A New Marketing Strategy Textbook by Rory Sutherland
We love a feeling of accomplishment. IKEA has created an incredibly successful furniture brand and they don’t assemble any of it themselves. The IKEA conundrum: why do people love to work a little extra to create a final product than to buy that product in its finished form? Better Crocker was the first to do it. Cake mixes were selling when the instructions were simply add milk and bake. Once they added the steps of adding eggs, milk, and oil sales sky rocketed. Why?
All logic points to make things simple for the customer, leave as many steps out, but Betty Crocker and IKEA would disagree.
Wine tastes better when poured from a heavier bottle. Painkillers are more effective when people believe they are expensive. Almost everything becomes more desirable when people believe it is in scarce supply, and possessions become more enjoyable when they have a famous brand name attached. – RorySutherland
We put a silly amount of value into the most not os obvious attributes.
We can them “Brainstorming” sessions for a reason, if all the ideas we come up with worked, we’d call them “perfect idea sessions”. But we don’t, brainstorms are to get ideas out there, ideas you may not think of under normal circumstances. And what company or organization believes they’re operating under “normal” circumstances in 2019?
The less normal the ideas the better. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. When Bestbuy was rolling out their e-commerce store sales were growing but not at the rate they’d like. When someone tried to make a purchase they were prompted with a screen where you had to create a profile to make the transaction. As you can guess, many customer left the site in an instant.
They changed the login to you can still purchase as a guest. Here’s the wording they used:
‘You do not need to create an account to make purchases on our site. Simply click Continue to proceed to checkout. To make your future purchases even faster, you can create an account during checkout.’
It was quite the boost to online sales. It had nothing to do with traditional marketing, more of customer experience and reducing friction.
The number of customers completing purchases increased by 45 per cent almost immediately, which resulted in an extra $15 million in the first month; in the first year, the site saw an additional $300 million attributable simply to this change.
Make it simple to buy what you sell.
Thinking logically to solve a problems seems like the right thing to do but when you’re communicating a message you can’t communicate the way everyone else does. You must signal in a way that attracts the attention of your target audience.
“Niels Bohr* apparently once told Einstein, ‘You are not thinking; you are merely being logical.’”
When trying to grow a customer base it could seem logical to advertise to people to get more business. But the smart marketers are doing the things that the big successful firms do once they become big. The sponsor golf tournaments, they donate to charity’s, they sometimes buy billboards (but lets not get hung-up on this, it’s still social signalling). They do the things that get attention but in a smart way.
“Perception may map neatly on to behaviour, but reality does not map neatly onto perception.”
You may think you buy products because of the quality, the craftsmanship, the extended warranty, but really we buy for the most irrational reasons. We want to look like “one of them”. Other’s opinions and own choices tend to affect us subconsciously much more than we realize.
This is a fascinating realization. It’s almost that we must try to gain the trust of potential customer again and again
“50-year-old theory concerning brand preference. The idea, most simply expressed, is this: ‘People do not choose Brand A over Brand B because they think Brand A is better, but because they are more certain that it is good.’*”
When you give someone a business card it’s hard for them not to judge you, good or bad. The quality of the card, the thickness, the way it feels, the design. These are all moments that are seemingly useless but a lot can be said for the first impression of your company for many people.
Conventional wisdom about human decision-making has always held that our attitudes drive our behaviour, but evidence strongly suggests that the process mostly works in reverse: the behaviours we adopt shape our attitudes.
You can say you believe in only buying quality brands but if you go shoe shopping at Wal-Mart I’m not going to believe you. Talk is cheap, specially in an age where you can say literally ANYTHING you want on the internet and people can choose to believe it verbatim.
We tend to justify our actions in hindsight. Think about the last time you ordered takeout? You knew it would be smarter to cook a healthy meal but you told yourself it was a stressful day and you need to treat yourself. We’ve all done it. Actions justified.
New job, new title, new raise? Better get that BMW to fit in with the executive team. If everyone at the company who’s on the executive drives a luxury car, do you drive one assuming you’re like them before it happens?
Give people a reason and they may not supply the behaviour; but give people a behaviour and they’ll have no problem supplying the reasons themselves.
Anything can become beautiful, if viewed in the right context. This quote hit home because it makes you think about the world of advertising like the world of nature. Depending on what you’re looking at and when you’re looking at it, anything can become beautiful. Flowers grow large, colourful petals to attract the Bees. The larger the flower, the more colourful the flower, the more attention it gets.
Sure some of the other flowers don’t like it, they compete for the smaller Bees and will never really be on the same level as the big, beautiful flowers. But then again, those flowers have evolved over time to adapt themselves to what the Bees want. In time, that small little flower may change as well and one of it’s descendants may just become a big flower with a better marketing budget.
It’s just social signaling, all marketing is social signaling
Companies, just like flowers mustn’t rush the growth of their petals. Just like nature, trying to be something you’re not doesn’t end well. Gradually attracting more Bees, larger Bees, is the only way to grow.