You know a book is excellent when it's the easiest to grab from your bookshelf, and it's riddled with hand-written notes scribbled in the margins and decorated with a rainbow of flags throughout.
Late last fall, I had the good luck to participate in a conference session with guest speaker and author Nancy Harhut. While the conference held so many great presentations, this one was worth the price of admission. The topic – "7 new strategies that instantly improve bank marketing ROI" had my attention. Nancy spoke on a handful of principles from her book "Using Behavioral Science in Marketing".
Following the presentation, I headed to the tradeshow to seek out the book Nancy had written. And there it sat at 1 pound 5 ounces, with its golden yellow cover and 265 crisp white pages of black type-text.
As a rule, I strive to spend my first waking hour of the day reading – something tremendously easier to do during the dark, cold Canadian winters than the bright summer mornings. This book quickly became my number one morning read during my chilly winter mornings.
Today, I will share three highlights from the book, preceded by my story and ending with my take-away.
Emotions and logic.
When I was a lender, I pre-approved an individual for a vehicle loan at a great rate. I was so surprised to learn they had financed the vehicle elsewhere at a cost that would be significantly higher than what we had agreed upon. I believe that emotion overrode logic, and the individual got swept up in the story of imagining themselves in the new vehicle. As a result, they were willing to forgo the logical plan they had in place to get instant gratification. It happens. I often wonder if this person has ever had buyer's remorse over their chosen path.
“Essentially people think they're in charge. They think they make well-thought-out, well-considered decisions. But quite often, they are at the mercy of forces they are completely unaware of. And one of those is their emotions.
People decide based on emotional reasons – even really smart people, even to B2B
The truth is - and this is important - people actually make decisions for emotional reasons, and then later justify those decisions with rational reasons.” (Harhut, 2022, p. 6)
Lyanne's take-away: inject emotions to help your prospective buyer feel what you deliver in your product or service (such as how it would feel to have an extra jingle in their jeans or how magnificent a full night's sleep without worry will feel). And then give them the facts to back up the rational decision. Helping them to see themselves happily enjoying your offerings while providing the facts will encourage repeat customers and positive word of mouth. After all, buyer's remorse is the last thing you want them to feel.
I will trust this person I don’t know.
How frequently do you look at testimonials or reviews when looking up a new product or service? I know that I sure do. I want first-hand experience – not a business giving me the flowery version – of what the product or service is actually like. This, my friends, is called social proof.
“When your target is faced with a decision that they aren't sure how to make, they will look at what people similar to them have done, and do the same. Behavioral scientists have found that this decision-making shortcut conserves mental energy, and makes people feel more confident. As a marketer, you want to show your prospects that many other customers have already done what you're asking them to do.” (Harhut, 2022, p. 60)
Lyanne's take-away: as humans, our brains are often looking for a shortcut, plus validation in decisions. It can inform decisions when we look to see what others have done, what their experience was like, or how they've used a product or service. I leverage this with my business by sharing testimonials and case studies of people I have worked with. There is a lot of power in social proof – as a consumer, it helps to reduce the concern that the wool is being pulled over our eyes.
Let me tell you a story.
When marketing for financial services, it can be tricky to capture an audience's attention when talking about something that can be as dry as dust to so many (so, so very many). How do you help them see that the service offering can get them in a better spot than they may be today? Or how do you at least get them thinking about it? Years ago, I wrote a campaign based on fictional characters. Meet Joe. Meet Sally and Dave. I then wove a story that closely aligned to what my audience was experiencing or feeling and the solution to help solve the problem. The result: my organization walked away with a marketing award, not to mention an increase in growth.
“Stories stoke emotion. And emotion drives decisions. For this reason, stories can quite literally move people.”
“The human brain is hardwired for stories. Scientists found that stories help people make sense of the world. They make important lessons easier to remember. And they let people come to their own conclusions, which is especially important to marketers who need people to make decisions.” (Harhut, 2022, pp. 77-78)
Lyanne's take-away: Although you can't always have a long copy, where you can consider adding a story. Help your prospective customers imagine themselves using your product or service. Tap into the emotion shared in the first point. This can become especially important if what you market isn't tangible or the benefits are far away in the future.
I touched on three of the 17 principles that Nancy wrote about. I have sticky notes in every chapter, and I pull this book out when writing strategies, copy and campaigns. I highly recommend adding this to your bookshelf.
Intrigued to learn more? Here is a link where you can purchase the book Using Behavioral Science in Marketing: Drive Customer Action and Loyalty by Prompting Instinctive Responses: Harhut, Nancy: 9781398606487: Books - Amazon.ca
I hope you found this helpful.
Keep on being amazing,
With a drive to accomplish high-quality results, the marketing work Lyanne has spearheaded in business has been recognized and awarded nationally on several occasions. In addition to this, she proudly holds the Chartered Marketer designation through the Canadian Marketing Association.
After serving 28 years in corporate finance, she emboldened into new territory by striking up a business marketing consulting practice that exists to lighten the load of marketing leaders. Having been a leader in marketing, she appreciates the complexities of the job and the many demands that come with it.
Whether you are interested in learning more about how blue dragonfly can help your business, are interested in joining or learning more about Mastermind groups, would like to chat about a speaking engagement, or want to meet with Lyanne, this is a great way to get started. Connect today. Connect today.
Cheers to the beginning of a great relationship.
Harhut, N. (2022). Using Behavioral Science in Marketing. KoganPage.