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Human psychology

How Understanding Perceptual Sets Can Make You a Better Marketer

Why do some ads perform better than expected? Why does an ‘ugly’ CTA sometimes convert better than one that is professionally designed? Understanding perceptual sets and how they affect our behavior and decisions can give you better insight into improving and optimizing your marketing strategy. 

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Office

Have you ever heard of the “significant objects” project?

As a literary & anthropological experiment, Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn wanted to see if they could resell cheap knickknacks (avg. cost $1.25) on eBay and turn a significant profit by adding personal stories to the item descriptions.

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11 Things People Believe But Shouldn't

People often choose to believe in things that are just not true.

The Great Wall is the only human made object viewable from space. All Vikings helmets had horns. Vaccines cause Autism. 5G causes causes cancer. You get the idea.

Here are 11 things that a lot of us in marketing believe, but shouldn’t.

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Fire

As much as we’d like to think that we’re rational, the reality is, we make many of our decisions emotionally.

Clicks, shares, purchases, comments, engagement are all subject to emotional decision making.

So how can you use this fact to your advantage?

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Your brain

Writing copy that converts is a lot like boxing.

Your shots need to flow, and you need to be 3-4 steps ahead of your opponent. You have to predict their counters, slips and movement patterns before they even think of doing them.

Similarly, to craft high-converting copy, your sentences have to flow. And you have to anticipate your reader’s objections and be mindful of each word, sentence, and paragraph that enters their brain.

Regardless of the technique you use, according to Copyblogger, the goal is “strategically delivering words to get people to take action.”

Using NLP and neurolinguistic principles, we can boost the chances that your copy will resonate with your target audience and move them to action.

Here’s how.

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Cognitive Biases

Persuading completely rational people to make a rational decision or take a rational action would be easy. Unfortunately, you’re stuck dealing with irrational thinking, fueled by cognitive biases and emotions.

So, how do you persuade effectively when people are so heavily influenced by subjective (and contextual) factors?

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Emotional Persuasion

You’d like to think that you’re a completely rational person making completely rational decisions, right? It’s nice to believe that you haven’t made major life decisions based on how you were feeling.

Well, you have. Many times.

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Neuromarketing Ethics: How Far Is Too Far?

As the marketing industry developed, researchers dove deeper into buying behavior and buyers’ minds. One early researcher was Edward Bernays—Sigmund Freud’s nephew—who coined the term “public relations.”

Bernays believed that people could be influenced via crowd psychology and psychoanalysis. His “Torches of Freedom” campaign in the 1920s promoted smoking among women as a symbol of liberation, opening a new market to cigarette companies.

Decades later, in 2002, Dutch marketing professor Ale Smidts coined the term “neuromarketing.” Neuromarketing maps neural activity to consumer behavior to help marketers craft more valuable, science-based campaigns. 

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Online Manipulation: All The Ways You're Currently Being Deceived

There’s a fine line between online persuasion and manipulation.

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Want to Know a Secret? Your Customers Do.

The carefully evasive proposal included intriguing tidbits: Jeff Bezos laughed when Mr. Kamen assembled an It for him [. . .] The proposal also included proclamations from tech-world celebrities like Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, that the device might change urban life and could be as significant as the development of the personal computer.

The New York Times, January 2001

Dean Kamen’s code name for the project was “Ginger.” That was all most people knew. But few could wait to learn more. Deprived of source material, journalists wrote articles about articles. Finally, in December 2001, came the big reveal: Ginger was the Segway. 

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What’s on my mind

Hi, I'm Peep Laja—founder of CXL. I'm a former champion of optimization and experimentation turned business builder.

I do a lot of thinking, reading, and writing around business, strategy, and optimization. I send a weekly newsletter with what's on my mind on this stuff.

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