About Habits and Blindness in Marketing

April 13, 2016

MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 | Las Vegas

We all walk around thinking we are in control of our lives, confident that we are fully capable of making our own decisions. As it turns out, 40 - 45% of what we do every day is sub-conscious, powerful, safe habit. The way that we get up, get to work, the route that we take, what we eat for lunch, where we stop to get gas, what kind of coffee we drink. How do we get out of that blind routine and start seeing things again? And how do we use this new-found insight to tap into customers’ habits and into their blindness?

This year’s MarketingSherpa Summit was one of the most extraordinary, eye-opening, learning events I’ve ever been part of. I saw thousands of marketers from all around the world and from virtually every possible industry coming together to discuss, discover and share what works and what doesn’t in the magical world of digital marketing. With tracks in Email & Mobile, Digital & Data and Content & Social, there were breakout sessions for everyone to learn what we can all do to consistently improve our campaigns. And on top of all of that, we enjoyed the special treat of three amazing speakers: Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director of MECLABS Institute, genius Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock and Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg.

Check out a few takeaways.  

1. Piggyback on Rewards.

In his best-seller ‘The Power of Habit’, Charles Duhigg explains how habits are made of three components. A cue (the trigger for the automatic behavior to start), the routine (the behavior itself) and the reward (the gratification that follows the habit). When Apple decided to make a cell phone ding or vibrate in our pockets, they knew it would make us pull it out and check it without really even thinking about it. When Procter and Gamble turned Febreze from a flop to a worldwide success by positioning it as a craved–for olfactory reward and not just a simple deodorant, they created a new life habit and a purchase habit. Find what's truly rewarding to your customers and implement it into your value proposition and through all of your marketing touch-points, including subject lines, email design and tone, social media and more. 

See these great case studies about the ingenious ways marketers are relating to their target audience:


2. Use their habits to create your customer-centric marketing. 

Personalization tactics are no longer capable of working on their own. Eye-tracker research has widely shown that we are blind to things we don’t find relevant. The solution to that is to start treating customers as individualized markets of one. What is relevant to them now and here? What content do they want to consume? What would you want if you were them? An advanced preference center, segmenting, cleaning and re-engaging tactics, geo-personalization, persona-based landing pages and new and improved email templates (designs, buttons, navigation, social sharing icons) can help with longer on-page time, deliverability, and click-through rates. 

For more on this subject, read these great case studies:


3. Make Them See What You Want Them To See.

The conversation with your customer is a series of micro-"yeses" that lead to an ultimate macro "yes". It takes only one "no" to bluntly stop the process and lose your customer. Is your message too complicated? Are you asking too much, too soon? Are there friction elements in your creative? Do your email messages or landing pages have patterns that hinder your conversion/conversation rates? A/B test everything and do it often. Even small changes can make a difference and outperform the control by a considerable amount.

For more on this subject, read these great case studies:

In our daily activities at Blue Sky Marketing, we fight the blind spots to bring your marketing to new heights. Do you need help tapping into your customers' habit system and finding ways to optimize your emails and websites to eliminate friction? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Author: Sara Barbieri, Blue Sky Marketing

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