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.