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Commentary & Analysis

How Fogg’s Behavior Model Brings “Simple” Back to Marketing

Are we over-complicating marketing strategy? With so many techniques competing for dominance, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the simple things work, too. This post looks at Fogg’s “behavior model,” which can help your clients keep it simple...and successful.

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: February 14, 2018

Targeting. Personalization. Cross-channel and multichannel. Sales funnels. Lead targeting. Mobile. Social media. Influencer and content marketing. Psychographic targeting, customer profiling, and personas. Does just reading this make you tired? Me, too!

As MSPs, the beauty and challenge of this industry is that it is multifaceted and always evolving. No matter how successful we are, there will always be some new technology, some new technique, some new breakthrough to help us engage, motivate, and move customers toward a purchase. There will always be something new that will help us (and our customers) do it better.

So what’s next? Increasingly, I am reading about the science of behavior. From a marketing perspective, this is about more than having a good list, a great offer, or a powerful CTA. It’s the study of what actually triggers inside a customer or prospect’s brain. Not only do we have to be marketers, but we have to be psychologists and physiologists, too. Is there good news in this? In some cases, could it actually simplify the process rather than steep us in greater complexity? We might be surprised to find the answer is yes.

Target Marketing recently promoted the work of one researcher focusing on the science of behavior, Dr. B. J. Fogg, a social scientist who studies what causes people to buy right now and to pull the trigger at a specific moment. His research centers around three things: motivation (the desire to act), the ability to act, and the trigger to “act now.” According to his “Fogg Behavior Model,” these three things come together in a specific moment to motivate behavior.

So far, this is nothing earthshattering. But here’s what caught my eye: Motivation is the most difficult of the factors to influence, Fogg found, yet this is where marketers traditionally spend most of their effort. To get more out of their marketing dollars, Fogg suggests, why not focus on the other two factors—those that are easier to influence—instead? In a world fraught with complexity, the simplicity of the idea is powerful.

For example, you could encourage your clients to focus on things like...

  1. Identifying people who have already passed the motivation threshold.

Since motivation is the hardest factor to control, why not start by finding people who have already passed this barrier? These might be people who have already visited your client’s website, downloaded a white paper, or attended a seminar. Through tracking and retargeting, you can identify those who have already shown the motivation to learn about or invest in the type of product or service your client offers.

  1. Making sure they have the ability to act.

Next, make sure your target audience has the ability to make the purchase in the first place. This starts with targeting the right people (for example, those who have the power to make the purchase decision and who have the sufficient budget to do so), so you aren’t targeting mailing, emailing, or otherwise targeting people with barriers to taking action. The concept here is slightly different than traditional demographic targeting.

  1. Making sure the path is clear.

Next, ensure that the purchase path is smooth as possible. Remove any potential barriers. This includes making sure people are presented with the channels and purchase methods they are most comfortable with, making any cross-channel migration as consistent and seamless as possible, then and ensuring that the navigation on the e-commerce site is simple and intuitive.

  1. ID-ing the right trigger.

Once you have ensured that the recipient has the ability to purchase and the path to purchase is as seamless as possible, you can focus on the triggers that will get them to respond right away.

In an increasingly complex marketing environment in which there is a lot we cannot control, it’s comforting to be told that there are some things that we can. Target people who have already shown interest in the category. Make sure they have the ability to make the purchase. Then provide a trigger that they can act on. These things—surprisingly simple things, when you think about it—can also get results.

Maybe sometimes we’ve been making things too complicated.

 

 

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”

 

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