The behavioral science that Inbound Marketers should know – WAU
Get ready to broaden your understanding of human behavior – and sales! My name is Marcos Faria, I am a co-founder of EIDEA Consultoria & Psicologia, and in this article I am going to introduce you to the science of human behavior applied to Inbound Marketing. As a trained psychologist, I studied behavior science while still in college. […]
Get ready to broaden your understanding of human behavior – and sales! My name is Marcos Faria, I am a co-founder of EIDEA Consultoria & Psicologia, and in this article I am going to introduce you to the science of human behavior applied to Inbound Marketing.
As a trained psychologist, I studied behavior science while still in college. If you’ve heard of Behaviorism, that’s also what we’re going to deal with.
Human behavior science offers excellent analysis and intervention resources for any professional who deals with people. For example, in the case of EIDEA we have structured an organizational culture management service, based exclusively on the concepts of human behavior science.
You may be wondering if this is also true for marketers. The answer, of course, is yes!
Marketers deal with human behavior all the time. Every click, conversion, link, product study and purchase it’s a behavior! And those are of interest to the Marketing specialist who wants improve your results.
So, it is essential that inbound marketing professionals also seek to expand their knowledge about human behavior, and understand how to apply this knowledge in inbound strategies.
Therefore, this article is for you who want to improve your marketing and sales strategies, and consequently boost your results!
Read on to understand how you can do this from the insights presented here.
I will base myself especially on the main bibliographic reference of behavioral science, the Science and Human Behavior, by B. F. Skinner, originally published in 1953. It is considered the “Bible” of the science of human behavior.
Behavioral Science and Marketing have a history
I considered it worthwhile to start by talking a little about the history between marketing and behavioral science, so that you understand the validity and insights that I will expose.
If you went to college in Advertising or took courses in related fields, you probably heard of John B. Watson. He was an American psychologist, who made an academic career in behavioral science.
But what we’re going to cover here is his career in advertising and marketing. Career that innovated the sales strategies and campaigns of its time.
And how did he manage to innovate? Reconciling behavioral science concepts with sales and advertising!
And at that time there was still no Content Marketing or Inbound, obviously. Therefore, there is likely to be a lot of room for innovation untapped today.
In the TED video below, Emilie Wapnick, presents that many opportunities for innovation are found in interdisciplinarity between different areas. And there is interdisciplinarity between Behaviorism and Marketing. After this text I hope to help you innovate even more!
See, for example, the campaigns created by Watson. They had three basic elements related to the transformation he took to the area. His campaigns:
- They evoked people’s emotions;
- They gave instructions on how to use the product;
- And they had short and direct testimonials.
Can you see some similarities between these three elements and the inbound campaigns you adopt?
Certainly, the best content marketing strategies take into account the emotions of customers in the attraction phase at the top of the funnel, do you agree?
At this stage of the consumer’s journey, the potential customer wants to solve a problem that is part of their life. Problems are accompanied by emotions such as dissatisfaction, frustration, displeasure, etc.
Therefore, your content must make it clear that your business understands the problem experienced by the customer.
This also applies to the funnel bottom stage, however, the idea is to bring positive emotions to the consumer and associate them with your product. In order to favor the probability the consumer to choose his solution.
All behavior is probabilistic – including conversion and purchase behavior
One of the most important teachings of behavioral science for you marketing expert is this: all behavior consists of probability.
Did you know that an inbound professional works on that probability in the Sales Funnel all the time?
The Sales Funnel is a tool that helps increase the likelihood of consumers converting and buying.
A good analysis of the digital marketing strategy always aims to increase the probability of obtaining better results.
An example of this is the A / B tests, which are ways of evaluating which variables generate the best responses. In other words, the A / B tests, analyze which stimuli – for example, from a landing page – generate a higher conversion rate.
Conversion can be understood as consumer behavior – like downloading an e-book. And the idea is to increase the frequency of these behaviors, that is, to increase the probability of them occurring.
After lead generation, we are interested in the consumer continuing on their customer journey.
But then, what makes consumers stay and continue in the sales funnel according to behavioral science? This is what you will discover next.
The golden lesson of Behavioral Science for Inbound Marketing
“Men act on the world, changing it and are, in turn, modified by the consequences of their actions.”
- F. Skinner
The Sales Funnel concept did not always exist. But the tactics of inducing consumers to buy were probably born with the first merchant. A historical example is John Watson himself, who increased purchase rates by evoking the emotions of potential customers.
Buying and converting can be considered “objective behaviors” of marketing. Therefore, the higher the frequency of these, the better the results.
Note that now we will enter a slightly more technical part of the science of behavior and Behaviorism. It will be necessary for you to understand the phenomena related to the increase in the probability of behaviors.
An important concept in Behaviorism is that of Triple Contingency.
It consists of this “equation”:
Inbound marketing professionals have the ability to control or influence Stimulus and Consequence. And therefore, indirectly control customer behavior – and that’s what interests us.
Stimulus it is anything that evokes behavior. It can be, for example, feeling thirsty, a green traffic light, an interesting blog post title, a call-to-action (CTA), etc.
Response (or behavior) it is any action that was evoked by a stimulus, and that causes changes in the environment. For example, drinking water, speeding up the green light, opening a blog post, clicking on a CTA, etc.
Consequence it is what the organism gets from its behavior. It can be, for example, quench your thirst, cross a safe intersection with your car, learn something new in a blog-post, get a free e-book, etc.
You will understand below how you can interfere in these variables of the Triple Contingency with Inbound Marketing.
Understand how to control stimuli
One of the great benefits of Digital Marketing is the possibility of obtaining various data and statistics on the actions implemented. Thus being able to verify what generates the best results.
These data are, in terms of behavioral science, referring to which stimuli are working or not in your strategy.
The stimuli that work are, for example, those that increase the probability of buying behavior – just like Watson did when evoking people’s emotions.
Inbound stimuli associated with results are blog-post and e-book titles, CTA’s, email titles, SEO (which increases the visibility of stimuli), link building, etc.
But realize that all these stimuli mentioned above, must be consistent with the content used. For example, the title should deliver what it promises in blog-posts. Otherwise it becomes a stimulus that generates traffic, but it will decrease the probability of users return to your blog.
What I mean is, the stimulus is related to the consequence! If he is not consistent with the consequence he loses value. It is about the consequences that we will address now.
Consequence of behavior: key to increasing conversions
I personally understand that one of the pillars of content marketing is delivering value to the customer.
With the production of content the purpose is to deliver rich knowledge to consumers, isn’t it? This is essential for the success of the strategies.
Even Google recognizes this, and improves its search engines to place sites that truly deliver value with its content at the top of results.
This is not for nothing, it seems that Google understands the value of the consequence of the behaviors. Think about it, if it was a search engine that didn’t find truly qualified results, users would look for other search engines to perform their searches. That is, they would seek better consequences.
And for positive consequence that the user returns! And the inbound specialist must be continually aware of this.
In addition, in terms of better consequences for consumers’ search for solutions, the inbound methodology has an advantage.
In addition to the quality of the consequence influencing the retention of people on the customer’s journey, the immediate factor of value delivery is also decisive.
The faster the return a person gets for what he seeks, the greater the chances of him being satisfied. Digital marketing provides this speed very satisfactorily.
Imagine that you want to learn how to improve conversions in your strategy, and you search Google for that. It will present you with a list of results and will allow you to immediately learn solutions to your problem. Marketing strategies other than inbound do not enjoy this speed.
So it is likely that businesses that bet on inbound and content production will be more successful, as they have several positive consequences – such as learning and solutions – for people during the customer journey.
The role of behavior variability in the Sales Funnel
Another decisive aspect for success is the behavioral variability. It concerns a person’s ability to vary his behavior to achieve pleasurable and rewarding consequences.
Throughout the text, we talked about behavior science from the customer’s perspective. But we must also consider the marketer’s perspective.
Just as the client seeks positive consequences and emits behaviors for that, so does the professional! The latter seeks conversion and purchase, and must also issue behaviors to achieve them.
How is it possible to do this?
The variability of the professional’s behavior is a decisive factor. This variability occurs, for example, in the diversity of content.
Each customer will be attracted to different variables, so the inbound strategy must rely on that. The content must be diversified to improve the likelihood of success. Produce blog-posts, infographics, videos, ebooks, various emails, etc.
The greater the diversity, the more likely you are to get conversions and sales.
See this post with 58 examples for you to vary your behaviors.
Organizational Culture and behaviors
Did you know that your company’s organizational culture influences the content marketing you develop?
Culture in terms of behaviorism is understood as establishing operation for behaviors. This means that it marks whether certain behaviors will be emitted or not, as well as defines the form how these behaviors will manifest.
In other words, the organizational culture in which you are inserted will influence the characteristics of your content and what you are delivering to your customers. As well as the language of your texts, for example, expresses what you carry from your company’s organizational culture. And that will be visible to customers.
So, how you behave in videos will reveal something about how you relate to customers. And the relationship with customers is another form of expression of the organizational culture.
It is important to pay attention to this, as the culture of a company ends up selecting the customer profile with which it will negotiate. This selection can be broad or restrictive, so pay attention to the culture to ensure that it is congruent with your persona. This way, you will ensure that it is truly attracted and retained by your content.
Analyze and risk behaviors
“The main problems facing the world today can only be solved if we improve our understanding of human behavior.”
- F. Skinner
To conclude this content, I invite you to the fundamental exercise to outline innovation through behavioral science.
Analyze your strategies based on the knowledge exposed here and answer these questions:
- Do you know what you have in the market that pleases and satisfies your persona?
- Are you isolating variables and testing their effectiveness?
- Are you delivering relevant content to your consumers?
- Are you varying your content production behaviors?
- Do you know Google’s behaviors?
- Do you know your organizational culture?
Knowing your own reality is essential to extrapolate the limits. Now that you know what Behavioral Science recognizes as valid and efficient in Inbound Marketing, you can go from there and use your creativity to grow and get more sales!
What did you think of Inbound Marketing Behavior Science? Leave your opinion in the comments!
* Content produced by Marcos Faria, co-founder of EIDEA Consultoria & Psicologia