Is Your Marketing Scientifically Proven?

English: photo Dr. Robert Cialdini

No matter how interesting, creative or memorable your marketing campaigns, collateral and pieces are, at the end of the day the only thing that really counts is effectiveness.

So how do you deal with an ad agency that puts stunning concepts in front of you, yet continually fails to produce results that grow your business?

Invoke The Scientific Process

While marketing and advertising does not evoke thoughts of scientific experiments, it actually should. Claude Hopkins wrote one of the greatest books ever written on marketing and advertising.  Its name — Scientific Advertising.

Along these lines, Dr. Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, is well-known for his landmark book and NY Times Bestseller, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.  The book explores the six weapons of influence, or principles, that he discovered through experimental studies.

Six Weapons of Influence

1) Reciprocity — We’re conditioned to have a sense of obligation towards those who give us something, even a small token. Whether we give back attention, return a favor or something else, it is fairly universal that we feel a need to reciprocate when we receive something.

This principle explains why small giveaways, holiday gifts and promotional items work really well to open up the door with a prospect that had been ignoring your calls or emails.

2) Commitment & Consistency — Let’s face it, we’re all creatures of habit. Along with this, human beings seek to be a consistent representation of how we want to be perceived.

So getting a small commitment, such as a verbal agreement to an idea or meeting, can go a long way when it comes time to actually make the meeting or begin implementation of the idea. Furthermore, this principle is a major factor in the reason that it’s much easier to cross-sell and upsell to existing customers than it is to acquire new customers… deliver what’s expected when it’s expected to your customers and they tend to stay loyal and committed.

3) Social Proof — “Everybody’s doing it!” I touched on this a bit in a prior post on event marketing. This one basically boils down to the concept that people will do what they see other people doing.

This comes down to relatability and validation. We feel validated when we see others doing what we’re going to do. Or, we want to be part of a cause or community that someone like us, or someone we want to be like, is involved in. Unfortunately, this principle has no regard for taste, quality etc… as evidenced by phenomena such as Justin Bieber.

This principle also plays a huge role in social media.  Would you be more likely to “Like” a page on Facebook if the page had 27 “Likes” or 2,700? Enter social proof.

4) Liking — It’s no surprise that successful politicians usually “seem like a nice person.” We’re more likely to be influenced by people we like, and tend to be quick to disagree with people we dislike.

Be kind, be cool, be positive and run your marketing campaigns accordingly.

5) Authority4 out of 5 dentists agree… That’s a play off of authority. We feel a sense of trust and obligation to those in positions of authority. This is why leveraging titles, awards and recognition can be very powerful in your messaging.

6) Scarcity If you act now… There are only 12 copies left… Doors close tonight at midnight… Get the idea?

We hate the idea of missing out on something potentially good. That’s why there’s power in calling attention to the window of opportunity.

The late Michael Jackson built his final tour concept on this principle. “THIS IS IT!” subliminally read: Miss Michael now and you’ll never have the chance to see him live.  Sadly, no one had a chance to see the tour, but had he lived they certainly would have sold out the O2 arena, night after night.

Does Your Marketing Pass?

Use these principles as a checklist and ask yourself if your marketing is leveraging any of these weapons of influence. And, for even more potent marketing, stack on as many of the principles as possible — this is a brilliant trick of master marketers.