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What Customer Personality Can Teach You About Your Marketing Strategy

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Conversion optimization is a matter of persuasion. And persuasion is, first of all, a matter of psychology. As you may know, nobody is better than Robert Cialdini in teaching us about persuasion and psychology as a way to understand how customer's mind works.

Not surprisingly, marketers regularly base promotional techniques on Cialdini's principles of social influence to increase the desirability of their products among customers. The choice of what tactics to use, however, is primarily determined by their business goals, while ‘who’ their customers are - from a psychological point of view - is often pushed into the background.

Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority, and Scarcity. These six principles rely on different psychological motives:

  • The desire to give something back when we've received something (Reciprocity).
  • The need to behave consistently with our previous choices (Commitment and Consistency).
  • The tendency to perform actions that reflect other people's actions (Social Proof).
  • The tendency to like someone or something that seems similar to us (Liking).
  • The tendency to follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable figures (Authority).
  • The desire to have more of those things we can have less of (Scarcity).

Each of these principles is related to our inner needs, which make us different one another. As a result, their effectiveness can be stronger or weaker depending on who is the target audience - always from a psychological perspective.

Here are three good examples.

SOCIAL PROOF

People look at what others do to determine their own behavior, especially when they are uncertain or doubtful. Conforming to others, in fact, helps us to feel part of a social group and avoid social faux pas. This kind of "peer power", however, works only with certain types of people.

The ideal customer personality

Social proof is typically more persuasive to people who have a high need for approval and a desire to conform, but it can't work with those who seek uniqueness. Having a high need for uniqueness, in fact, undermines the influence of majority (Imhoff & Erb, 2009). As a result, recommendation techniques such as "people like you bought this" may bother uniqueness-seeking customers while attracting conformity-seekers at the same time.

SCARCITY

People perceive products as more attractive and valuable when their availability is rather limited. So, when they believe that something is in short supply, they want it more. Because valuable things are often scarce, people tend to conclude that scarce things are valuable and more desirable. That is why customers are so attracted by products promoted as being "scarce" (versus abundant), in time or quantity (Cialdini, 1993).

Promotions such as the 'limit one per customer' sales and the 'limited editions' are designed to harness the persuasive power of the scarcity effect. However, as they rely on specific psychological mechanisms, the effectiveness of scarcity changes according to "whom" they are addressed.

The ideal customer personality

Scarcity effect by its nature conveys a feeling of urgency and the belief that you will be missing out on something if you fail to act quickly. A personality trait called "need for closure" refers to one's desire for gaining a definitive answer to a question, thus avoiding uncertainty.

People who are high on this trait feel the urge to come to a quick decision, and scientific research demonstrates that scarcity affects them more compared to people who tend to avoid closure and are more comfortable with ambiguity (Jung & Kellaris 2004). As a result, customers  with higher need for closure would be more prone to buy something if they know that it is the very last one or that a special deal will soon expire.

RECIPROCITY

People feel the need to give back to others the form of behaviors, favors or gifts that they have received in the first place. In other words, they want to treat others the same way they have treated them before and, more importantly, be the last to give.

Running a blog that offers highly actionable and useful insights for free; a waiter or waitress that gives you a gift - such as a fortune cookie, or a mint - when bringing your bill; offering a gift incentive upfront rather than at the end of a sale.

All these common-used tactics apply the principle of reciprocity to make your readers more willing to buy something from you or provide you with a conversion and to be more generous tippers. As we all know, however, the feeling of being indebted to others, the sense of gratitude and the desire to repay a kindness, are not equally present in each of us.  

The ideal customer personality

Studies have found that such "prosocial" tendencies are strongly rooted in personality and, especially, in individual differences in agreeableness.

Agreeable people are typically more grateful, thankful, and trustful. They are also more likely to attribute their positive outcomes to the intentional behavior of others, while distrustful people tend to be suspicious, skeptical, and address others' kindness to personal or selfish gain. So, agreeable customers are perfect for reciprocity-based engagement techniques.

If you think that customers decisions are just based on past behaviors, you are wrong. They mainly depend on who they are. That is why it is imperative to put effort into knowing the human side of your customers and choose how to communicate with them on a personal level.

In a world where hyper-personalization is an essential factor for success in every business, blending empathy in your marketing strategy becomes the key to meet the challenge. Add technology to the equation, and that is the key to make it scalable.

References:

Cialdini, R. (1993). The psychology of influence. New York: William Morrow & Co.

Imhoff, Roland, Hans-Peter Erb. 2009. What motivates nonconformity? Uniqueness seeking blocks majority influence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 35(3) 309–320.

Jung, J. M., & Kellaris, J. J. (2004). Cross‐national differences in proneness to scarcity effects: The moderating roles of familiarity, uncertainty avoidance, and need for cognitive closure. Psychology & Marketing, 21(9), 739-753.

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Topics: psychographics Employee Engagement customer engagement Digital Customer Experience

How Customers Find Ideas And Inspiration [INFOGRAPHIC]

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What did you do the last time you had to buy something? Who did you turn to for ideas and inspiration? When was the last time you bought something without looking for opinions or reviews?

The answer to these questions leads us to the fundamental role that mobile technology plays in our daily decisions, from the most important ones to those that we would have once taken without thinking.

In the last two decades, our behaviors have changed so deeply that we hardly remember how life was before the spread of Internet-connected devices. Making decisions was a long, sometimes hard process. Customers were more thoughtful but also less reactive and aware.

Today, on the contrary, customers have all the information they need at their fingertips, readily available on the screen of the smartphone, wherever they are. More than 50% of customers use their smartphones to search for product info and decide what to buy and where to buy.

This simple fact has made them more aware and fast than ever, but also less reflective. The attention span is lower than ever (barely 8 seconds), and this behavioral changes have a huge impact on the way Brands plan and execute their marketing strategies.

According to recent research, 78% of customers searching on mobile for a local business ultimately end up making a purchase. Technology reshapes the 4Ps of traditional marketing, and the experience becomes the primary - if not the only - business differentiator.

The spread of the mobile devices, connected objects, and digital services constantly rewrites the structure of the customer journey. Today, the touchpoints we used to cross only a few years ago have lost relevance, and new ones have emerged - mainly online.

As mentioned by Google in a report about the Micro Moments, in this fast-paced and crowded ecosystem, where customers can buy whatever they want online at a lower price, you can be successful only when:

  • You are there - You must show up where and when your customers are ready to choose you.
  • You are quick - You do whatever it takes to connect with customers before your competitors.
  • You are relevant - You can deliver meaningful contents, when and where it matters most.

Today’s super-empowered consumers know they can research anything they need or want online. But while people are still searching for specific products, they are increasingly turning to search before they have even figured out what to buy. Ultimately, they are looking for ideas and inspiration.” (Think With Google)

When Google was founded in 1998, on average it was serving ten thousand search queries per day. Today, Google processes over 40 thousand search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.

The disruption of search behaviors is caused by the evolution of technology but, in return, it can also become a vector of innovation. The perfect example is the algorithm of Google’s search engine, more and more ‘inspired’ by what happens on that (not so) tiny device in the hands of customers.

Mobile platforms now account for roughly the 60% of total time spent on digital media, and more than 60% of all traffic on Google search engine comes from mobile devices. These numbers are so relevant that Google has decided to split the engine into two - desktop and mobile - with the latter becoming the most important for your business purposes.

By understanding how people are searching for ideas, brands have an opportunity to get into their consideration set. Brands can think of all the open-ended discovery moments where someone is totally open to what is out there and make themselves visible and differentiated.” (Google)

Going back to the opening questions, a good exemplification of what has changed in how shoppers find ideas and inspiration can be found in an infographic featured on Think With Google. A necessary starting point to understand how you can adapt and improve your strategy.

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Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Customer Journey Digital Customer Experience

This One Key Habit Will Make You Attract Immense Success In 2018

The new year has started. Time of resolutions. And thinking about my professional purpose, which is to empower people's lives with technology, I have come to reflect on how I can be useful to you, to help you deliver a higher value and impact.

We interact with one another in an increasingly digitized world. Constant interruptions, leaving messages unanswered, and lack of interest have all become the norm in our society, overflooded with mobile devices and screens. But is this what you want? And if not, what can you do in 2018 about it?

Digital incumbents' engineers and designers have worked hard in these years to make email, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other tools addictive. They reward you through the neurochemicals you experience when you use them. They give you the illusion of accomplishment and productivity and supposed social connection.

Out for dinner? Instead of talking about the food, you post a picture of it online. Missing family? Instead of calling your dad, you send a message to update him on your life. At a party, you are busy sharing the experience with your friends online instead of talking to other people there.

At home and at work, even as you sleep, your devices – the smartphone or tablet – attach to you and surround you. Your apps buzz, beep and ring at you, and even when they don’t, you can’t resist their allure and reach your smartphone for your dose of dopamine, as you do with a delicious croissant.

Your costs, though not evident, include a lost ability to converse or relate in person and a loss of empathy quotient (EQ). In your organization, such behavior leads to declining morale, less creativity, little collaboration and lower productivity. Your friendships fade as once-deep conversations grow shallow and disjointed. Once you lose the ability to relate effectively in person, you hide behind your devices all the more. 

Research shows that once you are interrupted, it takes 23 minutes to get back to the performance level you had beforehand. Learning to unitask is difficult, especially if you are younger than 40 and raised on the multitasking myth, but you can “rewire” your brain with practice.

Your work in 2018 requires from you more focus, time and reflection. As Cal Newport explains in his book, Deep Work:

The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.

If you can set strict mental boundaries and commit to intensely focused work times, I promise you will shine in 2018.

Now that year's end is passed and as you have to regain optimal weight :) more critical: you have to cultivate your brain's shape.

Yes, you are vulnerable to the emotional gratifications that your phone offers – as you are neurochemically rewarded when you attend to its constant stimulation.

Technology promises to supplement your life, but often it ends up changing or controlling it. Texting disrupts conversations; emerging AI supplants human caregivers. Algorithms collect and analyze everything you do online and predict what you want.

Not all this is bad, but now is the time to think deliberately about your behavior. Put your phone out of sight and talk to your kids, partner, and co-workers. Spend more time alone, either thinking or daydreaming. Talk to people who don’t share your views. Demand more transparency from the Big Four (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple). And most important, set aside time for real, eye-to-eye, conversation with human beings. Those empathic, mind-enriching conversation that you cannot have with Siri, Cortana or Google Now.

My good news to you is that you don’t have to give up your smartphone. If you understand its profound effects on you, you can approach it with greater intention and choose to live differently with it. I hope this can be - together with me - one of your resolutions to gain success in 2018.

 

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Human Capital Management