Forget about the technology, it’s all about psychology

Reading Steve Rubel’s recent post “Want to Win Friends? Forget About You and Get People Talking About Me”, I was pleased to see I am not the only one who gets “prioritize psychology over technology and understand how the two intersect”, as he says.

Marketing has changed; it has become a behavioural science, not an advertising science. It is no wonder your average marketer is struggling.

Getting inside the consumer’s mind and behavior is a challenge; engaging them and getting their recommendation is a bigger challenge, as the advertising-avoiding savvy consumer doesn’t want to be push sold to anymore. Self-discovery has become an important part of the purchase funnel.

Consumers like to discover and then share, because, in sharing, they like looking smart and looking like they have discovered something different, cool, and “engaging”.

That is why the strong relationship between Google and social networks takes the purchase consideration into a new space in the digital economy.

We discover something from our friends, we then go and search it. Or we search and find something, then go to our social networks to share it or to get a recommendation. It impacts what we buy.

But what we share or recommend also has to make us “look good”!

Do you remember the old days of email jokes, you always checked in with yourself before you forwarded the email on to your address book. You didn’t want to look stupid; you only shared the email, if it made you “look” good or look smart. The same principle applies with social media, it is just we are sharing publicly and en masse often to make us feel good, look informed and/or come across as smart.

Content is the intersection in technology and psychology, says Rubel:

The press has earned a virtual master’s degree in online psychology. The most sophisticated among them know how to package content in a way that’s gratifying not only to consume but to share. They recognize that content sharing can be like wearing a brand of jeans – a status symbol.

Package content in a way that’s gratifying not only to consume but to share.

That is why marketing is so hard today; you have work hard to earn your consumer, as opposed to “buy” the consumer with eye-ball traditional advertising.

It’s a whole new world very few understand beyond Facebook or Twitter basics.

Top tips

  • Make your content easy: video, photos, infographics and so on all rock
  • Let consumers share it and add to it
  • Tell stories, not sales messages
  • Keep it short and snappy: we are all used to short-form language (SMS, Twitter, status updates)
  • Two H’s: humour and humility are always big winners
  • Credible and honest
  • Ask for comment, or otherwise how can you engage?
  • Think how it can make the consumer look good by sharing
  • Discounts and free often works, but make sure it is a really good deal and you can deliver it (no more Click Frenzy examples needed!)
  • Optimise it for search AND social
  • Track it

Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.

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