Digital Marketing & Human Behaviour

Posted by admin at 12:37 PM on Nov 17, 2023


There's an aspect of marketing that, although simple, bears repeating. It is the fact that whatever you sell, you are selling it to humans, and although every human is different there are some aspects of behaviour that everyone engages with. If we know what behavioural triggers elicit a particular response then we can use that to create persuasive messages for any channel.

Behavioural science has a long history in the field of psychology; everyone is familiar with Pavlov's famous experiment on dogs where he conditioned them to salivate or expect food on the sound of a bell. We're not suggesting you approach marketing like dog training, but there are some valuable lessons to be learned.

The concept of reciprocity is a powerful one; no-one likes to feel like in debt to someone, or like they are the “taker” in a relationship (even with a brand), so giving people something can trigger them to give something back. One financial services firm in the US shored up revenue from its resellers by sending them personalised gifts with a note telling them to expect a call from an agent. When the calls came through, the leverage of the gift made the resellers more open to that conversation, which led to $68 million worth of business.

Of course, this is an account based marketing relationship but the same principle can be applied to other styles of marketing. If you're planning to engage in a round of emails or calls that you're hoping will drive a surge in sales (perhaps if you're launching a new product) you can sweeten this by sending a free gift ahead of the campaign. Maybe it's an accessory you have in stock that would free up warehouse space if you gave them away, or even an accessory for the new product?

A sense of belonging is another aspect of human behaviour that marketers have been using for years. We're used to being referred to as “valued” customers. That word doesn't work so well now because everyone uses it, but if you were to frame your customers as “active”, “loyal” or another positive attribute you can make people behave according to that label.

Researchers in America studied the impact of labelling ahead of a local election in Chicago. Voters were split into two groups evenly matched in terms of political activity, with one group being told they were very politically active. On election day, 10% more of the so-called active group actually voted – they were acting in accordance with their label.

This sense of belonging extends to the fear of not belonging, or of falling behind the achievements of others in the same group. This is a fairly easy string to tug on using sales data and any other metrics you track that customers want to be associated with, such as safety, best practices and other positive attributes.

Let's use the example of a security company who want to sell more CCTV cameras to their existing customer base. A persuasive tactic would be to create a simple graph of the average number of security cameras each of their customers has at their business premises, with a mark on the graph for each individual recipient.

The recipients who see that they are above average will feel good about being security conscious, while those who fall below will naturally want to upgrade and will buy more cameras, or even other security products.

With our help, these simple aspect of human behaviour can help your email communications and other marketing strategies become more effective. You wouldn't want to miss out on that, would you?

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