A recent article in the New York Times got me thinking about the psychology of marketing again, and how some basic principles are used or under-used in social media marketing.
“Warning: Habits May Be Good for You” explores how an anthropologist turned to marketing experts from CPG companies like Procter & Gamble to help increase the incidence of hand-washing with soap after using the toilet in the nation of Ghana to improve the health of children. Obviously, this was an important effort and I was encouraged to see marketing practitioners as instrumental in helping achieve success in this endeavor.
As I was reading the article, it struck me that many of the techniques used are found in Robert B. Cialdini‘s classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I’d lent out my copy a few years ago and, thankfully, had to buy a new version which includes an epilogue written by Dr. Cialdini in 2007. My re-read then triggered a few thoughts on social media.
If the social media crowd can stop navel-gazing long enough to do some quick research and scientific work, boy will money be made. [More after the jump.]
You plan for offensive operations, while you prepare to play defense. You’ll find this concept in both warfare and sports, and it’s applicable in business as well.
I much prefer playing offense, because that’s where you score and generate revenues. A strong business offensive plan also limits the amount of places you’ll need to prepare to play defense, freeing up more resources for–you guessed it–playing more offense.
What’s an example of planning as opposed to preparations in a marketing context?
A great example can be found in the United States Postal Service and the annual postage increases. If you’re using direct mail as a marketing channel, you can be sure of two things:
Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L. Bean that is not completely satisfactory.
Unlike a lot of companies, L.L. Bean really lives by their guarantee.
I admit that I actually enjoy being upsold. That’s partly because it’s what I do for a living. It’s also because I want to make certain that I’ve purchased the right thing for the problem I’m trying to solve.
That means I’ve got two all wheel drive vehicles in Northern Virginia because it sometimes snows here and I just might need to pick up the kids at school in the middle of the day.
And it means I’ve got the 8 GB iPhone instead of the 4 GB version because I might get stuck on a plane for a few hours and just might need a few more Van Halen albums to while away the time.
Give me a good value proposition, with clear benefits, at the right time and I’ll buy.
Just don’t give up after the first time, if I don’t buy. Be persistent, like Checks Unlimited.