Remember the time when some 'gurus' or expert started talking about Search Engine Optimization and how the world gasped in delight?
And then there was the time when another group of experts speculating about blogging as the new marketing strategy, and as predicted, the world rushed into it.
Of course, along came Twitter...and yes, the whole world couldn't wait to use it too.
The same thing happened to Facebook and Mobile internet marketing strategies – everyone leaped into them head-first without casting a single backward glance or spend any time evaluating these new marketing strategies.
I do not know what the next big thing will be but I do know that if we do not keep a focus, we'll be jumping into the bandwagon again (as with all other times that we did it) and then jumping to another one some years down the road. The truth is, if we keep jumping from one strategy to another, it is not benefiting our businesses at all and on top of that, we get nothing online.
Just do a simple Google search and you will find countless...and I mean, COUNTLESS, gurus out there who are more than willing to part with their expertise.
Some will urge you to continue placing banners in websites while another might say that affiliate marketing is the best way to do things online. Another guru is adamant about using mailing lists or newsletters while another group of people are firm supporters of Twitter and Facebook as an online launching platform. Countless other people will also be offering you useful advice about optimizing your website or blog for search engines while an advertising agency's been badgering you about jumping into the mobile marketing strategy.
These experts...do you really think that they have the right mindset? They are most probably merely imagining you handing over your hard-earned money over to them.
They are not focusing on the one single thing that really DOES make a difference – the consumers' minds.
Facebook is a platform for you to reach consumers' minds, it is not a magical structure. Search engine optimization is a strategy for you to reach into the minds of your target market too. So's twitter. In short, all these online tools are here for you to try to come to terms with what the consumers are thinking.
I remember vividly when I started out with my marketing career, I read a lot of books on marketing in my effort to improve my knowledge and then putting them into practice. What I wasn't thinking was – am I starting from the right book?
I realized later that there is a world of marketing books, tons of them out there, which then redirected me onwards to study the human brain. Sounds scientific? It's not.
In marketing, knowing, studying and understanding the human brain is crucial. With that, you can develop accurate, powerful and effective marketing strategies without having to listen to any 'online guru'.
Let's use the illustration below to help you understand why consumers' minds are pivotal to a marketing strategy.
A solid marketing strategy is one that studies and understands the inner workings of the human brain. After studying patterns, we develop the strategy, a plan to deliver to your consumers.
Let's assume that your business' focus is mainly B2B, I believe LinkedIn would be a far better choice, compared to Facebook. And also, we have to choose the right gadgets for our strategy.
Recently, I heard a few marketing gurus talk about mobile internet marketing. In my opinion, the mobile phone is merely a convenience for the consumers. What we want is to engage them to increase our sales, bring in traffic to our websites and persuade them to buy from us.
You might be asking, 'So, what happens if I do not know what my target market is thinking?' Let's go into that with the illustration below.
Let's assume that you have absolutely no idea what your customers or potential customers are thinking. Or that you have them figured out wrongly. The marketing plan will fail because regardless of the method that you choose to use, you do not know who your customers are and what they are thinking. You might get lucky but it won't get you too far. You could be all tech-y and connected with various online tools, what is the point when you do not even have an updated website? Why spend the money, time and effort to come up with a mobile-friendly website when there is no one there to keep it going?
It will be like an abandoned town...no one will visit it. (For your information, updating your website or blog with unique content is an excellent online marketing strategy)
I strongly stand behind neuromarketing, and here's the reason.
Let me give you an example which will shock you!!!
Consider the stats below:
Smoking Facts and Statistics
1. There are 1.1 billion smokers in the world today, and if current trends continue, that number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by the year 2025.
2. China is home to 300 million smokers who consume approximately 1.7 trillion cigarettes a year, or 3 million cigarettes a minute.
3. Worldwide, approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased a minute, 15 billion are sold each day, and upwards of 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis.
4. Kids are still picking up smoking at the alarming rate of 3,000 a day in the U.S., and 80,000 to 100,000 a day worldwide.
5. Worldwide, one in five teens age 13 to 15 smoke cigarettes.
6. Approximately one quarter of the youth alive in the Western Pacific Region (East Asia and the Pacific) today will die from tobacco use.
7. There is enough nicotine in four or five cigarettes to kill an average adult if ingested whole.
Most smokers take in only one or two milligrams of nicotine per cigarette however, with the remainder being burned off.
8. Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemical compounds, 11 of which are known to be Group 1 carcinogens.
9. Half of all long-term smokers will die a tobacco-related death.
10. Every eight seconds, a human life is lost to tobacco use somewhere in the world. That translates to approximately 5 million deaths annually.
11. Tobacco use is expected to claim one billion lives this century unless serious anti-smoking efforts are made on a global level.
Does it make sense? Are these smokers blind to all these warnings? Can they not see the efforts put in by governments in effort to discourage smoking? The gruesome images placed on cigarette boxes, why are they not a deterrent? Aren't smokers afraid of dying...like every other normal human beings? Have they seen or read the statistics and facts?
I would bet my bottom dollar on the fact that they have read them, seen them, perfectly understood the warnings and continued to smoke anyway. But why aren't they stopping?
Martin Lindstrom has the answer. He conducted the largest neuromarketing study ever, using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and another advanced version of eelectroencephalograph knowns as the SST, short for state typography, which tracks rapid brain waves in real time, with 2081 volunteers from America, England, German, Japan and the Republic of China. The research team was overseen by Dr. Gemma Calvett, who holds the Chair in Applied Neuroimaging of Neurosense in Oxford, and Professor Richard Silberstein, the CEO of Neuro Insight in Australia.
All volunteers had to answers a set of questions. Volunteers had written the answer "Yes" for the two questions below:
- "Are you affected by the warnings on cigarette packs?" – "Yes"
- "Are you smoking less as a consequence of these?" – "Yes"
After answering those questions, Dr Calvett had to interview their brain by scanning their brain using fMRI and SST. During the scanning process, a small reflective apparatus resembling a car's rearview mirror projected a series of cigarette warning labels from various angles, one after another, on a nearby screen.
This is the interesting part. Few weeks later, Dr Calvett shown the result and surprised everyone in the team. The result is – those warning labels on the sides, fronts and backs of cigarette packs HAS NO EFFECT on suppressing the smokers' cravings AT ALL!!!!!. What even more surprising was, had in fact that those warning label STIMULATED an area of the smokers' brains called the nucleus accumbens, otherwise known as "the craving spot". The fMRI and SST showed that cigarette warning labels not only failed to deter smoking, but activating the nucleus accumbens, it appeared they actually encouraged smokers to light up.
That is why, based on this neuroscience study, suffice to say that governments heavy investments in trying to stop citizens from smoking is nothing but a huge waste of time...and money.
The numbers of smokers continue to increase all around the world.
It's true that most of us are small companies and we do not have the budget to conduct our very own neuromarketing study. Yes, I agree with that but we do not need to conduct a neuromarketing study ourselves.
There are plenty of case studies out there for you to study and journals that you can subscribe to so that you can get the latest news and insight from a well-respected expert.
In many ways, it will also help you build stronger relationships with your family members while enhancing your profit margin. At least, the next time someone approached you with new products or a brand new marketing strategy, channel or IT gadget, you know not to rush into it...like everyone else is.
Instead, with the knowledge, you know how to study them, relate it to your customers' minds and decide. It will save you tons of money; plenty of time and most importantly, you sales will increase.
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