Anticipation – How Businesses Can Reward The Brain

PR Newswire 2010 Survey

It’s Friday.  TGIF, because one of myfavorite businesses is busy updating their website and I can’t wait to see what they have done this week.   Last week I got to see that they had restored one of my favorite vehicles from the past, a 1955 Chevy, but then I also loved the 1971 Land Cruiser that they restored ,the 1965 GTO ….. No, they are not hiring an ad agency to update their website, and they are not giving it to their teenager to do it.  They are doing it themselves.

The beauty of the internet is that it allows consumers to follow their passions.  People are eager to find articles and information about the things thye are going to buy or hope to buy in the future.

According to the second year of an Opinion Research Corporation consumer preference survey sponsored by Adfusion, consumers say they’re more likely to read and act upon articles with brand information.  It also shows that the trend is increasing for all forms of online advertising, including email offers.  Consumers prefer brands that give them information.

53% of those surveyed said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and act upon an article they read online about a brand.  When you look at more specific information it is 66% for those between the ages of 25 and 34.  For those making at least $75,000, 60% responded positively to online brand information.

The business I mentioned in the first paragraph is a small business in a small town.  But look at another car website that is known across the nation.  Edmonds puts all sorts of car information at the consumer’s fingertips.  As a business person it is imperative to have your radar screen up and find out where your customers (the blip on the screen) are.   Then figure out how you become the blip on your customer’s screen.

For those of you who like to dig a little deeper there is a great article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Our brains reward us when we start to expect getting what we want.  That’s right.  Just the anticipation of getting it starts the same reward mechanism in our brain as actually having it!

What is the best way to trigger that reward center in the brain?  Is it one picture in a magazine?  Is it a billboard that someone sees while rushing their children to school?  Is it an ad that interrupts their favorite music, or television show?  Or has a better reward center emerged that puts that information at the consumer’s fingertips?  The computer with images, videos and words rewards the consumer’s brain in a much better way than any other means of advertising.

So, today a consumer could look at the 1955 Chevy and their brain will reward them with the feel, the sound and even the smells of that vehicle.  Or look at the 1971 Land Cruiser and its ride is much different, but their brain could trigger all the rewards of that vehicle.   Another consumer will look at the latest women’s jewelry, or purse and know what if feels like when then are wearing it, even before they have purchased it.  Another consumer will be looking forward to their date tonight and go online an find out what restaurant will be the best one to go to.  People concerned about issues like social responsibility willl find the brands like McDonald’s who are willing to talk about their company and its social responsibility.

So it is Friday.   Some businesses are quickly reading their horoscope hoping it tells them that today is their lucky day.  Others are looking at the new ad they placed in a magazine that makes them feel real good.  Meanwhile other businesses are busy posting what their customers want on websites, blogs, sending out emails of interest, talking to their customers on facebook, or letting people know about the great event they are having.  Meanwhile these businesses’ new customer’s brains have already rewarded them and they can’t wait to get to these businesses.  They can feel and see the jewelry on their arm, they know how their new car is going to look and ride, they can taste their favorite meal and those thoughts will guide them to what they found on the internet.

(If you need help in knowing how easy it is to keep in touch with your customers email me at ted@bliplakenorman.com)

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Walk A Mile In Your Own Shoes First

Businesses spend a fortune in time and money trying to understand their customers.  That is not the place to start thinking about your companies marketing.  Each person in your business, whether you have 10,000 employees or 1,  is  a customer for somebody.

Ask yourself some questions about how you make purchases and you will start to better understand that you aren’t wearing a stiletto while your customers are barefoot.  We are all walking along the same path in our ways of purchasing and it isn’t the same way that Dorothy walked in the Wizard of Oz.  And we don’t make our purchasing decisions by magically clicking our heels.

David Meerman Scott suggests the following five questions.

  1. In the last one to two months, either privately or professionally, have you answered a direct mail advertisement? (Average is  3 -4%)
  2. In the last one to two months, have you gone to mainstream media to research a product or service you wanted to buy? (Average is  22%)
  3. In the last one to two months, have you gone to the yellow pages? People laugh (Average is  less than 3)
  4. In the last one to two months, have you used Google or another search engine? (Average is  99-100%)
  5. In the last one to two months, have you tapped your online network about something you wanted to buy? (Average is  85%)

Marketing today is not wearing, or driving,  a pair of stilettos and getting noticed.  It is talking to your customers when they are ready to ask questions.   People don’t care if you are their local business or a larger company.   They respond to companies that make an effort to treat them the exact same way that they want to be treated.  So don’t run over your customers with your new stiletto motorcycle, or shout at them in the yellow pages, or force them to watch a flash video before they can find something on your website, or put more stuff in their mailbox and expect them to buy your product.  Communicate.  You will find your customers on the internet, on facebook, twitter etc.,  making purchases just like you do.

Check out the resources at the right under BLOGROLL to help you meet your customers on their turf.

What Type of BLIP are you?

A blip can be a spot on a radar screen or something relatively small or inconsequential within a larger context. Businesses today are blips of one type or another. They can be found by a customer on his or her radar screen, which is the internet, or they are lost in the larger context of the bombardment of images and words that hit people everyday. What used to work in the old marketing world is gone. Customers don’t want the screaming ads that annoy them, trap them, interrupt their leisure activity, or try to trick them. Businesses stuck on the old marketing tools will be a blip, but not the blip they hoped to be.

1. Today everyone has a radar screen. It is their computer connected to the internet. When a customer wants to do research they do it whenever they want, in front of their computer, IPad, phone or laptop, wherever they want. They do not have to wait until tomorrow to go ask a friend what they think of this or that brand. They go online, research the product or ask their social network and know it instantly.
2. Power to the people, as the old song goes, has become a reality. Anyone can find the information they are looking for. Companies that succeed in this market don’t shout and scream for attention, but give their customers the information they want. Information is power. People are loyal to companies that empower them.
3. Companies need to get out their radar screens and find out where their customers are doing their research. Gone are the days when you just put an ad in the paper, or purchased a bigger Yellow Page ad, or if you were really slick paid somebody to make you the coolest ego flattering web page in town and your customers found you. All companies have to know where their customers are and then give the customers what they want, when they want.

BlipBlog is here because the radar screen has also changed the world of marketing and put power in the hands of every business person, whether you are a CEO of a large company, or small business person trying to find your customers in a local area. BlipBlog is here to help you understand that the cutting edge of marketing is not found in the expensive offices of most marketing companies. Most of these companies were educated before the internet gave power to the people and they probably did not learn about the social networks in their graduate schools. The last thing most marketing companies want is for businesses to realize that the power has shifted into the hands of every business. After all who knows your customers better than you? So put up your radar screen and be a blipping good company.