Why should you care about NEUROMARKETING?

neuro_marketing

Neurosciences confirm: when your customers decide, very often their subconscious and above all their emotions are in the driver’s seat. Learning how to communicate with this part of the brain will increase the power of your marketing and communication programs.

Did you know only 1 out of 8 new products launched is a success? The traditional marketing paradigm, which states that your customer’s decision process is purely rational, is probably one of the main reasons of this very bad result.

Neurosciences teach us that our conscious mind’s capacity to process information is 44 bits per second. On the subconscious level, this capacity grows to 11’000’000 bits per second. Knowing this, can we continue to believe that our conscious mind rules over all our decisions?

Continuous research discovers step by step that the subconscious mind has its own logic and semantics. Therefore we can understand how we can help the subconscious to access and react to our marketing and communication programs.

You do not necessarily need a fMRI scanner or eeg equipment to apply neuromarketing in your daily work. All you need is to guide your observation so you can integrate these insights pragmatically and make your daily work more efficient and richer.

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INSTANT MARKETING: What do you offer NOW?

instant marketing Living in the present moment is not only a spiritual Zen slogan. Though we (should) know better, our behaviour is very often defined by the actual environment.  And that’s why it is so important to ask yourself the question: “What do we offer NOW”

Take some examples from your own experience: Last month: Did you exercise as much as you planned? Did you eat more than you know you should? Probably a large majority of us will have to witness, though we “know” what is good for us, we didn’t act accordingly. Is the present moment so powerful that we forget about our goals and objectives? We have to admit that “knowing” is not sufficient to guide/inspire our behaviour.

In his youtube video “Doing the right things for the wrong reasons” Dan Ariely learns us that our actual behaviour is very often motivated by direct stimuli than by visions of the future which become nothing more than wishful thinking. So now what can we marketers learn from this?

Well, we have to consider that in a decision process the present moment proves to be so important we can’t ignore it more than that we should seize the opportunity it creates. That’s why I suggest you ask yourself the question “What do we offer NOW?” and integrate these new insights in your communication as well as the immediate experience of the product.

And only a couple of days ago a friend of mine told me that for each Apple product he bought, the pleasure started with the packaging of the product and goes on from there. But does this mean we need to give up the values of a brand and focus exclusively on immediate benefits?

In my understanding I do not see them as opposites but as complementary. The values of a brand allow justifying the instant behaviour by giving it a signification. to your instant success!

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More brand= more business, also true for SMB’s in B2B

Brandmanagement

Neuroscience indicates (read our last article) emotions are mandatory for decision making. If that’s true, we need to understand how we can exploit the power of emotions within our business, even if we are a SMB in B2B.

There’s a lot of buzz and fuzz about brands on the net. But beyond these sometimes very interesting discussions, there’s evidence: a brand is very powerful instrument when it comes to create (positive) emotions.

SMB’s and more particular those into B2B often tend to believe that:

a. their customers do not need a brand

b. if their customers would need one, they would not be able to create one

Neuroscience tells us that the brand builds the frame around your product. The quality of this frame influences the perception, expectations and last but not least the experience of your products/services.

If you don’t develop your brand, your products will have to miss emotional support of your brand and thus have less energy to take the hurdles on their road to success. If you want to help your customers to buy your product, you definitively need a brand.

Of course, SMB’s do not have millions to spend to build their brand. But they can

a. become aware of their brand value and make it explicit

b. communicate it systematically within the limits of the available resources

c. create with their explicit brand more homogeneity and engagement with regard to employees, products, services and customers.

Some might say, the product = the brand… and that’s food for thought for another and maybe our next article.

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No emotions = no business, also true in B2B

Neuromarketing in B2B

Neuromarketing is often perceived as being a consumer business or B2C issue. I regularly get the question if Neuromarketing has something to offer to the B2B (Business to business)?

My first answer to this question is what B2c and B2B have in common is “All business is human”. Of course B2B stands for a commercial relationship between two organizations, but people represent these organizations.  This means that whatever insight Neuromarketing brings to understand how people take their decisions can also be applied to B2B.

As to where it seems easier to admit emotions are key in B2C, the nature of B2B relations can make us believe (and thus perceive) rational behavior drives the decisions in B2B. In fact, it is often true that the complexity of products/services or the strategic and/or financial implications within B2B business requires a solid thinking process as an essential part of the decision process.

But then, why do we say after such a solid thinking process “I FEEL good about this decision”? Neuroscientists such as Antonio Damasio think there is enough evidence to state that without emotions we are unable to make decisions. Related to B2B this means that if you need your customer to take a decision you can’t limit yourself to rational argumentation. You will also need to create room and design processes and instruments to communicate emotion in order to help your customer take his decision.

In conclusion we can say that on a pure emotional level B2B and B2C are not different as both are based on people interacting. What will differentiate them are the tools and the channels to put in place in order to optimize the mix between emotion and rationalisation.

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Neuro Webmarketing: Can you sell 20% more online through social validation?

Social Validation Neuro Web Marketing

Recent studies brought to evidence that when recommendations were provided for a specific product or service, it sold 20% more as a product or service with no recommendations. (De Vries and Pruyn 2007). Though we might claim our liberty, independence and freedom, since decades research shows us that social validation is the name of the game for much of our behavior.

And these processes do not necessary have to be conscious and that’s probably why we continue to think we are free individuals and decide completely independently. Our conditioning to validate our behavior socially is stored somewhere in our primitive brain, the one which takes the decisions. This brain doesn’t need time to think, it goes for action.

So, with regret I have to tell you we have to give up a bit of our pride because, yes, we look to others to validate what our behavior should be and according to research in this field few are ready to deviate from this rule. So hope remains justified! 😉

But when you are looking to increase your online sales, how can this understanding help you to increase your conversion rates? Here are some tips and ideas on how you can easily apply this law. First of all when you decide to use recommendations you will get the best results when you use both emotions and numbers. Both are important for stimulating the primitive brain to take action.

You can create emotions by letting your customers tell a story about your product or service. Research showed that story telling had a stronger influence on the buying behavior than a sentence or a couple of words. That seems evident to me as it creates more room to express the emotion and experience, which your potential customer is looking for. A second important influencer is the picture, it makes it more real and help your prospects to identify with your customers. Not everybody will be happy to put his picture on your website, alternatively you could also propose avatars.

The primitive brain is fond on numbers (not too many but a few are of great help), it makes it objective and thus helps to prepare for the action, and that’s what’s the primitive brain stands for. Another benefit of the numbers is that it helps the cortex (our newest intelligent brain) building the justifications on how rational our behavior is/was. 🙂 Ratings are the most popular form of numbers you will find on the web. But you can also think about number of recommendations, number of people watching this page etc.

Last but not least bring your recommendations to your “home”page as for new visitors of your website its presence will dramatically improve the credibility of your website and your products within the first seconds of his visit.

In our next article on neuro-webmarketing we will take a closer look at how you can benefit from another primitive social behavior: altruism!, to improve your relationship with your visitors online. Until then, happy summer and holidays!

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Only your customer can create value… but you can make it happen!

Customer_value

One of my favorite sayings is “the navel is the biggest labyrinth in the world”. There’s no better way to get lost than to concentrate on yourself and define the world around you accordingly.

When talking about the creation of value, this saying applies particularly well. Stating “we create value” is a statement with a trap. No company or person can create value on its own. If no customer pays for your product, hence recognizes and accepts its value, where is the value of your product or service? Nowhere!

That’s why it’s more than reasonable to state the customer creates the value and that you make it happen! 🙂 I understand, it’s an awful feeling to work hard and not to be able to claim the value of your work without depending on the customer’s recognition.

But I am quite sure that when you allow yourself to change this paradigm, you and your customer will become a powerful tandem. This significant paradigm shift I would see as the difference between customer oriented and customer centered thinking. But that’s food for another post…

to your success!

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Can neuroscience really increase the efficiency of your website?

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Did you know that when a customer enters a bookstore, there is 25% chance he will buy a book, but when he enters an online bookstore this success rate drops to a little 5%? This has been revealed by a recent study. As far as the conversion rate to turn a prospect into a customer is concerned, the virtual world seems to stay far behind the real world. For those among us who acclaim the good old days, it might strengthen their believe. 😉

But let’s forget about the paradox between virtual and real as the majority of website owners is looking for efficiency. They want persuasive communication and in case they have an e-commerce website, maximize their conversion rates of visitors into customers. No doubt, these website owners will be strongly interested to understand where this huge difference (5% versus 25%) is coming from and above all what they can do about it. In any case the opportunity seems to be big!

Now we all know, shops are people based and websites computer based. With a little bit of common sense one understands that one of the key factors, which can help to explain this difference is the domain of emotions. Neurosciences propose interesting and pragmatic insights to get a better understanding of emotions.

Before discussing these insights in my future articles, I propose to take a look at the center where emotions are processed: the brain

Do we have one or more brains? Yes, we are the proud owners of three brains:
1. The old brain, also called the reptilian brain as a reference to its origin within the evolution of the animals. Its role: grant our survival.
2. The mid brain is the place where we process our emotions; here we find the roots of our impulsions to buy
3. The new brain or cortex is the latest evolution of the brain, it’s the place where we think and where Descartes eureka “ergo cogito sum” found its origin.

Whereas the part of our brain, of which we are aware, happens in the new brain or cortex, the activities of both the reptilian and mid brain occur outside our conscious awareness.

The insights brought by neuroscience will mainly concentrate on the unconscious processes and their way of functioning as they concern our decisions. You will see that Neuroscience proposes an easy approach to improve your website which does not necessarily needs to be expensive nor complicated.

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SST step 8: How do you fix your objectives and plan your actions?

Strategy_objectives

Did you validate your strategies? Before moving to action, you first need to fix the framework how you are going to monitor their effectiveness. Remember, you defined your strategies to bring a change. You have to define their dynamic and measure their evolution.

Let’s just one moment take a closer look to the confusion, which often exists between an objective and the strategy. It happens all to often one thinks the objectives are the strategy. But in fact, the strategy defines the direction, and the objectives measure the dynamics of the evolution and doing so allow you to monitor the progress of your strategy.

For these new steps, you will need to download the latest SST Version (v9).  Under chapter 7 you fill find the table “objectives”. Copy the strategies you defined under chapter 4 & 5 in the first column. For each strategy, define what you are going to measure. Where are you going to put the thermometer? How and which frequency are you going to read this thermometer?

Let’s take an example. If your strategy consists in developing your distribution network, what could you measure? The evolution of your number of distributors, the turnover of your network, the geographical spread, etc. If you choose to monitor the evolution of the number of distributors, you could measure the number of visits (per month/per quarter, per year) of potential distributors, the number of contracts signed (per month/per quarter, per year), etc. Once you decided what and with which frequency what you want to measure you have to fix a number in the third column and you are now ready to go for action.

Let’s go to chapter 9 and start with your first strategy, which you introduce above the first table. Now let your mind bring up all actions it can think of in order to realize this strategy and write them down in the table. Once your list established, fix the deadlines within which you would want to execute the activity and assess its importance for the strategy (eg a quote between 1 and 3 where as 1 is a must and 3 a nice to have). Once you are done with your first strategy, you take the next until you have finished all of them.
Let me add some common sense practical advice. It’s very important to manage the difference between urgency and emergency. Something urgent is not necessary important and vice versa… Another thing is that it is not necessary to execute all actions you have listed. Remember that you have fixed your objectives which will indicate you if you need to increase your activities or on the contrary you can slow down, unless of course you want to change your objectives.

Congratulations, you have made it! We reached the end of our strategy journey. I hope it has brought you clarity and structure in your ideas and actions. Let me wish you success, satisfaction and joy in implementing your strategies.

PS I share this method, as I want to help SMB’s and small organizations to enhance their strategic approach. Any constructive remarks are welcome and will be taken in consideration to improve the method for the benefit of all users. Thank you!

Parlez-vous français? Une version française de cet article est disponible soushttp://www.internetbusinessclub.ch.

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SST step 7: Do your strategies bring real change?

change strategies

Did you make sure your strategies are pointing in the same direction? (step6) You are now ready to pass the second validation: change. The reason you need to look for change is quite simple: if you do what you have always done you will get the same results. So you better be sure your strategies bring change.

Where change is the first condition to put your strategies in place you also need to assess its feasibility. Do you dispose of sufficient resources and the required competences to implement this strategy with success?

Let’s introduce each of your strategies in the first column of the table 6B. If you do not have the SST form download it here. Assess each one of them on both aspects: do they bring a real change compared with what I have done before? Do we have access to the resources and required competences to put these strategies in place? If you happen to be a start-up or when you are launching a brand new activity, identify the change by comparing with your competitors.

A strategy is a piece of a puzzle or better a part of the road but not the whole road. Therefore it is very useful to ask yourself the question: what comes next? Table 6C is waiting for your thoughts on this subject.

Human nature avoids change. That’s why “communication” needs your attention when your stakeholders (customers, suppliers, collaborators) will be directly or indirectly related to the change. How are you going to communicate your strategies so everybody is happy? Or how can you explicit how your strategies can serve the strategies of your customers, suppliers or collaborators?

We have so far defined and validated the strategies. To conclude we still need to fix our objectives and translate our strategies into actions. Food for thought for our next article! Until then, to your success!

PS I share this method, as I want to help SMB’s and small organizations to enhance their strategic approach. Any constructive remarks are welcome and will be taken in consideration to improve the method for the benefit of all users. Thank you!

Parlez-vous français? Une version française de cet article est disponible soushttp://www.internetbusinessclub.ch.

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SST Step 6: How do you validate your strategies?

clear strategy

In the previous steps you have defined strategies to protect yourself (step 5) and to take benefit of an opportunity (step 6). You are probably the happy owner of a bunch of strategies and it’s quite important to validate them before you start to go into action. If you did not have the SST form already you can download it for free here.

First of all you need to make sure your strategies go in the same direction. Generally speaking there are three types of strategies. The first one has become famous by discounters and is known under the name of cost leader ship. The main competitive advantage here is being the cheapest in town. The second type of strategy is called focus strategy and aims to create a competitive advantage through specialization. The differentiation strategy is the third type of strategy and concentrates on developing activities differentiated from your core business.

Let’s apply this typology on the business of a Bakery. If the owner follows a cost leadership he will try to attract customers through aggressive pricing. If on the contrary the focus strategy is chosen, the qualities of his products and its communication will be dominating to convince customers to buy his bread. You may expect other products such as milk, cheese, newspapers, cigarettes, alcohol in the bakery, if the owner has chosen a diversification strategy.

Let’s now go back to your strategies. Please enter each one of them in the first column of the table of 6A. Now assess each one of your strategies according to their type and write an “X” in the right column. Have you assessed all your strategies? Observe now whether your “X” are in majority in one specific column or on the contrary, if they are dispersed over the three different columns.

It is important you have a clear strategy and that the majority of your “X” is in the same column. You have one or two in a different column? Verify if these deviations are intermediate strategies, which support the main strategy.  E.g. in case your main strategy is a focus strategy and one of your strategies is assessed as a cost leader strategy, ask yourself the question whether you do it to establish a competitive advantage or to attract customers in order to sell them high quality products.

If your “X” are too dispersed, the risk exists you are dispersing your assets and not being able to implement one of your strategies as would be needed. In this case I would like to advice you to reconsider your strategies and to decide for one of the three possible options and to redefine in consequence your strategies.

In my next article we will verify whether the strategies really bring a change and are feasible. Until then, to your success!

PS I share this method, as I want to help SMB’s and small organizations to enhance their strategic approach. Any constructive remarks are welcome and will be taken in consideration to improve the method for the benefit of all users. Thank you!

Parlez-vous français? Une version française de cet article est disponible soushttp://www.internetbusinessclub.ch.

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