In July, I attended the MN Search Summit, a one-day conference covering aspects of SEO, SEM, content and more with Associate UX Designer Ann Marie Steib. It’s attended by search engine marketers in the Midwest and features amazing industry thought leaders like Rand Fishkin (The “Wizard of Moz”) and Larry Kim (Founder of WordStream).
My first (and favorite) breakout session of the day was Roger Dooley talking about Neuro-marketing/Neuro-persuasion. He spoke on some of the traditional psychological frameworks we use to guide marketing strategy, but urged that no single theory explains all consumer behavior. The bottom line? The importance of testing is paramount to marketing success.
As a major sucker for good problem-solving framework, I’m sharing with you Roger Dooley’s Persuasion Slide. This is broken into four elements that must work together to guide behavior change in your prospects:
Element 1: Gravity
The most basic element of using any slide, gravity, equates to working with your potential customers to help them accomplish what they want.
- According to Dooley, “gravity is NOT ‘fill out this form, etc.’ but IS ‘we will help you accomplish what you want.’”
- Takeaway: Always work in the direction of your customers’ gravity. Never try to work against gravity – it won’t end well.
Element 2: The Nudge
The push down the slide.
- The nudge is how you get your potential customer’s attention. It’s what gets the customer thinking about your brand as a way to fulfill their need.
- Examples include email, banner ad, video ad, etc. Below is an example of what Dooley uses as the nudge on his website:
- Takeaway: Make sure the nudge happens, and at the right time. In Dooley’s website example, he might wait to display the pop-up until a user has viewed three pages of content on his site, indicating a visitor that’s more engaged in reading his content.
Element 3:The Angle
The steeper the angle, the faster you slide. Thus, the more motivated the potential customer is, the faster conversion occurs.
- Motivators increase your potential customer’s likelihood of conversion. Motivators can be conscious or non-conscious:
- Conscious: features, benefits, price, discounts, etc.
- Non-conscious: emotions, psychology, and “brain bugs”- things that we subconsciously choose that may not be logical. Font choice was an example of a non-conscious motivator. In Dooley’s example, customers were willing to pay much more for a product that featured a typeface with a luxury feel.
- Conscious and non-conscious motivators work together. Much of consumer behavior is irrational, so appealing to emotion (through non-conscious motivators) is important, but so is making your user believes their decision was a rational one (by using conscious motivators like discounts).
- Takeaway: Consider what motivators you can include in your messaging to increase your potential customer’s “angle”.
Element 4: Friction
Think about an old, rusty slide on a poorly-maintained playground. It’s going to hurt, and you might opt for the swings instead.
- Friction on the slide is a difficulty the potential consumer faces that’s either real or perceived.
- Real friction examples include long form fields and difficult website process or instructions.
- Imaginary friction examples include hard-to-read fonts and visual design, and long blocks of text.
- Dooley called fixing these mistakes the “cheapest way to increase conversions”.
- Takeaway: Analyze your product/offering, and website and marketing materials for potential friction, then have your agency do the same. Fix everything that creates friction against potential conversion.
The Persuasion Slide framework is an insightful way to begin tackling marketing problems. I look forward to reading his book, Brainfluence. You can also watch Dooley present here.
If you have an interest in other brain-based behavior change frameworks, I recommend B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model. I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Fogg a few years ago, and he’s one of the best speakers I’ve seen to-date. His behavior model is easy to understand and easy to begin implementing right away.
You rarely hear someone say, “man, I love ads.” That’s partly because liking ads is something that’s not socially acceptable to own up to, like enjoying the music of Nickelback or being a Chicago Bears fan. But it’s also because a lot of ads kind of suck, and people* will do everything in their power to avoid them.
It began after the golden age of marketing, when every family in the country gathered around the TV every night to watch the same program, that the glow of shiny advertisements began to dull. People realized ads were bad, ads kept them from content. Hearing the first few seconds of a well-known jingle sent fingers clicking to new stations. Eyes began to gloss over newspaper and magazine ads. DVR devices promised viewers they would never have to watch another ad again! The industry was aflutter with cries that TV advertising was dead. But it isn’t. It’s different, but not dead.
Now, the digital ad blocker has risen. According to PageFair and Adobe’s 2015 Ad Blocking Report, 16 percent of the U.S. population blocked ads during Q2 2015. This led to an estimated $10.7 billion in lost advertising revenues in 2015. Obviously, this is a big deal.
While it remains to be seen how the industry will officially address ad blocking, let’s take a look at the reasons people block digital ads, and who I think should buck up and deal with it:
- Reason #1: Load times/data usage. Who wants to hit their mobile data limit 10 days before the end of the month, just because the page had to load one too many ads with expandable, in-banner video, five social media integrations and a map of the closest retailers?
- Who should solve this? Advertisers. Make less-intrusive, faster-loading ads that are still interesting. If your product and messaging are intriguing, and you have quality creative, there’s no need for gimmicks. Just make better ads, guys.
- Reason #2: Clutter. Scrolling through a post that stacks ad after ad is just a poor user experience.
- Who should solve this? Publishers. Monetizing your site is important. But if you’re providing really good content, either users should be willing to pay for it, or advertisers should be willing to pay for it. Sometimes that extra ad money isn’t worth losing a frustrated reader.
- Reason #3: “There are ads everywhere else I go! I’m bombarded every day, in every medium! Just let me control what I can.” Ads really are everywhere. I get it.
- Who should solve this? You. I feel your pain, but the only way you’re going to fully avoid any advertising is by pulling a Walden. If you want to consume media, you have to pay for it in some way. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
A lot will have to change to create a more pleasant web ecosystem for everyone. It’s important to consider the psychology behind why people avoid ads to ensure we’re creating the right solutions. Now, I’m going back to working on some ads that don’t suck.
*Here, and most other places, “people” are defined as anyone outside of the ad industry.
One of the most important things a company can do prior to planning a marketing campaign is solidifying the campaign’s goal. Campaign planning can’t be a shot in the dark, and having measurable goals makes your future campaigns smarter and more effective. I’ve identified a few key components of the goal-setting and measurement process, which are a perfect starting point for your campaign planning:
Know What Type of Goal You Really Need. Sometimes the goal isn’t – or shouldn’t be – buy, buy, buy. The business need of your goal type will largely be influenced by: the product (does it have a long or short purchase cycle? What is the price point?), the target’s relationship with the product (do they have zero awareness of your product? Are they familiar with your product but not using it? Why?), and the company’s share within the market (is your target buying your competitor’s product, but not your product? Is your product totally new to market?). All of these questions and more will influence the type of goal to set. The following are just a few examples of marketing goal types:
- Generate awareness
- Change perceptions
- Encourage trial
- Increase sales
- Encourage repeat purchase/keep current customers from leaving
- Grow your market share
- Grow your product’s category
Be SMART. If you squint really hard and think all the way back to grade school, you may remember setting “SMART” goals. But hey, this framework isn’t as basic as you think – MIT uses the SMART format for employee performance development, and marketing software company HubSpot has recommended using it for marketing goal-setting. Because goal-setting can be like navigating muddy waters, using this framework can help you get a clearer picture. Goals should be:
Specific – The goal should be clearly-written and explicit. Put it through an approval process with people that both work on the project, and those that don’t.
Measurable – Make sure goals are quantifiable and there is a measurement plan in place. Tracking ROI on previous campaigns can help with both budgeting and setting intelligent goals for new campaigns.
Attainable – Ensure you’re setting the campaign up for success by allowing adequate time upfront to strategize and plan. In addition, know what internal tools and research are available to help make smarter decisions (for example, is there a database of current customer data you can draw from and model?
Realistic – No amount of money in the world will get Nike 100 percent market share for athletic shoes, and it may take a lot of money to get them just a 2 percent increase. Examine outside factors that might affect the campaign when setting goals.
Time-Bound – Limit goals to a certain time frame that is limited but realistic.
Know What To Measure, and How To Measure It. This may be a big giant “duh,” but for each goal type, you’ll want to measure different things. Campaigns with increased-awareness goals may want to utilize a brand metric study, or track increases in branded organic search volume. Utilizing an analytics tracking platform can help measure interest and sales, and provide other valuable information related to the campaign (knowing half your sales come from Chicago will likely influence future planning).
Using these three steps to set clear, intelligent goals before planning a marketing campaign can help you get results, save money and grow your business. If you need help with your goals, we know some pretty great marketers who’d be happy to help – give us a call at 608-232-2300.