How to apply behavioural science techniques to media planning and harness your real-world communities.

Your smartwatch wakes you up with a grating alarm sound. You flick through the quick morning update before you sluggishly leave bed and plod to the shower. 

Now you’ve properly woken up, you get dressed and head to the kitchen.

 After a quick coffee, you’re ready to leave. You shout “Bye!” to your partner and are on your way to the train.

Before leaving the house, you’ve made several decisions and been in such a rush, your reception for marketing has been zero… 

Our lives are filled with decisions; if we took time to analyse everyone, we’d never get anywhere. We form habits to make the day-to-day manageable, and our tolerance for information varies as we move through the day.

So, how can marketers cut through the noise and influence decisions? 

The trick is timing and location to break habits… But this requires a strong understanding of human behaviour or a partner by your side who can do the heavy lifting for you, but I will get to that later…

Humans are innately lazy and driven by a powerful human instinct to trust what we know and fit in. The upshot is that we are hugely influenced by people around us and are quick to copy behaviour.

What does this mean for marketers?

Top marketers use behavioural science techniques, but most need help understanding how. Marketers know they should use it but don’t know where to start. Psychology is a study of what motivates change in human behaviour – as marketers, we should be immersed in this.

The only thing that’s consistent in marketing is inconsistency.

We’ve all been there – what works one month doesn’t work the next. And when marketing campaigns start to underperform, seemingly for no reason, everyone in the business suddenly becomes a marketing expert.

The truth is, what worked 10 years ago doesn’t work anymore. Thanks to Google and the rise of digital marketing, marketing methods have been all about the individual – we thought that people who looked the same acted the same, so we grouped those consumers together and marketed to them in the same way. So, how do we get back on track?

Now, it’s about the community.

In fact, as we’ve learnt, it’s always been about the community. Consumers’ purchases are informed via social learning from people they know or trust.

A tale as old as time.

The advent of digital marketing threw us off the scent, but communities have been the biggest influence on consumers for thousands of years.

By growing strategically and harnessing the power of communities…

  • Able & Cole improved their response rates for door drop campaigns by 120%.
  • musicMagpie Improved customer acquisition costs by 20%
  • O&CC’s Cotswold Outdoor saw an uplift in ROAS of up to 25%

Why are communities so important?

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline. Offline communities are made up of interconnected groups of people. They go beyond your customers – these are the people who share recommendations about your product and who prompt better brand recall, more loyalty and higher average order values through the strength of word-of-mouth.” – Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify.

Brand recall is like buying a new car.

Brand recall is the likelihood of someone remembering your brand, its products and services, either by themselves or with a nudge in the right direction.

There are many ways to nudge consumer behaviour to recall a brand. And that’s important for brand growth because when prompted by a product category, most consumers can only recall around 3–5 brand names.

The Baader Meinhof phenomenon: Have you ever purchased a new car only to see the same car driving everywhere?

It happens because our brains filter out the unfamiliar. Once something is familiar to you, you start seeing it everywhere.

The chicken and egg.

It’s an incredibly noisy world – figures vary, but it’s believed we ignore up to 10,000 ads each day – so it is no surprise that marketers struggle with notoriously poor ad and brand recall rates.

When consumers are not familiar with your product or brand, they unconsciously ignore the ad. People will ignore your product’s ads unless they already know about it, which is where the human influence of the community comes to the fore.

We all follow the herd.

Consumers will copy people they know or trust; the killer red bery story comes to mind: “Oh, don’t eat that. Tom died the other day after eating it”, said Caveman One to Caveman Two. This is more likely to happen locally than globally, meaning we’re more likely to adopt something only after enough people in our network have.

Nudge theory: the rule of 7.

Marketing lore says consumers must hear a consistent message seven times before remembering it.

Hearing the same recommendation multiple times from trusted sources (friends and family) in their community means consumers are more likely to subconsciously “unfilter” and remember your brand.

This means that when they see a marketing nudge (a social advert, a billboard, an influencer’s post), the hard work has already been done, and there’s a higher probability that they will engage with that marketing activity.

The dinner party effect.

It’s a familiar scene. The topic of a favourite food subscription service is raised around the dinner table. Emily has been recommended a particular brand, but I need help remembering the name. She describes it, and Mary fills in the blanks because she, too, has heard how great it is. Tim says, “Oh yes, I’ve been using this for a few months, and John and I love it.” 

In this scenario, the recommendation is even more powerful – because it has been endorsed by several community members.

Why should marketers get started with behavioural science?

Behavioural scientists have been studying the WHY behind human behaviour for decades. Targeting this WHY with your brand strategy, marketing, design, and experience is what creates the best results for brands. “WHY” do you think Simon Sinek is so popular…?

“From big strategic ideas to the smallest details, using behavioural science in your brand strategy has increased sales, loyalty, advocacy, long-term customer value, and more.”

Kate Nightingale, Chief Behavioural Officer at Humanising Brands

How to turn community conversation into exponential growth for your brand.

Herdify’s AI technology can harness real-world community word-of-mouth and understand where people are talking about your brand in the real world.

With Herdify, you can target locations with the strongest offline communities, where customers will most likely respond to your marketing activity.

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Ignite your brand power: Why your offline community is the real influencer

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline."

~ Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify

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