Consumer Behavior

Why do we do this crazy little thing called marketing?  Behavior. Specifically sales-driven behavior and it’s not a crime to admit that. To be really good at influencing consumer behavior, you must first understand it (…grasshopper).  First question, why do all human people do anything?

Desire. (Feel free to pause and go listen to U2’s Desire with those sweet, sweet toms and driving beat.) Ok, back to business. People from the youngest of ages want things. Immediate things like a Whopperito (yes, a Whopper and burrito combined – thank you marketing) or long-term things like education, love, security and peace. Now, we are not always completely in touch with the parts of our brain that want things to ask it why and ponder, etc. We just want them. Yep, we’re simple creatures like that.

Do you want to know how many marketing approaches I see being used that don’t even approach a deeply resonating emotional brand message that plays to human desire? Far. Too. Many.

With that in mind, here are a few consumer behavior tips for you:

  1. Make your marketing messages (about your stuff) lock into the audience’s true desires (their stuff) — get emotional with that brand because Lord knows they are.
  2. Understand that you can’t always predict human behavior — We still have the ability to surprise scientists and ourselves and no one really understands why.  But you can still be closer than not taking it into account at all.
  3. Remember that too many choices stop the action  — We’ve all been there. If it gets too complicated or too many choices are involved we shut down like that girl when she learned you still live at home. Possibly faster. Study this area and don’t bombard people with too much.
  4. Invoking urgency can be effective but it can also backfire and make the brand seem too needy.  Do we need to do the dating analogy again?  Who gets the girl?  That’s right.
  5. Play the devil’s advocate — None of us like to be “sold” and you can be sure the objections in their minds are piling up like a car crash on the show CHiPs from the 1970’s. So beat them to it and deal with the objections in your messaging. People have been known to sell themselves, so just let them.

You see, behind the tactics — the advertising, press releases, promotions, social media channels, podcasts, white papers, viral videos, speaking opportunities and everything else — there’s a behavior that we’re looking to drive.

Yes, there are always steps (awareness, consideration, preference) to getting there, but make no mistake that behavior is the most important goal and “the why” behind everything we do for our organizations and clients. So do it right and do it well. And always respect and trust your audience’s ability to find the behavior you’re looking for in your brand as long as you’ve made that easy for them.