New Perspectives

The Art of Marketing Conference promised to “provide a clearer understanding of how marketing has changed, what role marketing now plays in the buying decision, its impact on your business, and ultimately how the consumer views and interacts with your brand in a crowded marketplace.” Billed as Canada’s #1 Marketing and Innovation Conference, five internationally renowned bestselling authors – serious thought leaders – shared their cutting edge research and practical thinking yesterday at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

What a treat! I experienced a day of intense, new marketing insights, lending new perspective to even grinding lumber markets. While the day provided enough mental gymnastics for a thousand blog posts, here’s a handful of takeaways:

  • Dr. Robert Cialdini is an expert on the psychology of influence. He cited numerous case studies based on behavioural science to expand upon each of his Six Universal Principles of Social Influence: reciprocation, liking (identifying commonalities), commitment/consistency, scarcity (loss averse), authority (pointing to genuine expertise), and consensus (reducing uncertainty). The notion that “in the old world we compete to win – in the new world we collaborate to win” struck a chord.
  • Author Nir Eyal shared his Hook model to explain the (scary?) psychology behind what drives user/human behaviour and how apps are built to cater to those needs. Behaviour = motivation + ability + trigger. “What do you want the user to do?” asked Eyal. “The more difficult it is to understand the more difficult it is to do. Where’s the trigger? What’s in your user’s way?” And hey, “Just because it doesn’t cost anything doesn’t mean it’s free. There’s a reason they call it “paying attention’,” notes Eyal.
  • Time Magazine considers Martin Lindstrom one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. “We have tons of data but no information,” lamented Lindstrom, while confirming 90% of all the information in the world today was created in the last two years. A self-described “observer”, his presentation included a rapid fire assortment of mostly probability studies in revealing his CLUE to building a brand (Culture, Local, Understand, Engage). Who knew having a lot of fridge magnets at home is a reflection of a strong imbalance in your life?! And thanks to all our electronic devices, “we’re rarely truly present” anymore.
  • Jackie Huba shared her customer loyalty lessons gleaned from Lady Gaga. She suggested companies put too much emphasis on finding new customers. Evidently it’s five times cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new one. And existing customers often find new customers. “Don’t underestimate the power of the one per cent,” advised Huba. The ‘one percenters’ are the advocates aka “highly-engaged superfans who drive word of mouth”. Do you know who your ‘one percenters’ are?” asked Huba. Companies should lead with values, build community, and generate something to talk about. “What is your company selling (beside products)?”
  • Chip Heath is a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He explained how better process leads to better and bolder decisions. Widen your options, reality-test your assumptions, attain some distance, and prepare to be wrong, advised Heath. “Adding distance” with added benefit of clarification through the 10/10/10 rule registered the most. Concluded Heath: “We’ll never be perfect (in our decision making) because the world is full of uncertainty – but we can do better.”

Chip Heath, New York Times Bestselling Author of “Made to Stick”, “Switch”, and “Decisive” (Apr 15)

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