posts, reach the right people and network your way to the top. Hey, if Pablo could make it to the Columbian Parliament, you can easily get your content published on a popular blog!
3. Diversify your channels / approach
How do you smuggle a ton of cocaine without the cops noticing it? You shape it like a ceramic toilet, ofcourse!
Escobar was known to use many innovative methods to get his stash across the border, and that’s what you should aim for too! You see, for a good organic content marketing strategy to work, you need to repurpose your content to as many channels as possible, all at once.
A post on social media, a blog on your website and an email outreach program, all at the same time is proven to be more effective than using organic marketing in an intermittent fashion. Remember, to keep your audience at the front and centre of everything you do.
There you have it, 3 organic marketing lessons from a Columbian drug lord.
Like this article? Go ahead, comment, share and spread the love, for Pablo’s sake!