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.]
For the first time in a long time I took a few minutes to run through the Valpak co-op mailing I received last week.
After a few minutes of looking at the offers, I came up with a short list of things to consider if you’re using Valpak (or other co-ops) as a marketing channel. The short list is powered by my own past experience and might stimulate you to think of some other ideas.
Before I get started, here’s a rundown of what I found inside. There was a total of 43 inserts inside the envelope (which featured, bizarrely, a promotion for the television program CSI: NY on the OE and which distracted me from the 1:50,000 possibility that there might be a check for $100 inside). I sorted the inserts into three categories:
National advertisers (19, 44% of the total). These included Netflix, DirecTV, Verizon, Omaha Steaks and others. Of those, 4 (27%) of the inserts did not use the standard 8 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ format and instead paid additional for a heavier and/or different stock insert.
Regional/franchise (8, 19% of the total). Included here were ads for the local Gold’s Gym, Kaiser Permanente and Molly Maids. Of these, only 1 (12%) of the inserts deviated from the standard insert.
Local advertisers (15, 35% of the total). These ranged from local dentists to home improvement providers to Anthony’s, a restaurant down the street–which included some coupons that might finally get me to take the family there!. Only 1 insert (7%) strayed from the Valpak standard format.
Valpak ran one house insert, promoting an offer of $350 to target 10,000 homes for new advertisers, a CPM of $35.
We can immediately see some ideas, just from this basic sort.
Humans and chimpanzees have a match on about 96% of their DNA. That’s not a lot of difference between you or I in our automobiles, sipping a Starbucks latte while chatting our cell phones and our pan troglodytes relatives in the rain forests of central Africa.
And that 4% is about the difference between dramatic marketing success and dramatic marketing failure.
How can you avoid being a marketing chimpanzee? Just Focus on the Four.