The internet a social beast, behavioural psychology and economics can play a role in influencing social dynamics. The closer we get to personalising our communication with customers the more effective our communication is. Personalisation can be costly exercise involving the purchase of expensive software, but there are techniques that we can utilise that can have a similar effect.
Let me introduce a term to you. COLD READING. You may have heard of it or seen it used in various contexts but it has had very little application within marketing communications. “Psychics” traditionally use cold reading to provide “accurate” personalised predictions about an individual. Have you ever wondered how people can be so convinced that the psychic can know things that they could not possibly have known? The psychic can connect with their customers in ways that really engage because they make it extremely personal. Cold reading is the range of tools that they use to achieve this. Marketing can learn a lot from cold reading and I will introduce a number of cold reading techniques within this blog (over time) to give you an insight into their commercial application.
The first cold reading technique I want to introduce is the “Forer’s Effect”. Also known as Barnum Statements, which in psychology refers to the gullibility of people when reading descriptions of themselves. By personality, we mean the ways in which people are different and unique. However, it is possible to give everyone the same description and people nevertheless rate the description as very accurate. You may be surprised to learn you are not as unique as you thought you are. The following statements are classical examples of Barnum Statements:
You have a great need for other people to like and admire you.
You have a great deal of unused capacity, which you have not turned to your advantage.
Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.
You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations.
You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others statements without satisfactory proof.
You have a tendency to be critical of yourself.
At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.
At times you are extroverted, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved.
While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.
How accurate do the above statements reflect you and your self-perception? Typically the above statements when rated in psychological experiments on a scale of 0 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) the a typical average score 4.26 , very accurate. In a typical psychic cold reading, subjects tend to have a higher recall of accurate statements, blindly forgetting inaccurate ones, so when questioned after an event their perception of the readings effectiveness is actually greater.
The Forer’s Effect works on commonalities within a demographic that are generally true to all. From a marketing perspective, your customer targeting and segmentation can narrow down your demographics. In combination with market research and online conversational analysis, you can build up quite accurate profiles of each segment. With this information, creating general descriptive statements in your marketing messages could be a power tool to enhance engagement.
Given the scrupulous nature of psychics, how ethical is cold reading and Forer’s Effect as marketing methodology? The rational for a psychic’s use of cold reading is to deceive, spread lies and false hope. The Forer’s Effect and cold reading in marketing is really an extension of customer insight, understanding them, their behaviours, their thinking and demonstrating that you understand this. If used correctly customer can connect with your marketing messages and brand. Increasing customer affinity leads to greater engagement; this in turn can lead to sales.
In trying to change customer behaviours, cold reading has the potential to make a real difference to your marketing.
Forer, B. R. (1949). The fallacy of personal validation: A classroom demonstration of gullibility. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 44, 118-123.
I selected this piece written by Jack Ricchiuto because it's a great reminder to all of us participating in social business aka social networking about what's most important to thrive in our social networks.
Obviously all of this begins with being passionate about what you're doing and evolves from there.
Here are some highlights:
Everyone has 3 circles of connections.
1. people you're closest to
2. people we know more casually
3. people we don't even know exist, but are two steps
from us through our first and second circle
We can measure growth in networks here are a few ways:
**How many circle connections people have with
others in their networks
**How collaborative people are with others in their
Here's what caught my attention:
**The pivotal indicator is the scope of network weaver engagement in networks.
**The other four indicators are accelerated by the work of network weavers who instigate, facilitate, and enrich connections in networks.
**As these indicators increase, the quality and impact of the network grows in ways that benefit the individual members of the network and the network as a dynamic whole.
**The evidence indicates that people have measurably better health, work, well-being, optimism, and engagement in their life when they are connected to happier networks
**We can build on these indicators by adding happiness indicators to the mix
How does happiness scale organically through networks?
**The whole thrivance of networks grows when more people become connected to already happier connections and bring more happiness to the connections they have
**This is how we can move from thinking about growth just in quantities, densities and reaches of connections to the vibrant and contagious quality of connections that add to the measureable welllbeing of the network
Selected by Jan Gordon covering "Content Curation, Social Business and Beyond"
What if when you bought a new Macbook, the price was higher because your tweets constantly referenced your love and devotion for Apple? What if Orbitz used the fact that your Facebook ...
Likes include “Party Rocking in Miami” to charge you more for a flight to Miami?
This is called online behavioral pricing. It’s a consumer’s worst nightmare as it uses the traces of your online identity to maximize prices on the products and services you want most. It’s also an ecommerce merchant’s dream.
Behavioral pricing is a form of price discrimination. The goal of price discrimination is to maximize profits by adjusting the price that different customers pay based on data about the consumer. Price discrimination is common offline, such as the Museum of Modern Art charging adults $25 but students only $14.
We’ve already seen online merchants make preliminary attempts at this. When the New York Times unveiled its digital subscriptions, it decided to charge $15 per month to subscribe on your clunky old Blackberry, but $20 per month to subscribe on your iPad. Yet, it doesn’t cost the New York Times more to deliver content to the iPad.
Instead the assumption was that you, the owner of a $500 tablet, would be more willing to pay than your average smartphone user.
But this rudimentary price discrimination is a mere hint of what’s coming with behavioral pricing…
U.S. physicians are less likely than doctors in other countries to report expected benefits from using health IT, according to an international survey by Accenture, Healthcare IT News reports.
For the survey -- which was conducted between August and September of 2011 -- researchers polled more than 3,700 physicians in eight countries about their perceptions of health IT. The eight countries are: Australia; Canada; England; France; Germany; Singapore; Spain; and The U.S.
Comparing U.S. With Other Countries
The survey found that 45% of U.S. physicians said health IT would improve diagnostic decisions, the lowest rate among the eight nations surveyed. Among all respondents, 61% said health IT would improve diagnostic decisions.
The survey also found that:
47% of U.S. physicians said health IT has helped improve the quality of treatment decisions, compared with the survey-wide average of 61%; and 45% of U.S. physicians reported that technology leads to improved health outcomes for patients, compared with the survey-wide average of 59%.
Rick Ratliff -- global lead for Accenture Connected Health Services -- said the survey suggests that "more needs to be done to bridge the disconnect between physician perceptions and the U.S. federal government's goal of increasing the adoption of meaningful use standards."
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
According to the study, most doctors in all countries surveyed believe that health IT provides some common benefits, such as:
Better access to quality data for research; Improved care coordination; and Reduced medical errors. Researchers also noted that physicians who routinely use health IT tools rated the overall benefits higher than physicians who use health IT tools less often (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 1/10).
How does your brand get its messages to its customers? The first question you should ask is “how does my customer want to receive information?” With the public being information rich, the way we consume data has changed. What do I mean? Consider how you read a newspaper. Do you read it front to back, back to front? Do you skip the gossip column or scan to look for transfer gossip from your favourite football team. Do read each column in detail? The majority of people now scan headlines and pictures and read further it this grabs their attention. Making the right first impression has never been so important.
Marketers should think seriously before pushing out product messages. People think visually and as a result infographics have become the norm. Rather than trying to consume information from an article it helps the customer to absorb data by presenting it in a user friendly way.
Another example is video (click on the headline for a great example). Health information has traditionally been presented in a boring and clinical way. Perhaps it is time to think differently, creating visual versions of marketing material. Creating a buzz for your brand is all about creating content people will want to share. So if you’re a marketer wanting to get your messages notices, think visual.
Social media is a window to how consumers co-create or re-create a general perception of a brand. It is a rich data mine of insights which when put together like puzzle pieces reveals unlimited possibilities. The social media buzz provides an opportunity your brand and company to engage and drive performance, whether you like it or not social media has an impact.
Embracing the social into your business practices can make a dramatic impact on cost effectiveness. If you have not considered how social business can change your organisation then a good place to start it to look at how to tap into the social buzz surrounding your brand and company.
By listening to social buzz your brand/company a can achieve true insight into your customers, which in turn can help improve your marketing. Understanding customer behaviours used to be the realm of traditional market research and focus groups but with the empowered customer you only have to listen and monitor their online activities.
Marketing and communication is all about influence. What will make a member of the general public buy your products? How can we engage with them more effectively?
Dating provides the perfect analogy. How do you introduce yourself? (As an internet marketer how do you get yourself noticed via advertising and search engine optimisation). How you get a first date? (Creating a call to action to try your product) How do you then go steady? (Gaining regularly use of your product) How do you formalise your relationship into marriage? (Turning your customers into advocate of your products)
Moving your brands relationship with your customers forward you need to understand what is the spark of attraction that drives them to want more. The article (click on the headline for full story) shows how a marketer can learn a lot by studying the art of attraction. Romancing your customers shows that you value them and that you are focused on their needs.
Human psychology is an immensely important factor in greater conversions (and more sales). Here are 10 ways to use psychology to increase conversions.
Dave Pinnington's insight:
The more marketing develops the more it'll need to look at different behavioural aspects of a customer to become truly optimised. Psychology (in particular behavioural psychology) plays a fundamental part.
When it comes to making decisions customers tend to make less and less rationale decisions. For example..Why did you choose the last washing powder you bought? Most of us don't know why we make the choice, and with hindsight rationalise it. Often it is this post purchase information we do market research on, eventually giving us answers. These answers are our perseption of why customers make a decision but isn't entirely accurate. We actually make subconsciously. Cognitive biases play a key part in this decision making process along with 2 other factors. The other 2 are behavioural experience (the basis of gamification) and behavioural economics (the incentive for making the decision). Aligning marketing to these 3 factors can provide the impact companies are looking for... sales
Below is a great article from Brad Friedman on Social Media Tips to do in the New Year (click on headline for full article). There are quite a few good points. The one I would like to highlight in particular is "including a call to action". Influencing and changing behaviour via marketing is all about encouraging a call to action, whatever the channel or communication. Social media should include a “call to action” but can be the perfect call to action for other marketing activities. Let us consider why…
Social media being digital is measurable and can provide an insight into your customers by how they interact. Driving customers into social media as a call to action not only enables your next engagement with your customer but provides a means of measurement. To understand what call to action you should get your customers to take then you need to answer two questions:
1. What is the desired behaviour I want from the customer?
2. Why would the customer want to do those behaviours?
Marketing is being reshaped with the rise of behavioural economics and psychology, as they can help us provide answers to the second question. Traditionally marketing has answered question 2 by market research, asking the customer. While still important, what is surprising is that customers do not really know why they make their decisions or have distorted view on why they do. Marketing research often only identifies customer assumptions rather than looking at the real behavioural drivers.
This blog will reveal over time some of the behavioural factors within society that you can use within your communication. Our lives are influenced by a series of cognitive biases that when understood can become a powerful tool to any marketer or communicator.
The article by Brad Friedman....
2011 was a big year for social media. The “Big Three,” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn got bigger. Hundreds, maybe thousands of other social networks flourished. One would be hard-pressed to make the case that social media is still just a fad. Instead, it’s become clear social media is here to stay. It has fundamentally changed the way we do business and the way we document our everyday lives. One in every nine people on Earth are on Facebook and people spend over 700 billion minutes a month sharing photos and status updates. As 2011 comes to a close, I thought I’d share a few tips for you to implement in 2012.
Google+ Business Pages
Google+ is still in its infancy. Now is a great time to get in while the playing field is still level. Many companies have thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn while it appears Google+ has plenty of room to grow.
Include A Picture
This is a pet peeve of mine. You absolutely must upload a photo on every one of your social media sites. When your site is missing a photo it looks like you don’t care. Social media is supposed to be social. It’s personal and including a photo makes your profile come to life. If you don’t believe me, think about this: Twitter accounts with photos have ten times more followers than those that don’t.
Post With Links
If you don’t include a link with your tweets, updates and other posts, you’re missing an opportunity to drive traffic to your website and blog.
Social Media Buttons
Make it easy for people to find you on your social media sites. Add social media buttons to your website, your blog, even your email address. This is just Marketing 101 and the results are measurable.
Include A Call To Action
Don’t be shy about asking people to follow you, retweet your tweet or otherwise engage in your content. Give this a try. People respond to these types of requests and you’ll never know unless you ask.
Content Is King
Content still rules social media sites. Posts that don’t just include a link, but contain some content about the link result in more interaction. The more characters in your tweets (at least 130) and your Facebook updates (up to 450) the more interaction.
A Few Final Tips
If you opened a social media account, use it. When I visit an account and the last post was a month ago, I run. Grab your company name while you can. Twitter handles are going fast. Secure your name while you can. Separate your personal and business accounts. Trust me, your customers/clients don’t care where you’re having lunch and they don’t want to see your vacation photos.
With gamification being a hot topic for digital marketing in 2012, have you considered why your brand should participate? Gamification can have two main benefits for your brand:
2. Behavioural change
Let me explain these two in more detail. Firstly brand awareness forms the basis of most marketing activities and should not be overlooked as an endpoint in itself. If done rightly gamification can capture the interest of your customers, generating a connection with your brand. Adding in a social aspect, competition vs friends/peers the experience can generate a buzz and go viral. This spreads brand awareness in a cost effective manner. For some brands, awareness campaigns are not just about “brand awareness” but may be about a specific issue for example in the pharmaceutical industry “disease awareness”, where the aim may be to increase awareness of a disease and its underlying risk factors. Gamification provides an opportunity to amplify awareness and also put it into context with your company’s products and services;. A neat example of this can be seen on the IBM website “Cityone”:
By highlighting, various issues, IBM successfully create an engaging experience that shows the companies consultancy expertise.
The second aspect of gamification is behavioural change. Behavioural change can occur through increase awareness of an issue alone, but by letting the customer experience the desired behaviours and the resulting outcomes this can result in long lasting behavioural change. Experience based learning isn’t a new concept as teacher have been using this as an educational method to enrich pupil enjoyment of a subject for many years. The real outcome of experience-based learning is increased engagement and recall of the subject matter. As a marketer increased engagement and recall is typically the desire objectives of the majority of your campaigns.
The pharmaceutical industry currently spends more educating its customers than in any other industry. Having viewed many medical education programmes from various pharmaceutical companies, they are generally delivered in a traditional un-engaging style. Gamification may provide an alternative with real impact. Achieving behavioural change in through gamification requires careful planning. Understanding what current customer behaviours are provides a good starting point, and after comparing these with “desired” behaviours this can form the basis of planning and design.
How do we achieve behavioural change? Planning behavioural change you should consider the following; behaviour economics (incentives of change), behavioural psychology (the psychology behind our behaviours) and change management theory (the processes for change). I’ll be addressing each of these subjects in more detail in further articles on my blog http://www.scoop.it/t/behaviour-marketing/
The big question that needs asking is what are the key factors that make gamification work? Gabe Zichermann’s article (click on headline for full article) looks at 3 main factors. These are the 3 F’s (Friends, Feedback and Fun):
Friends: Friends make up the social context for our gamified system. Today, incorporating and leveraging the power of the social graph is relatively trivial – but creating meaningful interactions that feed a game-like system is not. Users want the opportunity to engage with and make new friends in almost every context, and bringing sociability to a gamified experience serves all player types. Even in the evolution of the leaderboard (nominally an achiever-killer mechanic), we can see the power of socializing to change behavior: today’s leaderboards often present users as compared to their social graph. The addition of team play, collaboration/cooperation and altruism only serve to enhance the power of friends in gamified systems. Unexpected/non-traditional socializing – such as that found in Turntable.fm or Zamzee – also helps drive new behaviours.
Feedback: Feedback is the process of giving users information on how they’re doing. This feedback is almost always designed as part of the gamified system you’ve built, but ideally should speak to their larger-scale journey to mastery. That is – good feedback will help the user see themselves as part of a bigger picture struggle/effort to get where they want to go. Feedback mechanisms can take many forms, including the display of points, a progress bar, popup notifications, etc – but they all have something in common: they break a long term system into small, generally positive messages that reinforce the user’s sense of progress. In some cases, the application of progress mechanics is so revolutionary that it accounts for a disproportionate amount of the initial impact of gamification (e.g. in Enterprise settings).
Fun: Fun, lastly, is the most elusive of the three Fs. It means vastly different things to different people, and only works as an objective if we can segment our audience and understand their needs/desires. While many designers, authors and philosophers have weighed in on the value and meaning of fun, a gamification designer needs to principally consider two elements: how we add delight (and possibly levity) to everyday life, and how we facilitate discovery and progress across the long-arc of a user-centric system. Put another way, our designs balance a bit of unexpected delight (can I get an “amen”?) with long-term, results-oriented fun e.g. the excitement of completion, discovery, mastery. This is especially important when we explain the need for “fun” to partners or superiors in serious contexts: it need not always be trivial or lightweight. Much of what makes something fun is quite intense, although people generally gravitate to sunshine over darkness.
Many experts are predicting 2012 to be the year that gamification is taken seriously by brands, perhaps it is time your company takes seriously the benefits it can offer.
The rise of online communication has shifted the dynamics of “thought leadership”. At one time thought leadership and creating a personal brand meant speaking at congress, writing industry journal articles or writing books, now creating an online presence is becoming a vital tool for any expert or senior manager.
Getting your thoughts noticed by the media is easier than ever if you can only tap into how they engage via social media. Journalist hungry for scoops scan social media for interesting opinions, conversations and stories. The modern customer does not want to hear press releases, they want to converse with your brand/company and this is best done through individuals. Developing your own personal influence and that of your key opinion leaders could be the best investment you ever make. Having completed a few digital capability scans of blue chip companies, it clearly shows that senior management generally have largest skill gaps when it comes to social media and in particularly how they can use it to develop their personal brand.
The impact of social media coaching can have on an organisation can be quite profound. Following a training course last week, a pharmaceutical executive commented, “I knew that social media is popular but I didn’t understand how vital a skill it is for any aspiring leader”. With online communications continually evolving, senior executives are now looking forward to digital mentors to help keep them ahead of the curve.
What is it that separates people with strong online influence from people and organizations that have less of it? For anyone who needs to improve their online status the Forbes linked (to read Forbes article by clicking on the headline to find out more) is a good start. But if you want to take social media seriously then understanding your individual, team and KOL capabilities is the first step, then you can understand the interventions needed to ensure success.