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Putting People First

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Posts in category 'Marketing'

26 March 2012

Desire engines

screen-shot-2012-03-25-at-5-36-09-pm

Nir Eyal’s third Techcrunch article on behavioural engineering, delves into the topic of “desire engines”.

“Desire engines go beyond reinforcing behavior; they create habits, spurring users to act on their own, without the need for expensive external stimuli like advertising. Desire engines are at the heart of many of today’s most habit-forming technologies. Social media, online games, and even good ol’ email utilize desire engines to compel us to use them.

At the heart of the desire engine is a powerful cognitive quirk described by B.F. Skinner in the 1950s, called a variable schedule of rewards. Skinner observed that lab mice responded most voraciously to random rewards. The mice would press a lever and sometimes they’d get a small treat, other times a large treat, and other times nothing at all. Unlike the mice that received the same treat every time, the mice that received variable rewards seemed to press the lever compulsively.

Humans, like the mice in Skinner’s box, crave predictability and struggle to find patterns, even when none exist. Variability is the brain’s cognitive nemesis and our minds make deduction of cause and effect a priority over other functions like self-control and moderation.”

Read article

22 December 2011

What makes a brand experience great?

hershey

Brian Thomas Collins has made a career out of creating brand experiences, “a few of them great”. He writes:

“A good brand experience is when a brand does what we expect of it. A great brand experience is something we tell someone else about. In short, a great brand experience is a story, in which the brand user – not the brand – is the hero. A great brand experience is direct and transformative. It’s not a stunt or a fantasy. It’s not a campaign. It’s not the idea of something. It is something, something worth writing home about – or at least texting a friend. Brand awareness and engaged consumers are happy by-products, but not the point. The test for a great brand experience is result. Something new created. Something changed. A bell that can’t be un-rung.”

In an effort to make more of them great, he used eight principles.

Read article

28 August 2011

What marketing executives should know about user experience

Cycle
A strong experience strategy, derived from qualitative user research and experience workshops, can bring a collected vision to your organization and not only identify the true value of your products but help you transform the way your company does business, argues Nick Myers on the Cooper blog.

“Like it or not, the digital world has changed at a wicked pace, and more and more interactions between companies and their customers now happen via an interface. Software serves us everywhere, and the user experience now shapes these interactions every day. At the center of all this change sits the brand. TV and print advertising now regularly feature digital experiences from the likes of Apple, Google, Toyota, GE, and Amazon. The visual interface has become the new face of your brand. […]

The question has become: How can marketers connect customers and brands in the digital era, and direct their organizations to guide products that inspire lasting engagement?”

Read article

6 August 2011

Insights from Research Magazine

Sofa
Four interesting articles in Research Magazine, a UK industry magazine.

This month we… browsed a virtual supermarket
Robert Bain explores a simulated supermarket used to research products and store designs.

Behind the sofa
Simon Lidington thinks researchers have forgotten the art of conversation. Turns out all you need is a sofa, a video camera and some cool interactive transcript technology to get people talking.

Slow down! You move too fast
Attempts to curb speeding on the roads usually involve a mix of scary messages and the threat of fines or driving bans. But behavioural economics is starting to be applied to this social issue in creative ways, says Crawford Hollingworth.

Mobile research: No time like the present
Jay Pluhar of research software and services provider MarketTools says that when it comes to adopting mobile research techniques, fortune will favour the brave.

15 March 2011

Tough Sell: Selling User Experience

 
Misha W. Vaughan, architect of applications user experience at Oracle USA, reflects in this interesting, small article for the February 2011 issue of the Journal of Usability Studies on the challenges explaining the value of user experience to the Oracle sales organisation.

Read article

2 December 2010

UX efforts in a context of retail and marketing

UX Magazine
Two new articles in UX Magazine:

Crafting the UX of REI’s retail experience
by Samantha Starmer
Video interview (with text transcript) on the strategy, techniques and thinking behind translating REI‘s warm, hand-crafted in-store experiences into the digital space.

Customer Experience Nirvana: How UX and marketing are set to increasingly collaborate
by David Moskovic
Article examines how UX and marketing can collaborate to manage digital touchpoints and to build the next generation of customer engagement.

20 November 2010

Peter Merholz on advertising and marketing agencies delivering UX design

Peter Merholz
Peter Merholz, president of Adaptive Path, has written a long and eloquent rant against advertising and marketing agencies proclaiming to do user experience design.

These agencies, he says, do not come at user experience from an honest place. “Ad agencies, in particular, are soulless holes, the precepts of whose business runs wholly contrary to good user experience practice.”

Read article (and make sure to also read the more than 70 comments so far)

5 November 2010

Content Strategy: no longer just the preserve of the web professional

Content strategy
Jeremy Baldwin, company director at Bright Blue Day, a full-service design and marketing agency in Dorset, UK, argues that we should stop talking about content strategy as if it only applies to the web design professional. The impact of content and user experience go far wider and should be at the heart of everyday marketing practice.

“We see that content strategy goes beyond just the preserve of the digital specialist. We need to call on the insight into consumer behaviour brought by the ‘traditional’ planner; the detailed understanding of connection and effect, through data; the appreciation of consumer mental models and demands through search; and the subtleties of the social specialist to build a framework for interaction.”

Read article

21 August 2010

Designing for the loss of control

Simpsons angry mob
The people at frogdesign have posted two long articles (the first one is really an essay) that we consider a recommended read:

Openness or how do you design for the loss of control?
Openness is the mega-trend for innovation in the 21st century, and it remains the topic du jour for businesses of all kinds. However, as several new books elaborate upon the concept from different perspectives, and a growing number of organizations have recently launched ambitious initiatives to expand the paradigm to other areas of business, Tim Leberecht thought it might be a good time to reframe “Open” from a design point of view.

100,000 Twitter followers and why it matters
@frogdesign passed the 100K Twitter mark recently. […] Sometimes, [Sam Martin and his] marketing team are asked both inside and outside the company, “How are you doing this?” [They] even still get the question, “Why are you doing this?” They are necessary questions, and, of course, it’s not possible to point to one thing or effort or measurement when talking about either. Based on [their] experience over the past year, here are a few thoughts on the matter.

The following quote could also be the motto of this Putting People First blog: “Twitter is a reminder of the responsibility we have to be thoughtful curators of relevant news, trends, and debates, even when those debates involve our competitors.”

Great work, froggers!

21 August 2010

Finding happiness while spending less

Happiness
Stephanie Rosenbloom writes in the New York Times on what will make us happy.

“The practices that consumers have adopted in response to the economic crisis ultimately could — as a raft of new research suggests — make them happier. New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses.

If consumers end up sticking with their newfound spending habits, some tactics that retailers and marketers began deploying during the recession could become lasting business strategies. Among those strategies are proffering merchandise that makes being at home more entertaining and trying to make consumers feel special by giving them access to exclusive events and more personal customer service.”

Read article

25 April 2010

Dan Ariely on predicting the irrational

Dan Ariely
Tom H. C. Anderson, founder and managing partner of Anderson Analytics, discuss the book “Predictably Irrational” and the field of market research with behavioural economist Dan Ariely.

Dan is also professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University Fuqua School of Business and visiting professor MIT The Media Laboratory.

“If the decision environment plays a big role in what people end up choosing, it’s important to model or represent the decision environment. To the extent that conjoint analysis correctly represents decision environments that people use when making particular decisions (when people consider different computers they look at the whole profile: resolution, memory, hard drive space) then it’s a good method. But to the extent that it uses different decision-making processes then it’s not accurate and can actually be misleading.”

Read interview

1 December 2009

Our misguided focus on brand and user experience

Branded UX
If there is a future for designers and marketers in big business, it lies not in brand, nor in “UX”, nor in any colorful way of framing total control over a consumer, such as “brand equity”, “brand loyalty”, the “end to end customer journey”, or “experience ownership”. It lies instead in encouraging behavioral change and explicitly shaping culture in a positive and lasting way, argues Jon Kolko in a long piece on Johnny Holland.

“The focus on brand and control of the user experience is an attempt to avoid the above commoditization and irrelevance of artifact, and it references a dated model of dominance – one where a company produces something for a person to consume. This is the McDonalds approach to production, where an authoritative voice prescribes something and then gains efficiencies by producing it exactly as prescribed, in mass. The supposed new model is to design something for a person to experience, yet the allusion to experience is only an empty gesture. An experience cannot be built for someone. Fundamentally, one has an experience, and that is experience is always unique.

Interaction design is the design of behavior, positioned as dialogue between a person and an artifact. A person commonly doesn’t talk to an object; they use it, touch it, manipulate it, and control it. Usage, touching, manipulation and control are all dialogical acts, unspoken but conversational.”

Jon Kolko is an Associate Creative Director at frog design. He has worked extensively in the professional world of interaction design solving the problems of Fortune 500 clients. Prior to working at frog, Kolko was a Professor of Interaction and Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, sits on the Board of Directors for the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of interactions magazine, published by the ACM. Kolko is the author of Thoughts on Interaction Design, published by Morgan Kaufmann, and the forthcoming text tentatively entitled Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis, to be published by Oxford University Press.

Read full story

3 November 2009

The Times’ Innovation Portfolio

Bubbles
The New York Times interactive group creates an online encyclopedia of all their stunning inventions, reports Cliff Kuang on Fast Company.

“The Times interactive team has been creating path-breaking experiments in infographics and interaction design. All of which are now collected in its terrific new Innovation Portfolio.

The pieces called out on the site–each of which is represented by a bubble–range from infographics of public sentiment (“What on word describes your mood”) to ultra-polished interactive features, which elegantly summarize massive feature stories.”

And apparently, the site was designed to inspire conversations about how to apply immersive storytelling techniques to… the advertising process.

Read full story

24 September 2009

O2 launches “people powered” network

giffgaff
O2 is launching a new mobile phone network which it has dubbed as the first “people powered” service in the sector, reports mad.co.uk.

“The online SIM-only offer called giffgaff will aim to capitalise on the trend towards online content creation. The company says the more a customer gets involved, the more they will be rewarded with cheaper calls and texts.

For instance, members will be rewarded for referring the service to a friend or relative, creating user-generated marketing, or voting on business decisions.”

Read full story

(via textually.org)

27 July 2009

Conceptual consumption

Consumed
An article in the New York Times Magazine brought me to an interesting article by behavioural economist Daniel Ariely, who has been featured previously on this blog:

“Anybody who is honest about consumer behavior knows that often what we buy is not simply some thing but some idea that is embodied by that thing. “Conceptual consumption” is the name given to this practice in a recent paper with that title by Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University (and author of the book “Predictably Irrational”), and Michael Norton, an assistant professor of marketing at the Harvard Business School, in The Annual Review of Psychology. Their notion has various subsets, one of which is the consumption of goals.”

Conceptual Consumption
by Dan Ariely (Duke University) and Michael I. Norton (Harvard Business School)
Annual Review of Psychology 2009. 60:475–99

Abstract
As technology has simplified meeting basic needs, humans have cultivated increasingly psychological avenues for occupying their consumption energies, moving from consuming food to consuming concepts; we propose that consideration of such “conceptual consumption” is essential for understanding human consumption. We first review how four classes of conceptual consumption—consuming expectancies, goals, fluency, and regulatory fit—impact physical consumption. Next, we benchmark the power of conceptual consumption against physical consumption, reviewing research in which people forgo positive physical consumption—and even choose negative physical consumption–in order to engage in conceptual consumption. Finally, we outline how conceptual consumption informs research examining both preference formation and virtual consumption, and how it may be used to augment efforts to enhance consumer welfare.”

A shorter article on the same theme and by the same authors can be found on the Harvard Business Review.

5 April 2009

Debunking myths about customer needs

Debunking myths about customer needs
Marketing Management is a bi-monthly strategic marketing magazine published by the American Marketing Association.

The Jan-Feb issue contained a very strong piece by Lance A. Bettencourt on giving customers the proper role in the innovation process by forming correct beliefs about their needs.

“Vague, solution-tainted requirement statements have led practitioners and academics alike to believe several myths about the nature of customer needs. Based on our experiences with companies across a variety of industries, my colleagues and I have identified five myths that have a particularly pernicious effect. Like all myths, they have a basis in reality, but their unquestioned acceptance as truth is leading many companies astray—leading to wasted resources, disjointed innovation executions, missed growth opportunities, and product concepts that miss the mark with customers. It’s time to expose each myth and reestablish a proper valuation of customer needs in the strategy and innovation process.”

Read full story (pdf)

(via Ralf Beuker)

15 December 2008

Grounding the American Dream

Grounding the American Dream
Context-Based Research Group and Carton Donofrio Partners have conducted a joint study on the future of consumerism in a changing economy and conclude that a new “grounded consumer” is emerging from the ashes of the economic meltdown.

Press release

Context-Based Research Group, an ethnographic research firm with a global network of consumer anthropologists, and Carton Donofrio Partners, a marketing firm in the Mid-Atlantic, today unveiled key findings from their research report, entitled, “Grounding the American Dream: A Cultural Study on the Future of Consumerism in a Changing Economy.” The study portrays a society weathering the early stages of a traumatic event, maps the changing consumer landscape, and provides insight into the transition while detailing business implications.

Based on ethnographic research conducted in October and November in New York City; Baltimore; Miami; San Antonio, Texas; and Lexington, Kentucky, the team identified a five-stage process consumers are undergoing as they struggle through a major cultural transformation. The process explains how they’re coping and rebuilding their lives amidst the faltering “American Dream.” The team then developed a business brief offering suggestions for companies in various industries working to navigate this new terrain.

- Read press release
Download report

30 September 2008

The marketing view of user-centred design

Darts
User-centred design becomes user-driven innovation when you are dealing with businesses in Central and Northern Europe, and customer-centric marketing when you deal with people working in marketing and branding.

Yet these concepts are not at all the same, and share only superficial similarities.

Case in point is this article from Marketing Daily. Some excerpts:

Combining [qualitative and ethnographic] research, data analytics and sales engagement is a proven approach to building actionable personae that informs hyper-targeting and hyper-messaging for optimal campaign results. […]

The best marketers listen to what audiences think and feel about the brand’s products and services. Smart brands collect and use this learning to build brand promises that are both different from competitors and optimally relevant to the customers they want to attract. […]

A radically customer-centric approach helps identify the likely highest yielding channels through better understanding how customers collect information about competitive products and services. […]

The best technology marketers understand that radical customer-centricity results in more efficient, effective, revenue-generating marketing campaigns.

It is a distressing article that doesn’t contain a word about the value of the products and services themselves.

Frankly I am appalled that this old and dated premise – first you develop a product, then you market it – is still so much alive.

User-centred design is just about the opposite: first you understand the “market”, then you develop the product or service based on this understanding. If you do it that way, the actual “marketing” becomes a piece of cake, as products and services are conceived from end-user needs to begin with.

UPDATE: Apparently, I started a controversy.

18 September 2008

Book: Whiff! The revolution of scent communication in the information age

Whiff
Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age
by C. Russell Brumfield
Quimby Press, Hardcover, June 2008

Secretly, scores of Fortune 500 companies, like Proctor & Gamble, Disney, Bloomingdales, Lexus, Reebok, Sony, Samsung, and Starwood Hotels, have been using aroma to bypass their competition.

These cutting edge companies are using scent research to trigger and enhance customers’ emotions, perceptions, and brand loyalty, resulting in increased sales and satisfied customers.

Whiff! conveniently pulls back the veil for the rest of the $3.9 trillion U.S retail marketing trade, so that innovative small and mid-sized businesses can share the advantage of the big boys.

Yet this is only the beginning stage of the scent revolution. This global wave is changing how branding and marketing experts communicate with their customers at every level across every industry.

Whiff! reveals how exciting new scent discoveries are being applied to safety, security, healthcare, navigation, diagnostics, product design, and even on the battlefield. With a comprehensive overview of this global phenomenon, Brumfield and his team offer up a breath-taking whiff of the future.

- Amazon page
Book review on Neuroscience Marketing

(via FutureLab)

16 July 2008

Consumers use products as they see fit

Products
Consumers have always used — or misused — products however they see fit. Adweek reports on why some companies now follow the lead of consumers who have their own ideas about product usage.

“Consumers have always used — or misused — products however they see fit. And they’ve always shared their discoveries (that Hellmann’s mayonnaise, say, works as a hair conditioner), albeit in limited ways. But when it comes to products these days, the ubiquity of blogs and online inquiries means people are increasingly going public with alternative uses.” […]

“The question for marketers, then, is whether or not to promote these uses — and if you do promote them, how not to undermine the products’ established strengths.”

Read full story

(via Fallon Planning)