Successful marketing of products and services requires understanding of what our needs are, how we perceive and process information and how we decide and act. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?
Still the world around us is full of products and services which do not have the desired effects. The designers apparently failed to predict the impact of their interventions correctly.
Unexpected effects of innovations
Did you know for instance that escalators were originally designed to maximize capacity and speed of commuters moving up and down, but actually slow down this speed and decrease capacity?
And have you heard that seat belts and saver roads unconsciously encourage unsafe driving?
How about innovative energy saving equipment, which leads to the increase of usage, in the end resulting in higher energy spending? This is called the re-bound effect. People apparently figure: if this equipment only uses a fraction of the energy, why not leave it on all the time or use lots of equipment at the same time?
This list goes on and on. The good news is that it can be shortened by taking psychological principles into account during design and marketing of products and services. There are great examples abound of wonderful inventions and great interventions which have amazing impact.
Using psychological principles is effective
Take for instance Mobility Mentoring: a successful programme to help people with financial debt. Stress reduction and positive reinforcement are key pillars. This programme is so powerful, governments around the globe start to use it. Finally, they replace the ineffective interventions which they used for decades.
Also in the Netherlands self-reliance and taking one’s own responsibility were mistakenly put at the core of programmes aimed at helping victims of debt. Brain research however showed -not surprisingly if you think about it- that these victims are under great stress.
Guess which mental capability is completely switched of under stress? Planning!
So step number one, if you want to help people suffering from financial debt, is to reduce stress. All else will fail. Once you recognize this, it’s obvious. Like our famous Dutch soccer player the late Johan Cruyff said: ‘You can only see it, after you know it’.
Using psychology makes marketing and communication way more effective. Not only for comprehensive programmes like Mobility Mentoring but also for all the details which make up an experience.
- If you offer people a warm drink when you meet them for the first time, they will perceive you as more sympathetic than when you offer them a cold one.
- If your clients sit in a soft chair, they will be more willing to meet your needs than when they sit in a hard chair.
- If a waiter draws a smiley on the bill, tips increase by twenty percent. The same happens when they offer a few mints with the bill (principle of reciprocity).
- And if you tell a personal story about an individual person needing help when asking for donations, people will donate much more than when you tell them the facts about large groups who are suffering. It’s sad, but it’s true.
So how can I help to improve?
I assist teams in several ways. I can teach your team via a presentation, a workshop or a training. I coach and consult teams working on a project. And I conduct research to understand behaviour and context. This is the foundation for the design of effective strategies. Contact me if you want to explore opportunities for collaboration.