Melissa Pickle

Customer-Centric Marketing: 5 more takeaways on consumer behavior from researchers and strategists [Part II]

June 17th, 2016

MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 will be here before you know it, and our team is hard at work planning the agenda, with a special emphasis on customer-centric strategies and approaches.

As we select our keynotes, the team has conducted in-depth research and gained some interesting takeaways from both academic and marketing practitioners.  We highlighted the first five takeaways earlier this week, and we have five more thought-proving insights again for you today.


Takeaway #6. Build habit forming products

Many of the products we use in our daily routine have influenced our routines.

Nir Eyal, author of best-selling book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, has identified a design pattern in habit forming products. He describes this design pattern, “the hook,” as “an experience designed to connect the users’ problems to your solution with enough frequency to form a habit.”

The hook is comprised of cycle of triggers, actions, rewards and investments. The triggers can be internal or external, but must evoke motivation to act.

For instance, customers need to anticipate the reward for their action or they will not engage. The more involved a customer becomes with a product, the more likely he or she will develop a loyalty to the product.

Nir explains, “Products that create successive cycles through the hook help customers’ preferences, tastes, and habits develop.”

This engagement is what makes these products better, it’s not necessarily the quality of the products.


Step #7. You pay attention to those who pay attention to you

There are three stages of attention: immediate, short term and long term.

Marketers need to understand the fundamental differences between the three in order to develop relationships with customers that eventually become users and even on to brand ambassadors.  Capturing someone’s attention through an ad or campaign (immediate attention) will not make them customers (long-term attention).

Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund, has conducted research that reveals seven captivation triggers contribute to a customer’s journey on the spectrum of immediate to long-term attention. These captivation triggers include automaticity, framing, disruption, reward, reputation, mystery and acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is a trigger that fosters long-term attention. This idea of acknowledgment requires the marketer to understand the customer, empathize with the customer, and validate the customer’s experience, feelings or needs. When the customer receives this treatment, he or she is more likely to reciprocate allegiance to the company.



Step #8. To best serve customers, innovative ideas should challenge current products or services, not support them

According to Luke Williams, Founder and Executive Director of WR Berkley Innovation Lab and adjunct professor at NYU, disruptive innovation is necessary to serve your customers in the long run.

When businesses are caught up in making incremental changes that support their existing products or services, they pigeon-hole their abilities to serve their customers.

Often businesses are surpassed by others that do challenge the market and develop a different product or service that offers a better experience for the customer. While businesses are focuses on tweaking their existing product line, customers leave them for the new innovative option.



Takeaway #9. You can predict consumers’ behavior

Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland, Director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and Director of the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program, has pioneered a new field of study: social physics.

Social physics is how ideas are formed, shared and transformed into behaviors. As a result of Big Data, we are able to track behavior for large sects of people. Through his research, Pentland discovered that the patterns of exploration and engagement within societies determine their behaviors and successes.

When people are more engaged, the pattern of idea flows is stronger, the collective intelligence of the group is elevated and better decisions are made. He also found that peer-to-peer interactions influence behavior more than anything. For instance, social networks connect society in a bigger way than ever before. The risk with the social networks in their current forms, he said, is that they are prone to repetition of ideas, which stifles new idea generation and can lead to a decrease in quality of decisions.



Takeaway #10. Your customers will tell you what to work on

Jay Baer, a marketing and customer experience consultant and New York Times best-selling author, shares from his research that there are many opportunities to learn from customer reviews and complaints.

He encourages companies to not only pay attention to their reviews and complaints, but also to develop a process to respond to them.

Customers that take the time to share their issues want:

  • to be heard.
  • a resolution.
  • a promise it will not be repeated.

Companies need to take an empathetic approach to resolving customers’ issues. The resolution can be a simple explanation as to why things are a certain way or an admission of fault.

A response evokes a sense of validation for the customer, but if companies are not careful in how they respond, they risk upsetting the customer further. Customer retention is important, and with reviews and complaints, companies have the opportunity to correct an issue for a larger segment of their consumers who are not voicing their dissatisfaction.


Call for Speakers for MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 — Tell us your story for a chance to win a MarketingSherpa Award and a trip to Summit [deadline June 17, 2016]


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