To Get Results, Woo the Gator Brain

Going before a judge for parole? Your chances of getting what you want will increase if the judge has a full stomach, according to a study done in Israel. No matter how much we’d like to think we make decisions based on critical, rational thinking, it’s often – more often than we’d like to think – based on our gator brain, the reactive, emotional aspect of our thinking which is a remnant of our reptilian heritage. How we can woo the gator (as in alligator) brain was the subject of Yale Professor Zoe Chance’s keynote at the recent LMA conference.

To capture this part of the mind, we need to focus on three things. First is ease: You have to make it easy for people to do business with you; make it easy for them to say “yes.”  Think about how you can eliminate obstacles, and recognize that it’s not just about price.  Amazon isn’t the cheapest around; it’s just the easiest around. And keep humor in mind, as humor is great way to get past resistance.

Attention is also important in terms of wooing the gator brain. No matter what we say about multitasking, the gator brain can really only focus on one thing at a time. How you capture attention at the moment of decision-making is critical. Consider the “when” – when is somebody going to be making a decision about using my service – and grab their attention at that time.

Implementation questions are also important and engender commitment.  Zoe used the example of exercising and how implementation increased when people were asked questions, such as “When will you exercise?” “Where will you exercise?” and most importantly, “What will you do if you an encounter an obstacle to getting it done?”

Lastly, to get the emotional brain’s attention you need to foster trust. Not only do you need to build trust, you need to understand how not to lose it and how to fix it if you do. Study after study shows that clients and customers can become even more loyal after an “oopsie,” if you implement a strong save. In addition, an important question to ask is, “What would it take…What would it take for you to switch providers?” This empowers the prospect, which can shed a positive light on you and your service.

VR for Marketing: Keep Your Finger on the Pulse

There’s so much buzz around the world of virtual reality (VR), and industries such as hospitality, tourism, real estate, entertainment and sports are beginning to adopt this immersive video to grow their customer base and even recruit new talent. Major brands like IKEA, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are already utilizing the medium, but it’s key to understand when the right time is for your brand to jump on the bandwagon.

The technology needed to create VR experiences – headsets and cameras to produce content – is evolving and becoming more accessible thanks to Google Cardboard and VR apps, but it’s still a long way from widespread adoption. The IKEAs and McDonalds of the world have the resources and user base to make their foray into VR a success, but for smaller companies VR at this stage might only provide the ‘cool’ factor.

As a marketer, you should harness the tools and technology that make the most sense for the industries you serve, and can provide the ROI you’re looking for, but do your homework before dropping some cash on the technology. Most marketers don’t need to worry about jumping on the bandwagon just yet since the technology can be expensive and the content is limited, creating two big hurdles that are a challenge to overcome.

The good news is that it’s still early in the game for VR, and it would behoove you and your brand to keep your finger on the pulse of the evolving VR landscape, technology and content, preparing you to move into VR seamlessly, and when the timing is right.

So, when do you know the timing is right?

  • When your brand is trying to ‘sell’ a tangible experience – there’s no better way than to show your customer base, and creating 360 degree video would make the most sense.
  • Showcasing a product experience – if you’re trying to show customers that your product is better than a competitor’s, showing the user experience in VR elicits more emotions.
  • When you need to educate the consumer – when you want to tout how something is made or the story behind a product, VR can create a dimensional experience, and consumers love a good story, especially if it’s visually appealing or pulls at the heartstrings.
  • Meaningful events and experiences – if you want to convey how spectacular your events are, VR can make the consumer feel as if they are actually there and can create a powerful emotional experience.

Don’t utilize VR just because you can and everyone else is doing it; use VR for certain experiences that require consumers to connect with the brand and that evoke emotion. You’ll get the most bang for your buck.





10 Quick and Timeless Digital Marketing Tips

Let’s face it: creating and maintaining an effective digital marketing strategy is hard. It’s mostly because the digital landscape is always changing. New trends, social media platforms and viral campaigns are popping up all the time, and it can be difficult to know where your business fits in, which trends to jump on and which ones to skip.

However, now that digital has secured a permanent place in every marketing plan, there are some common digital marketing concepts that have proven to be useful no matter what hashtag is trending. Here’s 10 of them courtesy of Convince & Convert:

  1. Have a plan and a reasoning behind it. Set short- and long-term goals, measure progress and results, and make adjustments when necessary.
  1. Don’t be a social media micromanager. Keep social media guidelines short and give the people posting some creative freedom.
  1. Use video, but use it mindfully. Be aware of your followers’ time and attention spans.
  1. Have a purpose. Provide some sort of benefit to your followers and readers, whether it’s valuable information, humor or inspiration.
  1. Don’t force it. Jump into the conversation when it feels natural, and allow clients and followers to decide how they want to interact with you online.
  1. Put social media in the budget. Yes, technically social media is free—but you should be paying someone to manage your accounts effectively.
  1. Know what your clients think of you. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to research the terms and phrases they’re using to talk about you online.
  1. Offer value on your blog and across all your digital platforms. Explain how your services make your clients’ lives better, and use real-world examples.
  1. Take chances methodically. Don’t shoot down any out-of-the-box ideas immediately—just test them first before committing.
  1. Remember that you’re a human being, not a marketing robot. Interact with your followers accordingly.

Not Sure What Your PR Team Does? Here Are Five Things to Know

According to the Public Relations Society of America, the official definition of public relations is, “a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”. If that doesn’t mean much to you, you’re not alone. PR professionals often joke that we have no idea how to explain what we do to our friends and family.

PR is a vital but often misunderstood promotional tactic, which boils down to “persuading an audience”. If you’re considering hiring a PR firm but you’re not sure if it’s worth it, or if you already have a PR team but don’t know what they actually do all day, here are five basics to know.

  1. Public relations isn’t advertising.

If you’re looking for a magazine ad, a radio jingle or a TV commercial, at most PR firms you’d be out of luck. All of that falls under advertising. Instead, PR is centered around “earned media”; the process of developing an interesting story and convincing reporters to cover it without paying for the exposure. As consumers grow more skeptical of traditional advertising, earned media plays an important role in your marketing mix because it’s verified by the media and, therefore, more trusted by consumers. Plus, PR is typically much less expensive than paid advertising.

  1. PR professionals have many tools at their disposal.

If we’re to believe movies and TV shows, PR professionals must spend their time schmoozing with celebrities and planning parties, right? While there are some PR pros who might spent some of their time doing those things, the vast majority of PR jobs are much broader (and much less glamourous). In a typical day, a PR pro might write a press release, conduct research, develop a blog post, reach out to reporters or create a social media strategy; ultimately with the goal of generating positive publicity for clients.

  1. PR relies on the media.

Earning media coverage is the cornerstone of PR. And according to public relations pro Robert Wynne, the only two ways to make it into the news are to create a story or follow a story. No matter how much you beg, plead or bargain with a reporter, in the end it’s up to them (and their editor) if they want to write about you. So when your PR team shoots down your story idea or says that making the cover of the New York Times is a little too lofty of a goal, it’s nothing personal. It’s actually a good thing; it means that your PR rep understands what kind of stories pique reporters’ interest and successfully make the news cycle.

  1. PR isn’t just social media.

While social media can play an important role in PR, it’s not going to replace traditional media anytime soon. Your PR team can help you develop a social media strategy and manage your online presence; however, it shouldn’t be their only focus. Instead, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram should be used to enhance other PR activities and expand the reach of media coverage.

  1. PR is measurable (even if it’s not perfect).

Most CEOs don’t have the time to understand the nitty gritty of what their PR team does, and that’s O.K.; so long as the results are measurable and positive. While measuring the impact of PR can be tricky, it is possible. And it certainly doesn’t mean that businesses should skip PR in favor of marketing tactics that are easier to track. Measuring something intangible like positive sentiment will never translate into numbers easily. However, you can get a good idea through press clips, media impressions, surveys, website traffic and social media mentions.

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