March 13th, 2011

5 Consumer Behavior Secrets You Can Use to Grow Sales and Revenue

Not long ago, Baylor University conducted a blind taste test between Coke and Pepsi. They took 100 people, gave them unlabeled samples of Coke and Pepsi and asked them to choose which one they preferred.

Interestingly, the participants in the study were split 50/50. Half the room chose Coke and half the room chose Pepsi.

A short while later, the researchers asked the same group to again choose which soft drink they liked better — only this time, the drinks had their labels on them. In other words, the participants knew when they were drinking Coke and when they were drinking Pepsi.

Amazingly, 80% of the participants said they preferred Coca-Cola.

Why would that happen? Why, when a blind study indicated that the room was split 50/50, would the same group of people choose Coke 80% of the time in a non-blind test?

The answer is, of course, that Coca-Cola is a more powerful brand than Pepsi. In fact, if you think of the words you most associate with Coke, you’d come up with things like Polar Bears, Mean Joe Green and Santa Clause. If you think of words you associate with Pepsi, you’d come up with things like Michael Jackson, Madonna and Britney Spears.

Coke = Santa Clause

Pepsi = Michael Jackson

Who do you think people are going to gravitate to? Santa Clause? Or Michael Jackson?

How This Story Relates to You

The story above illustrates a key point about marketing — consumers often choose products for reasons that even they are not totally aware of. For example, people don’t buy Porsches for the German engineering, they buy them because they make the owner feel young and sexy. But if you asked a new Porsche owner why they bought the car, “German Engineering” would come up 20 times more often than “Because it makes me feel sexy.”

Consumer behavior is an odd thing. But if you can wrap your mind around it, it can be a very powerful tool for you to use to grow your sales and revenue.

With that in mind, I’ve included a short, 60-second video below called “5 Consumer Behavior Secrets You Can Use to Grow Your Sales and Revenue.” It includes 5 different tips you can use to help you get your target market to buy more of your stuff.

And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Enjoy.

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Posted by Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response. Jamie is also the co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media.

September 30th, 2010

New Consumer Behavior Secrets Proven to Grow Your Business

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to give a speech to the American Marketing Association’s Marketing Research Conference. My friends Mike Brown with Brainzooming and Sherrie Binke with Infogroup/ORC did a wonderful job attracting top speakers from around the globe for their event. I was fascinated by some of the excellent information shared by some of the best and brightest minds in marketing.

My topic was called “Why Your Brain Buys Stuff it Doesn’t Need” and it was based on two terrific books: How Customers Think by Gerald Zaltman and The Buying Brain by Dr. A. K. Pradeep.

I provided 12 consumer behavior insights during the speech. I’m sharing 7 of them here — the others will be included in upcoming posts. Please feel free to add your own ideas to the list in the comments section:

Secret #1: Novelty is the single most effective factor in capturing our brain’s precious attention. Humans want to buy your products and services. And the way to get them to do that is to point out what makes your product new and different. When people see something new, they’re curious. And if they like what they see, they purchase it. How are you making your product or service seem new and different? That could be the key to your future success.

The female brain is structured to deal with many different issues at once. The much simpler male brain is structured to deal with only 3 issues -- Is the game on? Is the beer cold? Am I going to have sex tonight?

Secret #2: The female brain has 25% more connections between the right and left hemispheres than the male brain. Because of this, women are much better than men at communication and multitasking. As you can see from the graphic on this page, men’s brains are not as complex as women’s, which explains why men are only capable of holding three thoughts in their brain — Is the game on? Is the beer cold? Am I going to have sex tonight?

Secret #3: Humans often don’t know why they prefer one brand over another. We have a great article about this on the site called “Coke vs. Pepsi. The Taste Test they Don’t Want You to Know About.” The article discusses why Coke beat Pepsi in a small non-blind taste test a few years ago but came out Even-Steven in a blind taste test to the same group. Interesting, eh? For more details, check out the article on the site.

Secret #4: People buy for emotional reasons then rationalize their purchase with logic. Here’s a fact — men don’t buy Porsches for logical reasons, they buy them to make up for some sort of shortcoming. But if you interview them after their purchase, they’re able to rationalize their purchase in very logical terms. If you’re smart (which you are), you’ll use this secret to help you uncover the emotional triggers that get people to buy your product or service.

Secret #5: Different parts of the brain control different stimuli responses. Our instincts are controlled by the Subcortical and Limbic areas, also known as our Lizard Brain. The Lizard Brain responds to stimuli based on the 4 Fs — Fight, Flight, Food and Procreation. By appealing to the Lizard Brain, you can create an emotional bond between your consumer and your brand.

Secret #6: Data indicates that humans respond best to 13 specific words in advertising. This data is based on years and years of testing by direct response agencies like BKV. The words are (drumroll, please) Free, You, Save, Money, Easy, Guarantee, Health, Results, New, Love, Discovery, Proven, Safety. You’ll notice I used 3 of them in the headline of this article. Did they draw you in?

Secret #7: We take in 11 million bits of information per second, but the brain can only process 40 bits per second. Essentially, what this means is that the brain is on over-load much of the time. If you want to stick out in the crowd, simplify. It’s what Steve Jobs does and, hey, he’s a billionaire.

As mentioned, there are 12 secrets that are part of this presentation. I’ll be expanding on the others in the future. Alternatively, perhaps you can catch me around the country on my upcoming speaking tour promoting my new book, “How to Make Money with Social Media.”

Posted by Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response.