Attention – the biggest enemy for marketers

Marketing, messaging

I have written multiple posts on how the mind plays games with us. But the same mind, is also a problem when we are trying to sell/market our product to customers.

We are living in such a hyper connected world and our smart phones, smart watches, smart “xxx” make it more difficult for US to sell, because even before our message can flow through and register with the person, she gets another alert/call/email which makes her move away from our message onto that alert and so on.

A lot of these things, were supposed to be tools to help improve our productivity, but in my opinion, they have only helped make our life more complex. With so many alerts coming from so many directions, our brain is always “ON” waiting for the next alert. Today I find myself looking at my iPhone every 30 minutes or so, in case I don’t get a “ping” of some sort. I get anxious and end-up looking at the phone to just ensure that I did not miss anything.

So why is this a problem for the marketer. It makes our life a lot more harder. Since our message may be seen and may be lost in a jiffy or may just be plain ignored. Customers ignore messages of things they don’t need. Now even if they think they need something that you offer, but before they can comprehend your full message and the phone rings or they get an email from their boss, or someone walks into their cabin or a million other things and your message is lost forever.

With a lot of people still working from home, this is an even bigger challenge because there are even more issues to distract a person, other than the regular office issues.

So not only has your message to be hyper targeted, it also needs to be so simple and short that the person who is seeing it gets it immediately before the person’s attention is diverted into another item.

Depending on the medium that you choose, the simple and quick can be relative. For a medium which reaches out to multiple senses, like a television advertisement, you could pack a lot of punch into one small 10s time frame. On the other hand if it’s a medium like email, which can only be read, then you need to think of how much you can pack before someone can lose attention. If its a medium like Twitter then your challenges are determined by the 140 characters.

But not thinking about the psychology of your users, can impact the response to your messaging. My guess is that the attention spans will actually be the currency that you are soon going to be exchanging, by giving something, to ensure that they give you the attention.

What’s your view? Do you also think this issue is impacting the response rates for your messaging? Do let me know in the comments below.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

The Pain of a Loss is much higher than the Pleasure of a Gain

Fear, messaging, pricing

In March last year I had written a post on “Pain & Gain” . At that point in time I had written it more from an experiential perspective of what I had experienced in the market and how the messaging should revolve. It was more about people giving attention to fear/loss based messaging compared to positive/gain messaging.

I was recently reading a book on pricing – “Confessions of the pricing man” by Hermann Simon. Herman Simon is considered to be the “guru” on how companies should do the pricing of their products/services. Its a fascinating book on the kind of mistakes that people do when they do the pricing and how a small change in pricing – negative or positive – can have a major impact on the volumes that the company has to sell and the profitability the company. He has shown various examples of low cost leaders who make a lot of money (Ikea as an example) and how luxury brands can mess up their brand if they try to go mass market. Its a book worth reading especially if you are involved with doing pricing for your products or services.

Now coming back to the pain & gain story with which I started this post. In the book Hermann show cases the prospect theory work done by M/s Kahneman & Tversky. This is the first time I have come across the utility curve for both positive and negative utility.

In our economics class I did study the concept of marginal utility and how it decreases as the amount of the product or service that you use goes up. So the first time you travel economy class in an aircraft, you will feel “awed” by the sheer experience. If you travel regularly, you will slowly start losing the “awe” feeling and after sometime you will find the experience just “okay”. Then its human nature that people will start ten wanting to move to the next higher level. That’s how people move to the business class and some even to the First Class. This how also premium and luxury product companies keep selling even more expensive things.

Human beings are always craving for the next bigger/more luxurious/more exciting thing. Not all may be able to afford it and move higher up the ladder, but there are enough people who do. That’s why companies who want to grow their profit, keep trying to come out with more and more premium brands.

As per Herman if you use the prospect theory, the “Marginal Harm” gets smaller as the overall size of the loss increases. However the bigger issue as per this theory is that compared to the pleasure we feel from the same quantum of “gain” the amount of pain we feel is much much higher. So in absolute terms if there is a $100 gain then the Pleasure is (1.5), but for the same $100 loss the Pain is (-3). This is the theoretical explanation of what we notice in the market on a regular basis. Until I read this book, I did not have a clue behind the phenomenon.

It gives immense pleasure when you find that what you see/experience in the market, also has a theoretical background. It then proves that the experience you have not seen is not limited to only your environment/geography or industry. It is a phenomenon which is observed globally and people have gone through the process multiple times to check its validity, before it is written out in books and presented in conferences.

While Herman has explained the how pricing can get impacted because of this prospect theory, would think it has a role to play even when you are trying to get the attention of the prospect. They will respond more to the possibility of avoiding the loss than to the possibility of gain that you can show them.

If you have also experienced this phenomenon, pls put it in the comments below. Would love to hear from you.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

The actual nuance of identifying a Single Target Market – 2

Marketing, messaging, niche, segmentation, single target market

When you do the exercise of narrowing down a segment based on different attributes or use cases, as I listed in the previous post on this topic, you keep eliminating a lot of the other areas which could divert your attention.

Then once you have been able to come down to the narrowest market (single target market) and figured out the economics of reaching out to that market, you can start working on the messaging.

Messaging is a very complex topic and by just reading a few lines here will not show you the gravity of the work that needs to be done to work it out. However by narrowing down, you can now put yourself in the shoes of the person whom you could be talking to. Once you are in her shoes, you can start thinking about what would go on in their mind related to what you are offering. Since you have too only think for this one person, life becomes much easier and you can create more targeted messages.

Sometimes the things you sell, don’t directly feature in the mind of the person, so you need to go one stage upstream and then create the messaging. Like no one, would think of outdoor – wedding – catering, until there’s a marriage that is taking place in the family. So in such cases your message will need to be focused on how it will get moulded with the marriage discussion going on in the mind of. the person you are targeting and then place the idea of an outdoor wedding. Since if they won’t think of an outdoor wedding, they can’t think of an outdoor – wedding – catering.

You cannot create powerful messaging without entering the mind of the prospect. And the best way in my opinion is to get down to a single target market.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Doing the medium – market, message match – 3

B2B, Character, Marketing, media, medium, messaging

Assuming you agree with my opinion – that I shared in the first two posts on this topic – that we should first look at the market and then decide on the medium and message, today is a take on the personality or characteristics of each medium. Again you may not agree with my view, but this view has helped me characterise what kind of message would be good for what kind of a medium.

But before we get into that, there’s some clarification with respect to what I consider as a message. The message and the medium kinda go hand-in-hand and the characteristic of the medium will put constraints on the type of message. Since I primarily deal with B2B, most of my terminology would be related to that kind of customers. However even in the B2c segment you would have similar kind of messages.

When it comes to B2B, a message could be a white paper, a case study, a webinar on a given topic, an email, a physical seminar or event for a specific product/service, a physical or virtual conference to showcase the company and a whole lot of others. The size of the message could vary, depending on the medium you are using as well as the duration. So a webinar could be 45 minutes talking about the features and benefits (the message) or it could be a full day workshop , where you are teaching the nitty gritty of the product (another kind of message). Since the workshop is more long form your message will need to be designed accordingly.

Now coming to what I started with, each medium has its own character. A conference is a good place to send a message en-mass while an email is something more personal one-to-one. An email expects a response, to take the next step, a conference is primarily one way. Like a bill board is a one way medium in the B2C segment.

So when you are sending an email its got to be personal, short and expecting a response. On the other hand a webinar would be something which is longer with minimal interaction planned, expect maybe at the end. You can’t use the message that you would put out in the webinar in an email and vice-versa.

So device your message based on the medium that you intend to use.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!