5 Further Ways To Engage With Your Audience Using Biases of the Brain (Part II)

Here’s Part 2 of our exploration into the cognitive biases of the brain.  In our first article here, we had mentioned the example of how a waiter who gives gifts can receive higher tips.  Well, there’s a bias for that too …

1. Reciprocity: Receiving a gift creates the social obligation to return it.  This works even better when the gift is bespoke and framed as a special offer for the individual. In the example we cited previously of the mint given with the bill, the tip increases if there are two mints left and further yet, if a hand-written thank you note accompanies it.

As marketers are increasingly able to build one-to-one relationships with their customers, there is a lot more opportunity to personalize and engage around the principles of reciprocity.

2. Disrupt Then Reframe (DTR): Disrupting attention gives advertisers an opportunity to reframe through confusion and thereby decrease the amount of resistance to a proposition.  You use a phrase that confuses and then follow up with an attractive offer.  The famous experiment for this found household sales double by simply using the words 300 pennies (instead of 3 dollars) and the follow-up “it’s a bargain”. So again, the value of a well-crafted piece of content is demonstrable.

3. Acknowledging Resistance: The best way to diffuse an issue is if the issue is directly acknowledged.  For example, Domino’s Pizza publicly admitted that it made horrible pizzas and made this into a rallying point to improve the product.  Noting Domino’s bravery, people gave Domino’s credit for acknowledging what everyone knew and became open to trying the brand again.  While collecting information around leads is of the utmost importance, it’s also good to understand where the brand stands in the minds of our prospects, especially to see whether there are any perceptual barriers that are causing resistance to interacting with the brand, that can be addressed through our messaging.

Customers are individuals. Campaigns should be too!

4. Loss versus Gain Framing: Should the glass be half full or half empty?  Fearing loss, increases risk-taking; expecting gains increases safe behavior.  In the realm of payment methods, people are less likely to accept using a credit card when a credit card fee is framed as “credit card charge” as opposed to a “cash discount”.  It’s obvious when you look at political polls but how you ask your prospects to engage with you can influence the outcome of their answers.  Think about how you would conduct polls before even serving up messaging in your campaigns.

 5. Door-in-the-face: A large request followed by a smaller one increases the chance of compliant behavior (support our troops by enrolling in the Army or buy war bonds). Thinking about how you sequence your messages and highlight benefits to your audience helps ensure individual pieces of communication are all shaping toward conversion behaviors.

As we had touched upon in our previous article, with marketing automation bringing conversations directly to your leads, it is critical to ensure that we are mindful of these tactics and apply them intelligently. And the next time you put a proposition together, make sure you conduct some A/B testing with some mental biases in mind.

Part 2 of a 2 part article written by Sam Cassels and Sosuke Koyama

Image courtesy of Jason Freeny

Harnessing disruption to drive customer-led marketing.


With the economy showing signs of contraction, businesses will soon be seeking efficiencies or looking to reduce or reallocate their budgets. This means that marketing departments have to transform themselves from having a lead-generation mentality (if they have got this far), to having a lead-through-revenue-management mentality.

Many people who have identified this new transformation process will consider implementing some kind of Marketing Automation technology.  Technology is a fundamental enabler for optimising customer experiences and engagement in today’s digitally disrupted world. But such technology will inevitably fail without the right amount of investment in people, process and strategy.

9 out of 10 organisations don’t currently have the change management strategy or business processes in place to make their marketing automation and customer experience management ambitions a reality.

The 80:20 RuleThe formula for customer marketing success should consist of 20 percent technology, with the remaining 80 percent spent on strategy, change management, processes and people. Strategy includes setting KPIs, customer segmentation, program roadmaps, customer monitoring, lead scoring and using personas. Meanwhile change management includes training, audits and reviews, governance, succession planning, an operating model and strong processes.

Everybody needs a planMany who have embarked upon this transformation have failed because of the lack of a robust roadmap. Such a roadmap is critical because it will lay out the steps and change management a business needs to plan for.  For an organisation to realise the true benefits of marketing automation it will take an average of two to three years. In the absence of a roadmap, any technology the business acquires is at risk of becoming nothing more than an expensive email delivery tool.

The Key Ingredients:

  • Vision must not be about implementing a marketing automation tool but rather, delivering Business and Marketing Transformation.
  • Sales and Marketing must align, and discover together their objectives, needs and wants.
  • Establish achievable and realistic KPI`s across two to three years.
  • When considering a tool, you need to consider your technology landscape. If it can be avoided, resist building your own integration tool or using middleware.
  • Have regular checkpoints to ensure that you have not digressed from your path.
  • Consider the governance and operating model. Regardless of what the vendor tells you, there will be a big change process for your sales and marketing teams.
  • Establish and refine your segmentation and content strategies.
  • Ask yourself if you have the stamina and budget to see this transformation through for the next two to three years.
  • Finally, adopt Superdrive’s Five Horizons maturity model.

What will success deliver?Now that we’ve covered the recipe to success, what does success deliver?

  • Aligned Marketing and Sales departments, with increased communication and transparency. The inherent nature of a consolidated platform, tightly integrated with your CRM , provides measurable indicators of the quality and quantity of leads being funneled. In essence, you are creating an automatic feedback loop.
  • Better insight into “what works” and “what doesn’t”.
  • Clarity around Marketing’s contribution to the bottom line.
  • Reduced operating costs by improving efficiency.
  • Helping sell more of what you have offer!

Written by Calvin Yeoh, Regional Business Director, Superdrive.

Cinemagraph by Miho Usuki, Content Producer, Superdrive.

Superdrive is a Marketo Certified Partner with offices in Singapore and Tokyo.

The dawn of marketing’s new golden age

Science, substance and stories. The advent of the Marketing Technology Officer and some rigorous questioning of where you stand in the value creation process make this article from McKinsey a highly commendable read . . .

Marketers are boosting their precision, broadening their scope, moving more quickly, and telling better stories

Science has permeated marketing for decades. Fans of the television drama Mad Men saw a fictionalized encounter when an IBM System/360 mainframe computer physically displaced the creative department of a late-1960s advertising agency. In reality, though, the 1960s through the early 1990s witnessed a happy marriage of advertising and technology as marketers mastered both the medium of television and the science of Nielsen ratings. These years gave birth to iconic advertising messages in categories ranging from sparkling beverages (“I’d like to buy the world a Coke”) to credit cards (“American Express. Don’t leave home without it”) to air travel (“British Airways: the world’s favourite airline”).

Until recently, marketers could be forgiven for looking back wistfully at this golden age as new forces reshaped their world into something completely different. These new trends include a massive proliferation of television and online channels, the transformation of the home PC into a retail channel, the unrelenting rise of mobile social media and gaming, and—with all these trends—a constant battle for the consumer’s attention.

The resulting expansion of platforms has propelled consistent growth in marketing expenditures, which now total as much as $1 trillion globally. The efficacy of this spending is under deep scrutiny. For example, in a survey of CEOs, close to three out of four agreed with the following statement: marketers “are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate.”1 Chief marketing officers (CMOs), it appears, don’t disagree: in another recent survey, just over one-third said they had quantitatively proved the impact of their marketing outlays.2Paradoxically, though, CEOs are looking to their CMOs more than ever, because they need top-line growth and view marketing as a critical lever to help them achieve it. Can marketers deliver amid ongoing performance pressures?

In this article, we’ll explain why we think the answer is yes—and why we are, in fact, on the cusp of a new golden age for marketing. At the core of the new era are five elements that are simultaneously familiar and fast changing. The first two are the science andsubstance of marketing. Leading marketers are using research and analytics to shed light on who buys what, and why; who influences buyers; and when, in the consumer decision journey, marketing efforts are likely to yield the greatest return. That understanding, in turn, is making it possible for marketers to identify more effectively the functional benefits that customers need, the experiences they want, and the innovations they will value.

But this isn’t just another missive on the power of big data. Organizational simplicity is fueling speed, and story is pulling things together while inspiring both the customer and the organization. Happily, the story just seems to get better as creative minds express themselves through digital means, and it then echoes and expands through social media and user-generated content. As you’ll see, the emerging new rules for marketing extend well beyond data and analysis, crucial though those are, and even transcend the marketing organization itself.


Advances in data, modeling, and automated analysis are creating ever more refined ways of targeting and measuring the returns on marketing investments, while generating powerful new clues about why consumers behave as they do. Long gone is spending guided mostly by intuition and focus groups. Instead, organizations are seeking greater precision by measuring and managing the consumer decision points where well-timed outlays can make the biggest difference.

Big data is a term that’s often used to describe this transition. But it’s not just big data; it’s also big research. A major consumer company investigating the decision journey for its products recently undertook a consumer study, collected through online surveys, on a massive scale and at a speed that would have been unimaginable in the days of mall-intercept interviews. The project, which involved more than 10,000 surveys over the course of a month, uncovered material differences between how the company and consumers were thinking about the category, while also explaining what drives choice at each stage of the journey. These insights are now being used to change brand strategy, product-portfolio design, and marketing campaigns. The potential impact runs into billions of dollars in additional revenue.

While much recent marketing science has played out in the measurement and targeting of advertising and promotion expenditures, many consumer companies are increasing their focus on in-store behavior: how promotions, traffic flows, and physical engagement with products affect sales. Capturing and analyzing data on such issues has become more feasible in recent years thanks to low-cost sensors that can be embedded in products, as well as the ability to capture and analyze huge amounts of unstructured data from store videos—and even to track shoppers’ eye movements.

The impact goes beyond marketing and product teams. Marketing science is boosting the precision of real-time operating decisions. At a major hospitality company, marketing analysts are able to get a read on the performance of a particular property or category over a weekend and then drill down on individual customer segments to assess how to make improvements. If the data show that a profitable segment of weekend travelers are shortening their stays, the company can create special offers (such as late checkouts or room upgrades) to encourage repeat business.3 Or consider how one industrial-products company revamped its highly fragmented portfolio of more than 500 SKUs sold to customers in a diverse set of industries. Prices varied widely even for the same products, without any clear reasons as to why, hindering efforts to manage margins. An analytical tool that could scan 1.3 million transactions helped the company redraw customer segments, identify products with opportunities for pricing flexibility, and recommend new prices. Ultimately, it reset about 100,000 price points.

More scientific marketing means that CMOs and other senior leaders need enhanced analytical skills to exploit data possibilities more fully and stay ahead of the whirl of developments. One CEO we know believes it’s time to create a position—marketing technology officer (MTO)—that’s rooted both in technology and domain knowledge. Knowing what can be automated, when judgment is required, and where to seek and place new technical talent are becoming increasingly central to effective marketing leadership. That is intensifying the war for specialized talent as traditional marketing powerhouses bid against high-tech companies for needed skills.


As more advanced marketing science and analytics take hold, they are making it increasingly natural for marketing to go beyond messaging and to shape the substance of the business, particularly the experiences of customers, the delivery of functional benefits, and the drive to develop new products and services. Armed with information about customers and a company’s relationships with them, the CMO is well-positioned to help differentiate its products, services, and experiences.

That’s good, because digital innovation, transparency, and customer-centricity have raised expectations across the board. In automobiles, as sensor technologies proliferate and onboard computing power increases, consumers are now starting to expect that collision-avoidance and digitally-enabled safety systems will become part of manufacturers’ offerings. (Luxury carmakers already are making sophisticated safety options part of their marketing story.) In retail, brands like H&M, Topshop, Uniqlo, and Zara have harnessed the consumer’s desire to have it all by bringing mass-market prices to the colors, fabrics, and designs of high fashion. Simultaneously, Amazon and other digital players are pressuring brick-and-mortar retailers, which are responding both by retooling their supply chains to enable faster restocking and one-day delivery and by creating new advertising messages around the in-store pickup of online orders.

Marketers are well placed to help their organizations meet the rising bar by, for example, making the case for customer-care initiatives and for consistency in the customer experience. A better one became the heart of a marketing campaign at European energy supplier Essent, a subsidiary of RWE. To ensure that the company delivered on the promise, the CEO named the chief of marketing to lead the initiative. Among the successes: making customer onboarding less cumbersome by cutting process steps from seven to two. Marketing also took the lead in efforts to create new products that customers wanted. The CMO led a cross-functional team of sales, IT, and product development to produce Essent’s smart, Internet-connected E-thermostat, for instance. Some of its functionality was cocreated with customers.

Similarly, marketing has taken a leadership role in designing and setting standards for Daimler’s highly digital customer-experience brand, “Mercedes me.” The digital platform provides customers with automated appointment booking, personalized financing, a chance to cocreate ideas, access to maintenance data from sensor-enabled automobile diagnostics, and even quick access to Daimler’s car-sharing and taxi services—for use on business trips, for example. (See “Marketing the Mercedes way” for more on the role of marketing at the company.)

These efforts and many more like them are extending marketing into the guts of the business, and most would not have been possible just a few years ago. The power of today’s digital tools and the scientific approaches they make possible are not only enabling a more substantial role for marketing but also giving it opportunities for real-time impact.


Even as marketing reaches new heights with technology-enabled measurement, the importance of the story hasn’t diminished. But ways to tell it are morphing continually as the stuff of storytelling encompasses richer digital interactions, and mobile devices become more powerful communications tools. In this world, creativity is in greater demand than ever.

Google’s “Dear Sophie” advertisement is an example of the modern art form. It tells the story of a father writing to his daughter as she grows up, with the narrative demonstrating how Google search, Gmail, and YouTube can be new channels of human connectivity.4 (For more on how Google seeks to connect, see “How Google breaks through.”) P&G’s “Pick Them Back Up” spot for the Sochi Olympics (part of the ongoing “Thank You, Mom” campaign) is another moving story. It dramatizes the moms who were there for their kids throughout the years of hard training, who picked them up when they fell, and who deserve celebration as the unsung heroines. It’s hard to watch these commercials and not tear up, at least a little.

Chanel’s recent launch of the new No. 5 perfume offers a good window on how stories are evolving beyond traditional video. Over a decade after their first collaboration, creative chief Karl Lagerfeld has again partnered with film director Baz Luhrmann to produce a short film on a woman whose lifestyle embodies the brand. Their latest effort—“The one that I want”—stars model Gisele Bündchen and features the perfume, along with clothing and other Chanel products. Beyond the film itself, a series of YouTube videos extend the campaign with shorts on the making of the film, interviews with Luhrmann on both projects, behind-the-scenes footage from Chanel’s studio, and more.5 All of this is designed to amplify the lifestyle message of the fragrance’s launch in a way that traditional TV or print couldn’t accomplish.

New media also dictate that marketers relinquish control of the story as digital interactions with customers become more frequent. Customers want to interact with stories and modify them on social media. Following the kinds of story rules that once made board members and CEOs comfortable is no longer feasible. Social-media programs are consuming a larger share of many marketing budgets. A number of major consumer companies are using interaction centers to monitor and participate in social-media conversations as they develop, sometimes including the promotion of discussions on corporate social-media channels.

Agency-management issues also are an important piece of the puzzle. Talent scarcity, evolving digital storytelling, and perceived institutional rigidities have opened new debates about the best ways to access creativity. Some companies, like Chanel, are enhancing their control over the story with supplemental digital content. Other global marketing leaders are bringing in-house more of their story muscle, particularly when it involves lighter message content for social media. Agencies are responding. Many are acquiring more digital talent and working to break down silos to overcome perceptions that they are actually geared to bigger productions and may lack the digital and story skills to handle new content in an agile, integrated way. All this is very much in flux, suggesting that leaders who aren’t asking fundamental questions about the roles of (and fit between) agencies and internal marketing teams stand the risk of being left behind.


In a digital economy, marketing is no longer a “batch” process but a continuous one. Consumer preferences change with stunning velocity, as do the dynamics of markets and product life cycles. This culture of urgency means that marketers need a new agility, plus the management skills and organizational clout to bring other functions together at a higher clock speed.

How speed is achieved, of course, will vary by company and industry. A number of CMOs we know are setting the terms of how functional units should collaborate and spelling out what the entire organization needs to know to get new products to market at a stepped-up pace. In these cases, marketing becomes the glue across the organization, providing oversight and coordination.

To speed up its digital tempo, Nestlé’s marketing organization launched digital-acceleration teams. These specialists train business units and functions in the skills needed to be effective in digital marketing and social communications. Nestlé’s country units have adopted the approach, as well, allowing them to adapt the digital training to local market conditions, while adhering to core, company-wide standards.6

At Google, lead times for new products are continually shrinking. Internal teams are attuned to putting products in front of consumers and then, in real time, to bringing back insights in a cycle of testing, learning, and iterating. Marketers are central to this process: they work to develop close relationships with product-development teams in order to inject their knowledge of user needs into how products are developed. That helps create a vision of the product from the user’s eyes, and one that engineering teams are eager to create. Achieving that shared vision between product developers and marketers is a key element of speed in formulating new products and features. The time-to-market benefits of better information and more fluid collaboration extend to a wide range of companies, sectors, and business functions. Consider, for example, how data and collaboration are increasing the speed and agility of B2B sales teams. (For more, see “Do you really understand how your business customers buy?”)


Complexity is the enemy of speed, which is a big reason why a number of leading marketers are reforming their organizations. Too often, expanding geographic footprints, product proliferation, and new arrays of channels and digital specialties have led to complex hierarchies, silos, communication gaps, and redundancies. But these can be tamed.

For example, one telecommunications company realized that a cumbersome organizational structure was getting in the way of delivering the top-notch customer service that the CEO had designated as a strategic priority. He created a unit combining existing call centers and a newly formed social-media customer-care group. The leader of the unit reports directly to him. Proximity to the top of the company allows the new team to collaborate more smoothly across the organization, while signaling the importance of the customer experience.

Many consumer marketers are using technology to reduce complexity. They are embracing internal social-media platforms to encourage the generation and sharing of ideas, which helps speed up problem solving across the organization. Daimler, meanwhile, reorganized its marketing and sales departments around the idea of the “best customer experience.” It created a new customer-experience function bundling several headquarters functions into one that maps the entire customer journey, with the goal of locking in a consistent brand experience throughout the world.

Simplifying working relationships with advertising and other media agencies is another goal for many marketing organizations. Trade-offs abound: specialist agencies have expertise in new digital-content formats and delivery channels, but they aren’t always full-service shops. Larger agencies offer more services, but the strengths of many still lie in traditional media. Marketers building teams of employees with strong skills in digital content and delivery are bringing more activities in-house, but bulking up can create complexity and slow things down. And of course, simplicity can’t come at the expense of great creative output.

In our work with global marketers, including many leading-edge practitioners, we are seeing significant progress in each of these five dimensions. As you think about the implications of science, substance, story, speed, and simplicity for your organization, we suggest that you ask yourself five questions:

  1. Are we taking advantage of the science of data and research to uncover new insights, or are we working off yesterday’s facts, assertions, and heuristics?
  2. Do we fully exploit the power of marketing to enhance the substance—that is, the products, services, and experiences—we offer our customers, or are we just selling hard with a “me-too” mind-set?
  3. Do we have a clear brand story that echoes through cyberspace, or do we feel that we aren’t quite capturing hearts and minds?
  4. Have we created simplifiers within our organization, or have complex matrices become a logjam?
  5. Are we faster or slower to market than our competition?

Although this may seem like a lot to handle, the rapid changes and fast-breaking opportunities facing marketers in the 21st century suggest to us that the best ones will have good answers to all of these questions. In our opinion, those that do will not only enjoy above-market growth, they will define the next golden age of marketing.

About the authors

Jonathan Gordon is a principal in McKinsey’s New York office, and Jesko Perrey is a director in the Düsseldorf office.

Marketo Summit Japan 2015

We are proud to be sponsoring Marketo Summit Japan 2015. Come and join us on Tuesday 17th of February at The Westin Hotel in Ebisu. Keynote presentations from Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez, Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia and Don Shultz, Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University among others great speakers. Best to move quickly as registrations are filling fast . . . . details here.

Einstein’s guide to conversion rate optimization

OK so Albert Einstein really didn’t write a guide to increasing conversion rates. Instead, he just unlocked a few secrets of the universe 109 years ago (when he was 26, by the way).

Throughout his career, Einstein came up with some brilliant quotes and in reading through some of his best it’s clear he could’ve mastered the science (and art) of conversion rate optimization. Of course, it’s also silly to say that because if he were alive today he’d probably be giving back to humanity in some way other than trying to get us all to buy more stuff.

Here are some of his best quotes and how they apply to the world of optimizing conversions:

1. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This is probably his most famous one. At least it’s the one I see being referenced by professionals in almost every field where it’s important to test new theories and shake things up.

Are you having trouble converting visitors to paying customers? When’s the last time you tried something – anything – different? What about real images of real people instead of the same boring stock photos? How about tweaking the message? What about the headline? Have you thought of different verbiage on your call to action? If you’re about to launch a new version of a product, did you learn anything from the previous launch that applies here?

2. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” If you’re trying to make your business better, then you’re going to make mistakes. When you try out some different messaging on a landing page you’re going to be dead wrong once in awhile. When you try to improve the call to action, sometimes it’s just not going to work. You may find out that what you had originally was actually better.

I’ve come up with some ideas that looked great on paper, but bombed horribly when tested. I make no apologies because the ideas were based on data and solid assumptions that seemed to make sense at the time. Plus, at least I tried something new.

3. “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” So……. this site of yours that is confusing to potential customers, doesn’t convert, and has atrocious bounce rates…maybe the thought process that went into it made perfect sense at the time. I’m sure no one intended to build a bad site that is more reflective of your corporate org chart than your customers’ needs.

However, don’t make that same mistake again. If you designed by committee last time and you fell into the trap of letting corporate politics dictate your user experience, don’t let anyone use that same line of thinking again. Please.

4. “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” I’ve had the privilege to meet some people who are really, really good at conversion rate optimization. They’ll be the first to tell you that they aren’t necessarily any smarter than anyone else, they just persist in trying to solve the problem.

It’s fun to see some of the landing page case studies at conferences where a result will seem so incredibly obvious once you see it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was quick and easy to get there. These things can and often do take time.

5. “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This is my favorite quote of his. The message here is basically this: “Hey, you’ve got something great – keep it simple and get to the point already!”

6. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” Looking at your analytics can usually tell you if something worked or it didn’t. However, it takes more than the logical conclusions drawn from data in order to really make a difference. You have to imagine what might make a better headline or a more enticing call to action. You won’t realize the potential until you start to use your imagination.

7. “Information is not knowledge.” Your analytics can tell you almost anything you want to know (except for keyword data, of course). You can log into your web analytics and find tons of information. However, a lot of what you find won’t really give you any additional knowledge.

If you want to improve conversions, you need to determine what information really matters. You need to understand the context behind the data in order to really gain any sort of knowledge from it. And lastly, that knowledge is useless unless you can actually take action on it.

My Favorites…..What are yours?

The seven Einstein quotes you just read were my favorites of his. He had so many good ones that it’s honestly hard to pick out the very best ones. I’d love to hear what some of yours are and how you might apply them in your profession.

Written by: Adam Proehl

Connecting with millennials

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]According to ZenithOptimedia’s latest global consumer insight study: The Pursuit of Happiness, young people have a fundamentally different approach to achieving happiness which has profound implications for brand marketing.

In its study of the lives of millennials – consumers aged 18 to 34 – ZenithOptimedia found millennials’ attitudes to life have been shaped by a prolonged recession, technological empowerment, and more life freedom.

The study also discovered that a millennial’s happiness is achieved through two key factors: Freedom and control. Using the information, ZenithOptimedia created a marketing manifesto to enable brands to achieve meaningful and sustainable engagement with millennials.

Today brands need to help create experiences that enable millennials to have purpose-driven lives. Becoming a brand that is socially responsible and useful is start in helping millennials in their pursuit of happiness.

Millennials like brands that are genuinely useful. Brands therefore need to prove they are serious about helping millennials throughout the buy, but what they buy into. In the digital era brands need a clear purpose and a coherent series of attributes that reflect authentic experiences, going beyond what’s expected to build goodwill.

Here are five ways brands can connect to millenials:

  1. Humanise your brand

Millennials are happy when they make genuine connections, fuelled by meaningful experiences, on-going support and shareable stories. Brands need to support and facilitate this. Invite young people in and let the conversation flow by showing an authentic, relatable brand.

  1. Create meaningful assets

Invest in owned media and assets and place them at the forefront of your communications strategy. Millennials are looking for meaningful experiences that help them develop narratives that reinforce their identities. Brands will need to place user experiences at the heart of their communication. This requires expansive, experience oriented brand building, and brand stories in an authentic voice.

  1. Create purposeful value exchange

The desire to make the most of their lives motivates millennials to invest in personal development. They want a purposeful value exchange to achieve their higher goals. They expect brands to be of service to them, so user journeys should make them feel they are making the most of their lives and are in control of their paths to adulthood.

  1. Orientate on user experience

In the digital era, people don’t accept things merely on trust. They value real experiences, peer guidance and expert recommendations. Brands like Google and Amazon have strong bonds with consumers, without abstract concepts or advertising. Understand what millennials expect of the product category and how they use these products or services. Think about how to make the consumer pathway effortless.

Brand experiences should migrate across different platforms and devices: millennials expect brands to know them and remember their past interactions.

  1. Share your customers’ stories

Millennials love sharing their experiences with family and friends. Give them content that makes them look good. Understand the types of stories that are worth sharing. Work out how your brand can help them create stories that enhance their identity.

Linda Tan, strategic insights says,: “Brands that can help millennials achieve happiness stand the best chance of securing long-lasting and profitable relationships with this important consumer group. While millennials might seem a very care-free audience, obsessed with social media and celebrities, scratch below the surface and you will discover very savvy, discerning and astute consumers.”

The study also states that faced with the conundrum of an array of opportunities awaiting them, but with a lack of money or the financial security needed to pursue many of these, millennials are having to impose far higher levels of on control on their lives in order to realise their ambitions. In contrast to the hedonistic ideals of previous generations, what millennials consider important for achieving happiness are: Health and wellbeing, financial stability, career, following your dreams and pursuing your passions, and formal education.

While previous generations rebelled against controls, millennials believe they need to be in control of finances, work, social and family lives in order to take advantage of freedoms and opportunities.

The study found that millennials who are in control of their career are 56% happier than those who are not in control. Similarly, millennials who are in control of their passions and interests are 55% happier. Those in control of their social life are 35% happier.

There are also significant country differences in terms of the areas of control required to achieve happiness. For example, in the US the key areas of control are finances, social life and work/life balance, but in Spain it is career/education, ambitions and finances. In general, career and finance are considered by millennials to be the two most critical areas to control in order to achieve happiness.

With such a different approach to achieving happiness, not surprisingly millennials have very different views on what constitutes adulthood, compared to previous generations. ZenithOptimedia also discovered that happiness can dip sharply for older millennials at age 28 – the lowest levels experienced in the UK where millennials of that age experience a 10% drop in happiness. This was identified a clear ‘Quarterlife Crisis’.

The study covered 10 countries: Argentina, Australia, China, France, Mexico, Russia, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States. The online qualitative survey had 300 participants and our online quantitative survey had 5,800 participants. The agency also created an internal portal to gather the comments and experience across the ZenithOptimedia network of 262 offices.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Say Goodbye to Facebook Organic Reach

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]In a series of recent updates to its News Feed content, Facebook announced last Friday that from the beginning of January 2015 it will be rolling out yet another change to its algorithm that will affect the type of content audiences see.

According to a recent Facebook survey, they concluded that audiences want to see less ‘promotional’ content, while pages that post promotional content should ‘expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time’. Therefore, Facebook referral traffic for most brands is due to decline dramatically.

Why is Facebook filtering promotional Content?

Facebook’s reasoning for the change is that it will make the content in news feeds more engaging for people. They are effectively saying that organic content should not be promotional (which is understandable). And, if you want audiences to see promotional content, then you’ll need to pay for it.

According to Jill Sherman, DigitasLBi’s Group Director for Social and Digital Strategy  “Facebook users will ultimately teach the algorithm how to arbitrate on their behalf based on actions and preferences. Some promotional content might break through because it garners a lot of high-value social engagements, such as Super Bowl ads.” And, based on some of the top 10 Super Bowl commercials of all time, he’s probably got a good point.

Interestingly, in light of this, Mark Zuckerberg recently said that “In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video,” Therefore, this could highlight where ‘promotional’ or more engaging content in the future is heading on the network.

Good news for Media Owners?

Well it would seem so – newsworthy content is typically engaging and isn’t generally promotional. Additionally, back in October 2013 Facebook changed its news feed algorithm, which ultimately proved great news (excuse the pun) for online publishers. So, maybe they will get another boost early next year.

How does it impact other brands and marketers?

For marketers, it’s clear that any “buy now”, “install” and “download” messages will be filtered out. Yet it remains uncertain what other content and terminology may be deemed promotional until the News Feed change actually happens in January 2015.

Dwindling Facebook organic reach is nothing new for brands and marketers. During 2012, Facebook restricted organic reach from above 26% to below 12%. Then in December 2013, another round of changes reduced it further to below 9%, and by February 2014 it had plummeted to around 6%. The latest change is destined to give Facebook organic reach a lethal blow.


There have been a few indications recently that Facebook was leading towards a more commercial model via paid media with the introduction of their ‘buy button’. Marketers may consider using Facebook paid media, or even find innovative ways to bypass the change to purposely engage their audience with ‘promotional’ and even non-promotional content – whatever content they ultimately want their audiences to see.

What’s worth noting is that Facebook has said that it’s increasing its investment in Pages and ‘exploring’ ways to offer more customizable pages to businesses, similar in the way that it rolled out menu sections for restaurant pages. Therefore, there’s still a lot to be accounted for.

Beyond Facebook

We’ve said this for some time now, but with this recent announcement it’s now becoming clearer that consumer brands should not be focusing all of their media spend and content strategies on Facebook. Yes, Facebook is still and will remain to be a very important part of the marketer’s toolkit, however, they should spread their bets and look to engage their audiences across multiple social networks, such as running hashtag contests across Instagram and Twitter. In addition, they need to deploy apps that typically reside on Facebook to other digital channels as well, such as their websites, microsites, YouTube pages and mobile apps.

In addition, research from the Jun Group suggests that it’s now the brand website that is the final destination for campaigns, rather than Facebook or YouTube.

This means websites, which have been neglected for many years, are now becoming the primary showcase for branded content and curated social content that has been filtered from a range of social networks. It’s this compelling and authentic user-generated content that has been proven to drive brand preference and purchase consideration. So, it makes sense for brands to harness this user-generated content to encourage further interactions and engagement with their brand.

Written by Jack Oldham, Content Marketing Manager for Engage Sciences [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


In an effort to try and map out the future, Marketo and The Economist have teamed up to offer some insights and advice by talking with some of the best marketing minds out there. What follows is the first of these; this one with Seth Godin.

For those of you that don’t know Seth, he is a renowned thought leader who writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. He is the founder of squidoo.com, and his blog is one of the most popular in the world. He was hired by Yahoo! as Vice-President of Direct Marketing after selling them the start-up, Yoyodyne. In 2013, Mr. Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor. His latest book, “The Icarus Deception”, argues that we have been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, pushing us to stand out, not to fit in.

There are a bunch of great points and stories in this discussion, so I encourage you to give it a read.

1. The shift to the era of engagement marketing and away from transactional and mass marketing is well underway.

Seth notes this fact when he says “For 100 years, marketing and advertising was the same thing…” and that “…we have seen marketing change from spending money to interrupt people with advertising”. Interestingly, he also says that “the problem is that a lot of marketers didn’t get that memo…” and that those marketers “…want it to go back to the way it was”. It’s clear that’s not going to happen and that marketers need to move towards a model of engagement that is centered on building personalized, lifelong relationships.

2. Marketers need to step up and drive the change toward an engagement model across the organization.

As I mentioned in my last post, this new era puts the marketer squarely in the driver’s seat within an organization — I called it a ‘marketing first’ world. I was struck when Seth pointed out that “marketing has completely transformed”, and that “the marketer now needs to be in charge of everything a company does… they need to be the first step”. Wow! And…here, here!

3. In order to be truly engaging, marketers need to create a continuous, authentic relationship.

Seth talks about how the explosion of channels has created a problematic land-grab effect for marketers who look to ‘own’ a channel. I agree with him when he says that this is a mistake and that you shouldn’t focus on “owning a channel”. True engagement comes from authentic, consistent participation across the channels your audience uses. Instead, use these channels — in Seth’s words — as a “new way to communicate… the truth about who you are”, and deliver “…an experience that people can’t help talking about”.

Enjoy the interview….

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU): Marketing has changed so much in the past five years. What do you think will happen in the next five? What will the marketer’s mission look like in 2020?

Seth Godin: If we were talking about what is going to be the future of the dried plum, we would have a straightforward conversation. Everyone can agree on what a dried plum is. Not everyone agrees on what marketing is. So before I talk about where it’s going, we have to talk for at least a minute about where it’s been so we understand that we’re starting from the same place.

For 100 years, marketing and advertising was the same thing. The CMO didn’t decide on the product line or pricing or what the toxic waste policy should be. Instead, the measure of marketing has traditionally been, “How much money are you spending on advertising?”

Only in the last 20 years have we seen marketing change from spending money to interrupt people with advertising to market everything you make and everything you say. That involves making a promise to people about what they should expect when they do business with you.

The problem is that a lot of marketers didn’t get that memo. And a lot of marketers — mostly those who work for companies built on advertising mass products to mass audiences — want marketing to go back to what it was. And so when they see YouTube or Twitter come along, they think “This is just like a magazine except the ads are free. This is just like television except the ads are free”. And those people have been pretty generally disappointed with everything that’s happened recently because they’re still working as if marketing equals advertising.

Here’s the answer to your question: I think the next five years of marketing are going to be just like the last five years of marketing but more so. We’ll see the end of almost every newspaper. We’ll see the crumbling of the TV-industrial complex in which TV ads are always sold out. And we’re going to see even more relianceby consumers on peer-to-peer connections and less on the message they hear directly from the marketer.

EIU: So what are the most effective marketers going to be doing five years from now? What do they need todo now to make sure they don’t get passed by as marketing changes?

Seth Godin: The short answer is five words long: “Make things worth talking about”. The longer answer is that the marketer now needs to be in charge of everything the company does. And the ad agency isn’t the last step of the process anymore; it needs to be the first step.

You know the people who used to spend all their time spinning products when they’re released? They need to spend their time at the beginning. They need to be saying, “What should we make? How do we make it in such a way that the story of our product is true?” Look at Nike. Nike is not afraid to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the products they make, and not on the billboards that they rent.

EIU: So it sounds like there are two kinds of marketers. There are marketers who cling to pushing products with advertising and there are marketers who are embedded in what the company makes and are pushing it towards what the consumer wants.

Seth Godin: That’s exactly right. Most marketers have come froman environment where everyone is selling exactly the same product. The way you won was with a clever tag line. That is the world of “Mad Men”. Modern marketers say, “Well, of course Apple people are waiting in line to hear Apple’s announcement because they’re actually doing something new. They’re not just spinning the old”.

It’s a huge shift. Changes like this haven’t happened elsewhere in the company. Accounting hasn’t changed. Product development hasn’t changed much. Sales isn’t so different, but  marketing has been completely transformed.

EIU: I’m interested to hear what you think about the multiplication and fragmentation of channels. Ten years ago Facebook had under a million users. Now it has over a billion, Twitter has half a billion, even Pinterest is approaching 100 million. And all of them are generating big data, enabling predictive analytics, feeding into marketing automation with a lot of personalization. People call them channels, but broadcast media like billboards or TV ads were channels. These seem like much more. How are they going to be affecting marketers?

Seth Godin: Think about someone who goes to a new high school, think of all the channels there are at the new high school. There are the yearbook, the daily announcements, the school newspaper, people talking to each other at lunch. We can make a list of 1,000 ways the people at school are finding things out.

But the new kid at school isn’t a brand manager. The new kid at school isn’t saying, “How do I own this channel, and how do I own that channel?” The new kid at school is saying, “Who do I want to be? Because if I act like the person I want to be, the word will get out”.

And so you can’t really think of a channel as a choke point, where if you spend some money you can own that choke point. Instead, go in the opposite direction. All of these new ways of communicating mean that the more you act a certain way, the more likely it is that the truth will get out about who you are.

EIU: Isn’t the job of marketers to push out their self-definition through all of the channels?

Seth Godin: They can try, but it’s not working. Just call up the people at Procter & Gamble or the people inthe Republican or the Democratic Party and say, “How are you doing on pushing out the message you want everyone to be saying?” And what they brag about is, “Oh, look how great that Oreo thing was”. One Tweet got seen by everyone during the Super Bowl.

But one tweet about Oreos doesn’t sell a single extra Oreo. What marketers have to understand is that mass marketing was a brilliant and important way of supporting mass manufacturing. It was one of the key elements of the growth of the UK and US economies. For 100 years mass marketing sat right next to mass manufacturing. But now it’s over. It is just over. Mass manufacturing is over and mass marketing is over. And you can do all sorts of things to try to get it to come back, but it’s not going to come back.

EIU: So if the marketer isn’t pushing out a message through those channels, what is marketing doing with them? You say that word will get out. What’s the marketer’s role in getting the word out?

Seth Godin: Their role is coming up with an experience, an environment, a service, a product, that people can’t help talking about, and then consistently delivering on that.

Say you start a real boutique hotel. Then you make sure the right people are staying there in the first few weeks. Word gets out among their circle of friends, who talk to the next circleand the next, and the hotel is soldout. Or you can start a fake boutique hotel, which Hyatt Hotel is trying to do. You skip all those steps and make it look like a boutique hotel. Andthen you’re puzzled and surprised when there isn’t a line out the door.

The reason there isn’t a line out the door is that the people you were hoping to connect with can tell that it’s not a real boutique hotel.

EIU: What’s engagement marketing? How does it differ from otherways of relating to customers?

Seth Godin: Here’s an experience that we’ve all had. You call a big company. You hear a recording that says, “Your call is very important to us, but due to unusually heavy call volume, we don’t have anyone to answer your call”, and they put you on hold for ten minutes. Then the person who answers the phone is measured on how fast they get you to hang up.

That’s the opposite of customer engagement. This company spent a lot of time and money to set up a phone queuing system. Then when you talk to them, they don’t care enough to talk back, or if they do talk back, they put someone in your face who has been programmed to be a cog in a machine.

If you’re serious about engaging the customer, you realize that the most valuable moments you have are when the customer is using your product, on the phone with you, actually engaged with you. If we over invest in that, or do what feels like over investing, we are far more likely to lead to the other sorts of interactions that we can’t buy, that we can’t control, but that we need desperately to happen.

EIU: Marketers have responsibility for every part of the company with which the customer comes into contact. Yet they don’t have the authority to determine what happens there. They’re influencers. In fact, in some companies that are dominated by engineering or operations, they struggle for influence.

Seth Godin: I don’t buy that. Your premise is wrong. If you start listing successful companies, almost all of them are run by people who do what I call marketing.

EIU: But all the parts of the company that engage with the customer or that have customer-facing responsibilities don’t report to the marketer. How do marketers orchestrate those customer touch points while they’re not in charge of all those people?

Seth Godin: Nobody’s in charge of everyone. Even the CEO. Influence is way more important than authority.

The first half of the answer is that you need to build influence. You gain influence as you give up more credit and take on more responsibility. The second half is that marketers need to make an effort to not sell out so cheap. What marketers usually do is accept the budget, accept the product and promise the world. That’s why they get fired so much. On average, the CMO gets fired every year and a half, because they make big promises and can’t keep them. They’re unable to keep them because they think advertising can save the day, and it can’t. What I propose they do instead is refuse to market products that they don’t believe in.

The CMO needs to refuse to have their team push work out the door for stuff that doesn’t keep the story consistent and worth telling. Toyota let a worker stop the whole assembly line because the quality of a spark plug was off. That’s what marketers need to do. They need to hit the button and say, “No, we’re not going do this anymore because the customer service people are letting us down when they answer the phone” or “We’re not going to do this anymore because I’ve seen the waste going into the river and I don’t want to be responsible for marketing that brand”.

Spinning for the wrong cause is beneath you. Once the CMO does this, everything upstream will improve. And to the marketer who says to me, “But I can’t do that cause they won’t listen,” I say, “Go work somewhere else. Because if you’ve got talent, doing good spin for a company that doesn’t get it is beneath you”.

EIU: How can you tell when a customer is engaged? What kinds of tangible metrics can show the impact of customer engagement?

Seth Godin: I don’t have a glib answer. Any mass metric is going to be false. I’ll give you an example: Six weeks ago I fired the New York Times. I said, “I don’t want to be on the New York Times Best Seller List anymore because it’s a false metric that’s usually gamed and doesn’t represent the post-mass-marketing world. Rather than ask for rating points or share of mind, I would ask questions like “Who would miss me if I was gone? With whom do I actually have permission to follow up? How many people call us on the phone asking when our new thing is going to be ready?” Those questions show depth of feeling and concern. If you want to be meaningful, you can’t be too general.

EIU: So you’ve got this asset called customer engagement. You’ve invested in it and built it up andyou can measure it in various ways. How would you talk to a CFO about that? When he asks for the ROI, do you think you could tell him?

Seth Godin: When I invented email marketing in 1990, I went to every big company you can think of and tried to sell them on what we had built. And they would say, “What’s the ROI?” Well, my first answer was “What’s the ROI on that TV ad you ran last night? You don’t know. And you’ve been running TV for years because it feels safe. And you like the fact that you can’t measure how well it works because then you don’t have to take the blame for it not working”.

If you’re a really good direct marketer, you make money for a while. But I think we’re moving into a post-direct marketing world where we can’t measure ROI. But we can measure whether you are gaining market share and profit because you’re making great stuff. When everything is driven by metrics you often end up in a race to the bottom, and the problem with the race to the bottom is that you might win. Instead, some people decide to race to the top — not just in pricing, but in terms of the usefulness of what they make and how much fun it is to talk about it. Those people are doing great.

I think that’s the challenge of the CMO. Put the spreadsheet away and do some serious work to make stories worth telling.

EIU: Do you think the group that’s racing to the top through customer engagement is growing compared with those who are racing to the bottom?

Seth Godin: CEOs care a lot about stock price, and what they’re seeing again and again is that Sears is cratering because Sears was focused 100% on spreadsheets, whereas a brand like Apple, which is a mass brand in the sense that they have big market share, is hiring people from the larger consumer goods industry. They understand that in a retail environment engagement matters more than giving people a coupon.

This article has been extracted from Next Era of Marketing site. Please feel free to follow this blog series each week.

2015: the year marketing automation finally catches on

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]I often sit across the table from a new or prospective client and am amazed that we’re both living in the same year. No, they didn’t pull up to the meeting in a DeLorean or have an Ace of Base ringtone on their cellphone.

What causes me to question if they’re aware that it’s 2014 is the way they are utilizing their marketing technologies.

Marketing automation isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s been around for decades. Twenty years ago, instead of being added to an email drip campaign, marketers would enroll you in mailing campaigns if you took a certain trigger action: those people who signed up for the CD or DVD auto-ship programs in the late ’90s, for example.

So, when a CMO or CEO tells me that they’re using Hubspot, Eloqua, Marketo, or any other high-priced marketing software solely to send out newsletters or as just a blog posting tool, my eyes almost roll back into my head.

In my last piece, I briefly touched on digital marketers that don’t utilize their marketing software to the fullest. In fact, my exact words were “They’re spending all of this money on software that can perform like a Ferrari, and they’re driving it like a 1985 Yugo.”

But my hope is that 2015 is the year that this all changes.

Maybe, just maybe, we digital marketers can stop dragging our knuckles and stand fully erect in our marketing efforts. To this end, let’s examine some of the common marketing automation challenges and how the new year might fix them.

The $2,000-a-month WordPress plugin

When I’m in meetings with clients and we discover that they’ve been piling their money up and then proceeding to burn it (yes, a $2,000 kickoff fee, plus $2,000 per month license is exactly what I’d describe as burning money), I immediately try to find the root cause for their misuse of technology.

It usually comes down to these culprits:

  • Poor training
  • Poor integration and deployment
  • Poor fulfillment

Those three issues make up the lion’s share of the reasons businesses are paying thousands of dollars a month for functions that are completed daily by hundreds of free WordPress Plugins.

Poor training

You’d think that paying $2,000 to receive hands-on training with your new software would ensure that everyone who buys a license to a marketing automation tool would take advantage of the training. After all, they’re required to pay for training, so they might as well use it.

But shockingly, many do not. I’ve looked for statistics that quantify this, but I was unable to find them. However, anecdotally speaking, we find that a large portion of the companies we speak with paid for their kickoff and never attended the trainings.

Worse still, training tends not to increase either the usage of marketing technology products or the user’s confidence in them. According to research found in VB Insight’sState of Marketing Technology report, those who employed experts to help them with their marketing technology saw no improvement in usage (marketers use, on average, only 32 percent of the capability of each solution they implement) or confidence in the product after training.

Poor integration and deployment

Whether a company attends the kickoff training or not, they are then faced with the task of deploying the software and integrating it with their existing systems.

We see these deployments fail more often than not.

Marketing automation requires a huge buy-in from several departments within a company. Usually, marketing, sales, and IT must all be on board to ensure that a marketing automation solution is properly deployed. And the last time I looked up “marketing, sales, and IT collaboration” in the dictionary, I was redirected to the term “herding cats.”

So, what usually happens is marketing will attempt to deploy the software all by themselves. Or they’ll create a ticket for IT to do it, but IT doesn’t understand the purpose of the software and will end up deploying it in a minimally viable fashion.

Poor fulfilment

Let’s say that the company has successfully gone through its kickoff training, and it was also able to deploy the software in a successful manner. The third reason we see it fail is when the rubber meets the road, and there is little traction for the rubber.

Software adoption has been the bane of the SaaS industry since its inception. The idea that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks is true for business people as well.

I’ve seen companies paying thousands of dollars for a CRM, only to have their salespeople tracking leads in a shared Google spreadsheet.

Likewise, as I mentioned earlier, I often see companies spending well over $2,000 per month for a marketing automation tool, and all they use it for is to send out a monthly newsletter.

Getting buy-in from the front-line users is critical for any technology to succeed, and it can often be difficult for the marketing department to mandate these adoptions.

Why 2015 will fix all of this

As the competition within the marketing automation space continues to heat up(ExactTarget being acquired by Salesforce, Hubspot’s IPO, etc.), we’re seeing innovative solutions being developed by established players and startups alike.

For instance, Hubspot rolled out a CRM at the end of 2014, and it should be coming out of beta in early 2015.

Hubspot’s CRM is a huge step for the marketing automation space. No longer will Hubspot need to ally with a third-party CRM. These integrations were challenging for companies to deploy and rarely involved real-time, bi-directional syncing. Instead, data was usually sent from Hubspot to the CRM, and rarely did the CRM send data back.

These integration issues forced marketers to work within silos. If they wanted to know the quality of the leads they were generating, they would often have to manually reference lead scoring data in the CRM and then compare that against their marketing automation information.

With Hubspot releasing a CRM, they’re bringing sales and marketing together. Salespeople will be able to update a lead with scoring and sales cycle information, and that data will immediately be available to the marketing department. In fact, the marketers will be able to develop workflows based on the inputs and triggers that are initiated by the sales team.

For example, if a lead is generated from a post on Twitter, the marketing department should have used a custom tracking URL to identify where that lead came from and what post caused it to become a lead. Then the sales team can contact the lead and then assign it a lead score. Based on that score, the marketing department will know which posts generate high-quality leads. That process also holds true for ads, content, and other marketing campaigns.

Launching a CRM is a direct shot across the bow of Salesforce, which owns a marketing automation solution in Pardot. And I would not be surprised if Eloqua, Silverpop, and Marketo are likewise working on a CRM solution.

Leveling the playing field

Larger organizations have been reaping the benefits of a fully integrated marketing automation platform for years. But most companies don’t have the resources for a dedicated IT group that does nothing but ensure that data is being passed correctly from sales and marketing. Therefore, smaller and mid-market firms have often lacked insight into their marketing activities.

But, with several software companies becoming an all-in-one solution (Hubspot, Pardot/Salesforce, Zoho), the need for costly integrations is fast becoming a thing of the past.

These built-in integrations will fix the deployment and integration issues we often see.

Organizations can’t ignore marketing automation any longer

So, how will the training and fulfillment problems be solved? Quite simply, companies will be forced by the market to fix these issues.

Marketing automation continues to grow. More and more companies are now utilizing the technology and deploying it with fantastic results. And it’s becoming more apparent that the companies not adopting the tech are falling further and further behind.

So, while marketing automation was a quaint new idea that had a lot of potential for the past few years, it’s now a necessity. If a company doesn’t adopt the technology, their competitors are going to take their lunch money like a 200-pound fourth grader with daddy issues.

Thus, trainings will be better attended because it will now be a mandate from the C-Suite. Additionally, the act of herding cats and getting departments to play nice will likewise become a C-Level mandate.

Marketing automation is getting cheaper

And finally, the main reason that 2015 will become the year that marketing automation takes off is the crop of new startups coming on the scene. There are now dozens of cheaper alternatives for all-in-one solutions. Some are freemium and require no kickoff fees. Some of these startups will gain traction and force the market to adjust.

The established players will modify their pricing (we’ve already seen Hubspot do so) or they will become more niche (Eloqua and Marketo becoming exclusively enterprise solutions), thereby clearing the deck for some of these smaller groups to carve out a portion of the market.

The more competition in the field, the better it will be for the consumer, and the more available and functional the tech will become. Thus, 2015 should usher in an era where almost any company can market like a Fortune 500 brand.

Mike Templeman is the CEO of Foxtail Marketing, a digital-content marketing firm specializing in B2B lead generation and lead optimization. He is passionate about tech, marketing, and startups. When not tapping away at his keyboard, he can be found spending time with his kids.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

5 ways to engage better using biases of the brain

When a waiter gives you a small token of appreciation like a mint along with your bill, the chances of you giving him a tip are significantly higher. That’s because your brain is hardwired to be biased towards reciprocity. Scientists call these quirks in our brain cognitive biases. But our brains are not designed like computers, where every rule in the world of zeros and ones are literally interpreted and executed to a tee. Instead, our brains have evolved to take shortcuts in order for us to conserve energy and increase our processing speeds. But these very mental shortcuts result in perceptual distortions, inaccurate judgments, and illogical conclusions. It’s basically what makes us – well, human.

Advertisers have used these “shortcuts” in the brain to prompt people into preferring one brand over another, or subconsciously changing behavior.

In a new book called “Hidden Persuasion: 33 Psychological Influence Techniques in Advertising”, co-authored by experts in social influence and communications, these shortcuts are explored and categorized for anybody interested in influencing the unconscious realm of their audience.

Here are some of the ways to influence behavior based on insights around how the minds of your audiences work and how they may be applied in the context of marketing automation and targeted content.

1.  Foot-in-the-door: Beginning with a small request paves the way for compliance to a bigger request.  In the land of data acquisition where we are trying to turn unknown leads into known leads, it means starting with smaller engagements first and then building towards deeper commitments. This principle can be applied intelligently to gated content to facilitate progressive profiling for form filling where we build data relationships based on trust.

2.  Altercasting: When a person accepts a certain social role, that person begins to adhere to the expectations from that role. In the event that you become a drinker of Dos Equis, chances are you will feel a certain need to pursue becoming the most interesting man in the world (or to at least try). This has significant implications for content pathways that help build affinity and opportunity for audiences to participate in these experiences.  Remember, content doesn’t always have to adapt to our audience, we can provide content that changes how the audience sees themselves.

Bad content automated alienates customers far more strongly than traditional advertising ever could.

3.  Scarcity Heuristic: If it is hard to get, people want it more.  It’s a mental shortcut that places a value on an item based on its lack of perceived availability. This could be used to create limited edition or time sensitive offers that you can leverage as brand offerings or deals. You can leverage this not only in a sales context but also as a way to ask for more data from your audience in return for something scarce.

4.  Decoy: When buyers are choosing between two similar products, introducing a decoy can push people towards the outcome that is most advantageous to the seller. In the example of coffee or software, while there may be a sizable gap between a small and large option, placing a medium option in the middle may help to justify spending that much more on the larger option. There is almost an entire science dedicated to that here.

5.  Anchoring: A product’s value is strongly influenced by what it is compared to.  We have a strong tendency to value something by comparing it against what we have previously seen. This bias is often leveraged in the car industry.  Their opening price “anchors” the negotiations so that even if there appears to be a discount, the final agreed upon price may ultimately not differ much from the original asking price. Again, it is critical to anchor against reality to avoid post purchase dissonance, the loss of a future customer or damage to your brand reputation.

With marketing automation bringing conversations directly to your leads, it is critical to ensure that we are mindful of these tactics and apply them intelligently. And the next time you put a proposition together, make sure you conduct some A/B testing with some mental biases in mind.

Part 1 of a 2 part article written by Sam Cassels and Sosuke Koyama

Image courtesy of Jason Freeny