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12 posts from June 2013

Persuading with words, relying on images

Words alone are seldom persuasive, and they can definitely get in the way. Tq130702tmI think verbally and too many words come to mind and I get too attached to them. Perhaps one of the best ways to reduce our words is to think of an image and then use very specific words that paint that image in the mind. 

Buffer Blog: Most Persuasive Words, 2013-Mar-21, by Leo Widrich

Something I struggle the most with is to stop using adjectives. They are, in fact one of the worst elements of speech and even make a listener or reader lose trust.

TFS: You can't reap what you didn't sow--but no guarantees

In "The Illusion of Understanding," Kahneman observes, "A very generous estimate of the correlation between the success of the firm and the quality of its CEO might be as high as .30, ... [This] implies you would find the stronger CEO leading the stronger firm in about 60% of the pairs--an improvement of a mere 10 percentage points over random guessing... Improving the odds of success from 1:1 to 3:2 is a very signficant advantage, both at the racetrack and in business." 

Tq130626hdLast night I was watching a TV show about a man who had been victimized by having a bomb taped to his chest. His friend knew how to defuse it but he had 3 chances and 5 codes to try. So it was likely, but not guaranteed to work. 

That's the way management and marketing operate. You can do everything right, but circumstances often intervene to prevent your success. When I was the Marketing Director of The Guardian Plan at Service Corporation International we had a fabulous plan which was just starting to produce results when the corporation decided to shut down the division because they were unprepared for the finanical commitment. At CGI, we had finally figured out the formula for a successful seminar marketing program when the 'dot.bust' downturn devastated the entire information technology sector, and we were laid off.

All we can do is keep preparing for success.

TFS: Extreme events breed extreme predictions

As marketers, sometimes the best thing to do is hold our course and avoid reacting to extreme events. When something exciting happens we immediately start looking for causes and planning for new directions. Tq130624cjBut a single off-the-chart event does not improve our ability to make predictions. We should become observers at that point.

For me, I think the danger has been investing my time in the wrong area. I enjoy the excitement of chasing down a new opportunity. I love learning new things. I suspect that's why I have been more successful in really structured situations.

An idea that spurs creativity: give your customers their data

What if every company would share back your data as a normal part of customer service?

I work for a company that would find it very challenging, not because we wouldn't like to, but because it would be expensive to create the system to provide it. When I was collecting art, I really wanted my art dealer to help me keep track of all my purchases, but she couldn't afford to do it, partly because I was the only customer who was interested. 

Tq130620scHelping people collect data about themselves, in a useable format, is quickly becoming an industry trend. How can you and your company help?

Bryan Pearson: Data Sharing, 2013-Jun-10

Such forward-thinking initiatives, wherein the consumer is seen as a collaborator and not merely a source of insights, will be required for the data-science industry to grow prosperously. If we operate with uneven philosophies, wherein only some organizations invite consumers to review their information for the purposes of better interactions, then those that choose the non-communal approach will likely get shut out.

TFS: In direct marketing, don't forget to leave some behind

Tq130617lbYou would think that as much as I embrace the principles of direct marketing, that I would remember to create control groups in order to test my efforts. My time is so much more valuable than my money. So every effort I make must be carefully scrutinized for its value. If I don't split the sample I don't actually learn anything. 

In marketing you ALWAYS have less than perfect correlation. So you KNOW that any change you see, however positive, is influenced by factors beyond the marketer's control. If you aren't splitting the sample you aren't really doing direct marketing at all. 

Be careful how you explain yourself, especially to yourself

I've always loved the Whitman quote, "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." Tq130615eyOnce you accept the idea you have multiple identities, then you may have to get used to being unacquainted with some of them! We shouldn't rush to explain ourselves or have a reason for everything we do or think or feel. And we especially shouldn't feel stuck with it.

Mindhacks: When giving reasons leads to worse decisions, 2013-Jun-11, by Tom Stafford

The moral of the story isn’t that intuition is better than reason. We all know that in some situations our feelings are misleading and it is better to think about what we’re doing. But this study shows the reverse – in some situations introspection can interfere with using our feelings as a reliable guide to what we should do.

And this has consequences in adulthood, where the notion of expertise can mean struggling to discern when introspection is the best strategy. The researchers who carried out this study suggest that the distorting effect of reason-giving is most likely to occur in situations where people aren’t experts – most of the students who took part in the study didn’t have a lot of experience of thinking or talking about art. When experts are asked to give reasons for their feelings, research has found that their feelings aren’t distorted in the same way – their intuitions and explicit reasoning are in sync.