Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Original posting:
It’s easy to assume that B2C is more emotional than B2B — as more consumer goods have hedonistic appeal, while B2B products have utilitarian appeal. But that’s not true.
Research by Google and Motista shows that 10 to 40 percent of B2C customers feel emotionally connected to a brand while 50 percent and higher of B2B purchasers feel emotionally connected to the brands with which they do business. And when you create the right emotional reactions, you can increase your chances of getting a premium price by eight times. Strange, but true.
Think about it. When we buy that $30,000 luxury handbag, we are emotionally connected to how we feel having bought a luxury brand item that few people can afford. We feel superior, awesome and like we've arrived at a place in society where others have not. Yet, in time, that wears off, and you replace that "uber awesome" handbag with another one which often puts the first one on the back shelf and the back part of your mind.
Yet when you buy that $30,000 CRM system to automate your email campaigns, analyze customer behavior — and are thus able to sort customers according to propensity to buy sooner than later, and thus get higher response and results and sales on a marketing campaign — that feeling lasts a lot longer. It hits much deeper chords in our emotional vessel — security, actualization, and aspirational fulfillment, and a sense of comfort that we will be able to maintain what we have earned vs. lose what matters most: our ability to survive and provide for our families.
The coolness factor of the handbag doesn't add to our sense of security or help us achieve higher goals, like a job promotion, praise and recognition that lead to job security, potential end-of-year bonuses and so on. These outcomes from a wise business purchase can help us achieve outcomes that last far longer and have much stronger applications for our long-term wellbeing than a trendy luxury item. When you can strike these emotional chords among B2B purchasers and then deliver customer service and products that fulfill the implied promises, you are far better poised to generate sustainable sales and increase existing customer value.
To achieve success in B2B marketing and up your chances of getting a premium price by eight times, think of daisy chains. Big choices that are associated with big outcomes are often made up of decision daisy chains of which the purchaser is not even aware. Back to purchasers of marketing technology or marketing services, such as consulting or agency work. It is not as simple as buying the coolest brand, trendiest design or the lowest price. The choice is complex and influenced by a chain of "what ifs."
  • What if I buy something that doesn't work or takes too long to implement?
  • What if I waste my budget and can't buy what else I need to perform and reach goals?
  • What if the agency doesn't deliver new ideas that beat past programs?
  • What if I look bad to my bosses?
  • What if I don't get recognized for doing a good job?
  • What if I lose my job because I didn't reach my goals?
  • What then will happen to my job security, income, ability to pay my mortgage, car payment and support my kids' dreams?
  • ... and so on.
While you don't want to craft messaging that creates the fear of the "what ifs” happening, and position your brand as the fear monger or a manipulator, you do want to subtly project your brand's ability to dismiss all the unconscious and conscious "what ifs” that come to mind during any B2B purchasing process that has substantial implications and outcomes.
You can do this by tapping into psychological drivers and influencers such as:
  • Authority: Who are the authorities who support and align with your category and/or brand? How can you use their allegiance to attract others? Better yet, who are the authorities within your brand and how can you elevate their voices?
  • Social Proof: Share case studies as part of your “thank you” follow up after a sales call. Showcase brands that reflect your prospects’ brands and show results that you can help new clients achieve, as well.
  • Actualization: Tell a story about how your brand helps clients’ achieve the emotional goals they strive for within their jobs. Whether they are purchasers of marketing technology, IT, educational systems or medical devices, there’s always a deeper purpose or "why" behind what they do. In most cases, it is not about the products they buy for their companies, but their ability to influence positive outcomes for the people they serve, like a better education, smarter way to work, or medical devices that deliver an accurate diagnosis the first time.
When you can do even just the above, you take price out of the equation, and put partnership in the process, which lasts a lot longer than the joy of a quick sale for low price, and much much longer than the joy of having a beaded crocodile handbag that will be forgotten in a few months’ time.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Loyalty Tips that Unite Customers for Life and Go Far Beyond Points!

Recently had the privilege of interviewing the VP of Loyalty or United Airlines and learned some great tips for building loyalty that goes far beyond points and even the product you deliver.  Enjoy these easy to execute insights from one of the world's best loyalty marketers.


Loyalty Tips that Unite Customers For Life


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Human nature does not change.  We will always be driven by the anticipation of rewards whether its monetary, social, physical, emotional or even something as simple as beating our past score at solitaire!  Marketers that know this are those that get the biggest ROI rewards in the short and long term.  The article below is also on my author page at

The Psychology of Rewards

We live at the best time ever to be consumers. Every brand we love and store we frequent wants to reward that loyalty. It seems marketers have figured out the big secret: We humans are just like a pack of dogs, or rather Pavlov’s dogs, and come running for rewards.
Extrinsic motivation, or our behavior which is driven by the anticipation of being rewarded by others for engaging in specific behaviors, drives much of the choices we make in life — how we perform our jobs and what products we chose to buy.
And down deep that motivation is linked to what I’ve said before is our greatest psychological driver: our survival DNA. Unconsciously, rewards help us feel like we are getting closer to that place in life where we have what we need to survive the daily battle to fulfill needs and wants that propel us ahead of the pack.
When we get something cheaper than usual, more than what we paid for or something for free, as a rewards program often delivers — in our unconscious minds, we are stronger, better, richer, faster or have more resources than others, and so we are posed to survive. And it’s fun!
Getting rewards is like playing a game we know we can win. We do little things that take little effort on our part and get something back, like a two-for-one deal, a free gift, a big discount on a purchase. Even small prices, like a free car wash worth $10, can spark a dopamine rush. And when we drive out of that “free” car wash, we have a bigger smile on our face than when we paid for a car wash that was just as fast and clean. It’s simple how we are wired.

Loyalty Programs Spark Brain Triggers

Rewards programs have long been successful, in all industries, to spark trial, boost incremental sales and secure loyalty. We eagerly sign up for point programs that can earn us free pizzas, airline tickets, hotel nights and such.
And then really smart marketers came along and let us choose our rewards, like American Express Membership Rewards, that let consumers shop various brands for products purchased strictly through points. And today, marketers are getting even smarter and building apps for rewards programs that cater to the current frenzy and greatest needs of consumers today: instantaneousness.

Ibotta Case Study: Ugotta Love It and UGottaDo It

One of the best examples of a reward program that caters to the psychological state of most consumers today, regardless of there generation, is Ibotta, a young app birthed just five years ago in the basement of a fire station in Denver. It simply helps consumers get rewards, such as rebates and discounts, or loyalty premiums redeemed faster and easier than before. Ibotta allows users to submit their receipts online in order to get instant cash back, which is deposited into their accounts and can be cashed out via PayPal, gift cards or other digital processes, eliminating the “check in the mail” process that seems to take forever in today’s world. Just this past holiday season of 2016, Ibotta at four years old, was the third-most-used shopping app during the holiday shopping period in December 2016, outpaced only by Amazon and eBay.
Its growth has been staggering. Take a look at these numbers:
  • Nov. 16, 2012 — Ibotta app launch on iOS
  • Dec. 18, 2012 — Ibotta announces 100,000 registered users on iOS; announces Android version launch
  • Feb. 5, 2013 — Ibotta announces 500,000 registered users in just under four months
  • May 14, 2013 — Ibotta users have earned $1 million in cash rewards in just six months
  • July 20, 2013 — Ibotta users have earned $2 million in cash rewards
While every stat above is very telling about this successful new business idea and its value to consumers, take a look at the last two bullet points. In just one month, Ibotta doubled its payouts from $1 million in cash rewards earned to $2 million. And this, at just seven months old. This is serous validation as to how powerful the force of rewards is for attracting customers and keeping them actively engaged in what matters most: shopping! And shopping for rewards.
But not all rewards programs grow this quickly. Here’s what Rich Donahue, SVP of Marketing for Ibotta, has to say about the company’s success:
“What we’re focused on at Ibotta is helping consumers live a ‘Life Rewarded.’ Our goal is to make sure that you earn rewards on everything you buy, wherever and however you shop. With Ibotta, you earn cash back and make those rewards count in your life.”
Creating awards around everyday routines and shopping needs has catapulted Ibotta’s growth during its mere five years of existence. As of this past week, Aug. 9, 2017, Ibotta users have earned more than $200 million in cash rewards and a download total of 23 million. On top of that, it’s become the 43rd most-used app in the App Store.

So Whatta? Marketers Ask, ‘What’s in It for Me?’

What does all this mean for marketers today? Alotta!
  • Rewards, small or big, matter — and matter a lot — as they are not just prizes for the conscious mind to get excited about. They are triggers of the unconscious mind, which drives 90 percent of our thoughts and choices.
  • Instantaneousness matters, too. Everything about our lives is instant now … instant access to information via Google searches 24/7 on our mobile devices, which are instantly available as they are in-hand or pocket 24/7.
  • And Choice matters, too. We are long past the days of reward programs for more of a brand’s product and only that brand’s product, and on that brand’s terms, not ours. Brand loyalty programs may have a lot of enrollment, but they get very little redemption. According to a Forrester report, which surveyed members from the Loyalty360 association, only 16 percent of consumers, on average, redeem points from brand loyalty programs. To succeed, brands of all sizes need to take on the Ibotta and American Express approach of letting customers be rewarded for products and services they choose vs. get rewarded with “stuff” they may not need at the moment, if ever.


While I’m not suggesting you expire all of the points your customers have earned with you to-date (there are many cases of this backfiring), I am suggesting you take a look at your system to make sure you are offering choices that matter, and the speed to redemption that clearly matters to consumers today.
If you don’t up your rewards program to fit our psychological need to win rewards that help us up our chances to survive (emotionally, physically, financially, socially and more) and do it quickly, you’re wasting alotta resources of your own. Make your time and effort matter by changing your game to up the fun and fulfillment of the consumers’ game when it comes to getting the best deal and reward. It’s just something you GOTTA do!

Here's some insights on why your "father's marketing" might still be the best path for yours.  This can also be found on Target Marketing magazine.

Slow Down to Go Faster, Marketers

Sometimes you have to slow down to go faster.
Those wise words of wisdom don’t just apply to business strategy, they are highly applicable to marketing.
We live in an age of extreme digital addiction, consumers glued to digital devices every waking hour. As a result, marketers rush to buy up all of the digital channels they can to be present and steal mindshare from all of the other brands tweeting, posting, sharing and hoping to get attention, engagement and sales. Yet, the simple truth is that most brands can’t really tell if its working, if they are getting sales and they don’t really know if consumers are really focused on their messages, even when data analytics say they were.
The secret is quite clear: to create meaningful engagement with customers in ways that build brands for the moment, as fleeting as it is today, and brands for the long-term despite technological changes, brands must slow down in order to go faster. Faster toward securing meaningful, purposeful engagement that results in what matters most to brands, now, in the past and in the future – lifetime value.
As old-fashioned as it may seem, print is one of the best ways to do this. And one of the oldest forms of print at its best is the catalog. In 1845, Tiffany and Company put out the first mail order catalog in North America, which they called the “Blue Book.” Shortly after the most commonly known catalogs like Sears and JCPenney took hold and the American catalog industry took off. Yet with online stores taking off and minimizing the cost to entry the retail world, print started to die off. Fewer ads in magazines, fewer catalogs and eventually, for companies that dropped their catalogs, that  meant fewer sales. A lot fewer.
Here’s just one example:
In 2000, Lands’ End cut back on sending catalogs to consumers. The result was a mere drop in sales of $100 million.  When the company conducted a survey among its customers to see what happened, they discovered that 76 percent of their online customers reviewed their printed catalog before going online. (Research by Kurt Salmon)
Xerox has helped add even more life to catalogs by using its variable data printing machines to create personalized catalogs.  Like personalized direct mail which enables customers to see their names and transaction history in a letter written “just for them,” customers can now see their names and other personalized information references in a multipage catalog.
According to Shelley Sweeney, a VP/General Manager at Xerox, brands are seeing big increases in results.
Catalogs are re-surging, not just because they can be personalized, but because they appeal to some key psychological drivers that digital just can’t. We humans are tactile people. We seem to trust more, believe more, like more and act more when we can reach out and touch something or someone. When we hold a magazine in our hands, carry it in our bags, and feel it with our finger tips, we feel connected. And when those catalogs present stories about the products, about the people who use the products, about the lifestyle qualities, values and causes associated with those brands and products, we feel connected with brands with a veracity that is hard to get from the fleeting digital screen with all of its moving parts, pop up distractions and links to click.
Patagonia’s catalog is a great example. This epic catalog features products alongside stories from its ambassadors and customers, sharing their personal stories in ways that inspire passion and evoke bonds with the brand telling the story. They use world-class photography to showcase the lifestyle of those who love their brand. And people love the art, story and products in the catalogs to the point that it not only creates product sales, but another life of its own. You can now purchase a book called “Unexpected,” which features some of the best catalog photographs from over the years.
The Patagonia catalog is not a quick read. It's not a fast project and it’s not about fast and furious sales. It's about slowing down for a moment, to read, to touch, to ponder the life you want to live and can live with brands that provide you tips, ideas, inspiration, and connection with themselves and with others just like you.
Its just like Dmitri Siegel, executive creative director and vice president of e-commerce for Patagonia, says, according to a recent New York Times article.
“Catalogs are a way we’re speaking to our closest friends and people who know the brand really well.”
Catalogs, now commonly called “magalogs," are critical tools that build connections like few other channels can. Some things just never go out of style and this form of communication is not heading that way fast. In fact, while catalogs might seem to some like taking a step backward, they are truly becoming one of the fastest steps forward. And all by slowing down to regroup on what we humans like most: tangible, credible communications about things that matter to me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Conversion Conversation with WhichTestWon

Friday, November 13, 2015

How Dewar's is marketing to the subconscious mind

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Dewar’s “White Label” Scratched Cask invites consumers to experience how it's made in its virtual experience.
Source: Bacardi Limited
Dewar’s “White Label” Scratched Cask invites consumers to experience how it's made in its virtual experience.
After doing numerous consumer interviews, Bacardi Limited realized it had a slight problem among millennials with its blended Scotch whisky Dewar's. Despite Scotch whisky's being associated with sophistication with its focus groups, people thought that it was hard to drink.
"It says something about you when you order a scotch," said Brian Shaifer, director of marketing for Bacardi Whisky. "But one of the misconceptions was scotch was very harsh tasting. We wanted to make it much more approachable, akin to a sweeter profile of bourbon."
The company released Dewar's "White Label" Scratched Cask, which has a smoother profile, to change perception. And, to make sure the message sank in, it engaged in subconscious marketing to convince consumers that what they thought about scotches wasn't entirely true.
E4marketing principal Jeanette McMurtry, who is a psychology-based marketing consultant, explained that more brands are realizing the power of using psychological theory to reach consumers.
"The first few seconds of a glance at a logo creates a (stimulus), and people perceive the attributes, character and trustworthiness of a brand," she said.
One of McMurtry's financial clients was having a hard time persuading new customers to invest in the stock market. Her team told the firm that it should change its sales proposal to recognize the problems with the stock market, like volatility and fears that there will be other Bernie Madoffs out there to take advantage of them. Then, the company should show how the company could help navigate those issues.
"A lot of the marketing we do is catering to the conscious mind, the wrong 10 percent of the decision process," said McMurtry. "Oftentimes, that creates disconnect."
Bacardi also teamed up with digital marketing technology company CataBoom to create a scratch-off game. Consumers won cocktails featuring Dewar's "White Label" Scratched Cask, which they could redeem at participating bars. Upon enjoying their drink, they were given a coupon or a rebate for further incentive to purchase the product.
CataBoom CEO Todd McGee explained that he operates his company on the principles of Pavlov's theory of classical conditioning. By creating fun digital games — such as the Dewar's scratch off — and then providing consumers with some sort of gift, it gives the consumer a rush of an organic chemical called dopamine. The neurotransmitter controls the brain's reward and pleasure centers.
"If you consistently and instantly reward a behavior, you can change that behavior," he said.
McGee said the problem with loyalty programs is that a consumer has to repeat a behavior for a long time before getting their reward, which causes delayed gratification. Plus, too many companies engage in loyalty programs so no one stands out. Promotions are often oriented on prices. After the sale, consumers feel no need to return to the store unless there is another bargain. "Gamifying" something can increase engagement and create positive affinity for a brand, McGee said.
"We are wired to be attracted to things that give us fun," McMurtry said. "You create that dopamine or oxytocin rush, and it creates that unconscious decision of fun and there is something in it for me. It creates trust, and a much higher likelihood to continue these behaviors."
To further elevate the profile of Dewar's, Bacardi decided to showcase the skill it took to make the product. Since it couldn't fly everyone to Scotland, it created the Scratched Cask 360-degree virtual reality (VR) experience. The VR clip takes people through the process of creating the spirit in order to emphasize its premium nature. The company distributed VR viewers so consumers could watch the clip using their phones and the cardboard devices. In addition, it held events throughout the country where it invited people to step inside an American white oak bourbon barrel to watch a 360-degree, 4D projection mapping video, sample the product and see the VR experience.
"VR apps create that kind of (deep) engagement where you reward consumers, and you create this unconscious feeling of trust," McMurtry explained.
Digital media also helps brands reach consumers even more directly, now that they can get in front of them using mobile screens, McGee added. 
"Social media has changed everything, but the reality is the consumer has not," CataBoom's McGee said. "People want to avoid pain and seek pleasure. We're tapping into that seeking pleasure."
The Marketing Arm vice president of planning and insights, John Kelly, who helped advise the Dewar's campaign, pointed out that consumers spend 43 minutes out of every hour on their phone while they are shopping at a store. They could be texting friends, comparing prices or looking at reviews on products.
"It's a touch point that we know they are engaged with," Kelly said.
"If you see a TV spot at 3 a.m. for a spirit, you're probably not close to that point of purchase," Bacardi's Shaifer added. "But if I'm reaching you at 4:45 p.m. on your phone, you may want to go to a bar or a store to pick up a bottle of Dewar's."
But, just promising a consumer they may be able to get a prize but not following through, stacking the odds against them or not giving them something they can enjoy can backfire, McMurtry said.
"If you have a game where you don't reward the consumer, they go backwards in terms of their ability to trust you," she pointed out. "You really have to give them a chance to win."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What Most Drives Consumers Is Not What You Think

What consumers want from brands is not what you think. Best service. Best price. User involvement? Rewards programs?
If you’re thinking of the above as the things consumers want most from a brand they patronize, good guess. All apply at some level, but there’s more.
While consumers might tell you they want all of the above to keep purchasing from you and refer their friends, there’s another key driver of human behavior you and your customers themselves might not have thought about. Guess again? Hint: Cyndi Lauper did the big reveal 33 years ago.
Yep, consumers just wanna have fun. Yet most of us don’t consciously admit that we respond to fun appeals or humorous marketing tactics. But we do, because unconsciously we are drawn to anything that sparks our curiosity, helps us escape the mundane, or hints at rewarding us for engaging or doing something we didn’t know we could do — like reach a new level on a smartphone game or win a dance contest while totally sober. And when we earn that reward, or even think about it, we get that dopamine rush that makes life feel wonderful and we go back for more.
What we learn from Epicurus, the Greek Philosopher credited with what we now know as the Hedonism theory, human behavior is based upon two emotional premises: the Avoidance of Pain and the Pursuit of Pleasure. As a result of this innate psychological driver, we seek pleasure in life in many ways. That pleasure ranges from knowing we can care for our families, reach our goals, are recognized for a job well done and liked by others, to physical pleasures like the thrill of finishing a long run, getting a soothing massage or downing a favorite ice cream.
In digital vs. ancient times, another “pleasure” we seek is that rush we get when we anticipate an award through our cultural addiction to games. Games on our computers, games on our phones, games we watch on TV, and more. So many games that 1.2 billion people worldwide play them frequently, and 700 million of us play games online, says a report by Spil Games. Another gaming industry company, Newzoo, reports that the 2015 gaming industry is $91.5 billion, up 9.4 percent since 2014.
Another report by RealityMine shows that mobile gaming is increasing substantially every year and that the average session time per game we play is 4.7 minutes. Among the most popular are Words with Friends, Candy Crush and Solitaire, which are played many times a day by many gamers. We also learn that games are not just for teens, as commonly thought. RealityMine shows that 61 percent of gamers are parents with children, more women play games than men, more than 1/3 are 45 years of age or older, and that there are more middle-aged moms playing games than teenagers! Hmmm … sounds like the top consumers for most products today are playing games of some sort every day. If you’re in marketing, this should be added to the top of your “note to self” list.
Why are we so drawn to games? According to psychologists, it’s because so many games help fulfill some basic needs: a sense to compete, feel fulfilled, recognized and that we have achieved something others haven’t. According to a report on gamification created by Bunchball, a leader in the industry, game mechanics fulfill basic human desires that we seek consciously and unconsciously (opens as a PDF). These include our needs for rewards, status, achievement, self- expression, competition and even altruism.
The Fun Theory, a program dedicated to the thought that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for better,” challenges people to come up with fun ideas to get people to do things differently. Ideas that have won The Fun Theory awards include rewarding drivers for not speeding by entering them into a contest to win money accrued by fines paid by speeders, getting people to recycle bottles by making a recycling bin a bottle arcade like you find at an amusement park and increasing the use of stairs by turning them into piano keys that make music. Each of these experiments attracted attention and substantially changed behavior for the better in various cultures around the world.
So does all this talk about fun and games have a place in the marketing world? According to Todd McGee, CEO of Texas-based CataBoom, a gamification company leveraging behavioral insights to create engaging campaigns, it most certainly does.
“From a psychological point of view, ’fun’ engages us in a way that builds trust for a brand,” says McGee. “When customers win, or anticipate winning a prize, they get a dopamine rush that makes them feel good, and customers transfer that feeling to brands. Good feelings result in trust, repeat visits and referrals. So it’s a total win for customers and brands.
For CataBoom, the increases in customer engagement and sales they’re helping to deliver to their clients is just part of the fun of playing games. For one home industry client, the company created a game on Facebook that gave money away every day. As result, 71 percent of the visitors to their Facebook page engaged twice as long. For another company in the food industry, they created a “Spin the Wheel” game for a chance to win free product. People responding set a new record for site visits as they kept coming back to take their chance at the wheel.
Per McGee, CataBoom has seen brands in all industries, from entertainment groups to insurance and financial institutions, achieve not only better engagement, but monetary rewards, as well. Sales have increased as high as 30 times as a result of adding games to a customer experience.
Lesson learned: When life’s routines become a game, and fun is the anticipated reward, behavior changes. When brands integrate fun and games in their customer experience, results can change too.
  • Have Fun. Its not only the spice of life, it’s the driver that gets consumer behavior moving, trusting and, in many cases, buying.
  • Use humor, when and as appropriate, and watch your attention levels soar on social channels and traditional ones, as well.
  • Spark curiosity to get noticed and introduce your customers to a fun brand experience, persona and happy result.
Make sure your customer service follows the rules of fun, as and are great examples of companies that add a fun twist to routine sales and purchasing processes online. Their fun responses, language and digital conversations make you want to come back for more.
Now get off of your computer and go have fun!