Technology is the heart of today’s most high-impact marketing discussions. From real-time messaging to behavioral targeting, interest graphs, and personalization, a wealth of tools are available to help brands boost user engagement sales conversions.
These tools, however, are only part of the marketing equation. Technology is, at the end of the day, a means to an end of increasing audience engagement. In addition to planning how you’re going to reach your customers, you need to understand what your customers want and why they behave the way that they do.
In other words, you need to find the story within your data. Here are 3 timeless psychology principles that drive success in marketing.
1. “What’s in it for me?”
As a marketer, you’ve poured your heart and soul into building your company. Between sleepless nights and hours spent doing grunt work, you live and breathe your product, mission, and vision.
As much as you want your customers to share that same passion, they don’t. At any given moment, they’re wondering ‘what’s in it for me?’ — the universal question that underscores online commerce.
Your marketing materials need to speak to this question directly by showing how your company can help audiences (1) save time, (2) save money, (3) make money, or (3) live a better life.
Gregory Ciotti, head of inbound marketing at Help Scout recently explored this concept in a blog post for KISSmetrics. He cites a study led by Jennifer Aaker, the General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University — an experiment that addresses the value of time vs. money.
Aaker and her co-author Cassie Mogilner tested this idea with a lemonade stand that was run by two 6-year-olds. Lemonade was priced between $1 and $3, with three separate signs:
1. The first said, “Spend a little time and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
2. The second said, “Spend a little money and enjoy C&D’s lemonade”
3. The third said, “Enjoy C&D’s lemonade” (neutral sign)
The sign that emphasized time attracted twice as many customers, who were willing to pay twice as much. The conclusion? People feel strongly connected with and are motivated by time.
It’s this logic that influenced the creation of the following customer stories on Clarify.fm. Each emphasizes the time-saving and money-saving value of the platform, which connects novice entrepreneurs with experienced business experts.
These customer stories answer the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ directly — without being salesy or beating around the bush.
2. Visuals are powerful
Human beings are driven by imagery. According to 3M Corporation and Zabisco (via HubSpot), 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000-times faster in the brain than text.
You don’t need to hire a fancy designer for every project. Instead rely on subtle cues to engage your audience — embed YouTube videos into your content or use a tool like Canva to add visual accents to your blog posts.
Make visual cues obvious, easy to recognize, and apparent — like this blog from Clarity.
3. Attention Spans Are Fleeting
Technology makes it easier to reach audiences, but it also makes audiences less likely to listen to what your brand has to say.
At any given moment, audiences face a number of distractions. They’re buried in email, crunching spreadsheets, and are likely browsing your website as a brain-break from work.
According to one estimate, the average human attention span is 8 seconds, which is down from 12 seconds in 2000 — that’s 1 whole second shorter than goldfish.