business – Bonus Media Entrepreneur

Tag Archives for " business "

Jul 23

Can you Trick People Into Improving Their Lives?

By bonusadm

 

Whether personal or professional, change is hard. And the cumulative data is not on our side. Take something obviously detrimental, like smoking. A mere 4% to 7% of people successfully quit without the aid of medication or outside help.

Even experiencing a traumatic event like the death of a loved one or being diagnosed with cancer only leads to a 20% success rate. Not to be a killjoy, but as the Washington Post found, roughly 25% of New Year resolutions fall apart within the first two weeks. And even when it comes to our work where moneys on the line 70% of [management-led] transformation efforts fail. So why is change such a struggle?

Dan Ariely, best-selling author of Predictably Irrational and professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, explains it like this: Usually when people approach solving problems, they think, Lets just give people some information and then theyll make the right decision, he said. As natural as this educational approach feels, it doesnt work. For example, posting caloric facts on the side of a Snickers bar does little to deter us when its 10 pm and the craving hits. Equally fruitless are traditional applications of so-called willpower.

Change, in Arielys words, comes not from the inside, but the outside. If you want people to lose weight, give them a smaller plate. You have to change the environment. Today, our dominant environment is digital, which is why Arielys foundation The Center for Advanced Hindsight teamed up with Chris Ferguson, CEO of the Ontario-based design firm Bridgeable, and convened a three-day workshop last October with thirty different financial institutions from all parts of North America.

Their goal was to explore how technology could play a role in transforming borrowers into savers (i.e., positive social and personal change). However, dont let the financial scope fool you. People are people and changing your own habits as well as designing apps and workflows for the good demand understanding how humans make decisions. So before digging into Ariely and Fergusons answer the one theyre banking on lets take a look at six psychological triggers that give us a fighting chance in the war on change.

Human decision making: 6 triggers for change

In his modern-day classic Influence, Robert B. Cialdini describes two models of human decision making. The first he calls controlled responding, a thorough analysis of all of the information. The second is known as “judgmental heuristics,” essentially “mental shortcuts,” also known as cognitive biases or “triggers” that allow for “simplified thinking.” As much as we like to envision ourselves as controlled responders, human beings are far more prone to the second mode. In fact, prone is probably too light a word.

The reality is, mental shortcuts run our lives: From the routes we drive, to the foods we eat, right down to the jobs and mates we choose. Cialdini wasnt the first to notice this. Moneyball author Michael Lewis recent book, The Undoing Project, chronicles the multi-decade shift in both economics and psychology away from the thesis that humans are essentially rational creatures in cognitive control of their decisions.

In its place, a new understanding of decision making has emerged, one in which heuristics, hardwired mechanisms, and triggers stand out. For Ariely and Ferguson, six of these triggers bear special attention. Default bias In 2003, Eric J. Johnson and Daniel G. Goldstein discovered that the organ donation rate in two European countries Hungary and Denmark differed wildly. The first boasted 99.997% and the second, 4.25%. What explained this night and day difference? Turns out, a box. Or rather, the language surrounding one box in particular.

In Hungary, organ donation was the DMVs default option; its citizens had to opt out if they didn’t want to participate. In Denmark, it was the opposite. In other words, the easiest option is the automatic option and therefore whatever is framed as default usually wins. Friction costs People are easily deterred from taking action. We prefer the path of least resistance. And, of course, inertia doing nothing is always the easiest thing to do. Friction costs refer to any obstacles or perceived speed bumps that complicate an action. Reducing friction costs has become a cornerstone of ecommerce giants like Amazon who’ve built empires around saving your payment and shipping information so that purchasing is as easy as one click. But this also holds true interpersonally.

One of the driving reasons people stay in unfulfilling relationships is that the cost of extricating themselves appears to outweigh the cost of one-off disturbances, despite the fact those one-off disturbances add up over time. Anchoring At the risk of stating the obvious, first impressions matter and not just in our personal lives. When making decisions, people automatically elevate whatever information they encounter first, and anchoring means that this first impression isn’t just more powerful than subsequent evidence, it also becomes the organizing principle (or, frame) thereafter.

For instance, if the first test in a job interview reveals an applicants strengths, then evaluators unthinkingly rate the applicant’s subsequent tests higher, even when they have little or nothing to do with the first. Humans latch onto first impressions, and letting go of them is harder than you think. Pre-commitment Consistency acting in accordance with our previous decisions and actions is a potent mental force. This is due partly to the fact that change is difficult (see Friction Costs).

But it also stems from our desire to protect our egos as well as to simplify decision making. In the 1960s, when two psychologists asked California homeowners to erect a public-service billboard on their front lawns reading, Drive Carefully, they were met with an average rejection rate of 83%. One subset, however, turned the tables on that average and complied to the request at 76%. Why? Because un-benounced to the two psychologists, one week earlier a separate organization had asked residents to place an unobtrusive Be a Safe Driver sign in their window. Securing small, voluntary commitments is a cornerstone of any large and lasting change.

Present bias Humans are myopic creatures. We live in the moment. Its not that we dont worry about the future or dwell on the past; fear and loss are the two most powerful human emotions. Its more that were terrible at projecting our current reality into whats going to happen next, especially when that next is five, ten, or even twenty years in the future. Hyperbolic discounting turning a future positive into a present negative is one way of dragging those inevitabilities into the here and now.

Social proof No man is an island, wrote John Donne. He was right. When it comes to making decisions especially decisions surrounded by high levels of mystery or insecurity we look to see what other people are doing. The principle of social proof is why Yale University discovered that if you want people to reduce the amount of bottled water they consume, presenting facts about negative environmental impacts works best only when preceded by social proof that others have already started to behave pro-environmentally. Each the above triggers, often called cognitive biases, work their way from outside in. They’re extensions of Arielys basic contention that our best shot at change comes from our environment. But can an app truly change human behavior?

Rigging the mind with an app

Naturally, the answer is yes. As proof we need look no further than the plethora of examples Nir Eyal presented in Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. From social media platforms to free games like Candy Crush and Farmville, apps have the power to shape (and even reshape) our lives. In Eyals words: To build a habit-forming product, makers need to understand which user emotions may be tied to internal triggers and know how to leverage external triggers to drive the user to action.

The real question is: Can an app change human behavior for the good? After all, its one thing to hook someone with an app that delivers endorphins the way gambling or junk food does (neither of which Eyal argues for). Its another thing altogether to hook someone with an app aimed at changes we wat but struggle desperately to implement. To answer that question, heres a sneak peek at Ariely and Fergusons current prototype and how theyre using the principles mentioned above. Just remember: Each of these triggers are hardwired into the human mind. That means your own changes personal, professional, and technological should lean on them too.

 

Making good change easier Its true: as humans, were terrible at change. But that doesn’t mean the fight is in vain. Instead, the implications of behavioral economics alongside the broader sciences of human decision making weve touched on should push us in two directions. First, on the personal front, change works from the outside in. If you want to lose weight, buy a smaller plate. We set ourselves up for success or failure not because of internal factors like willpower, motivation, and drive, but because of external factors.

Lasting change isn’t as much about moral fortitude as it is about arranging our environment the world we interact with to either trigger or inhibit our behaviors. Second, on the professional front, products and services, apps and tools must all likewise adhere to the very same lessons. This applies to design and UX as much as it applies to marketing and management. Whatever change you’re trying to create whatever product youre trying to hook your audience begin with how humans actually make decisions:

1. Default Bias: How can you make the opt-in process automatic? What can you pre-populate during on-boarding or roll out

2. Friction Costs: What can you remove? In the words of Nir Eyal, innovation is nothing more than understanding a series of tasks from intention to outcome and then removing steps.

3. Anchoring: What do users, whether customers or employees, see first? How can you leverage that first impression at a meeting, in an email, or within an app to frame the rest of the process.

4. Pre-Commitment: Are you building on small, voluntary commitments? Small yeses early on lead directly to big yeses later, especially as change gets tougher

5. Present Bias: How can you drag future results into present reality? What hell will your change save people from? What heaven will it deliver them unto?

6. Social Proof: Who do your users look to for making their decisions? How can you encourage those influencers, or even just fellow humans, to share their own commitment and actions? Unlocking human change is hard, but its not mysterious. Just be sure you’re using all that power for the good.

 
 Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Read more:

Giving Away Products For FREE
Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...

Giving Away Products For FREE
Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...
Oct 03

Passion Might be Overrated 7 Practices That You Need In its place

By bonusadm

Image: Shutterstock / ChingChing

Its common wisdom. Near gospel really, and not just among young people and founders. Across generational lines, sentiments like those from Steve Jobs 2005 commencement at Stanford have been engraved into our collective consciousness:

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.

In other words, follow your passion. There’s just one problem: Follow your passion is dangerous advice.

That’s a troubling claim, but it comes straight from Cal Newports investigation into the details of how passionate people like Steve Jobs really got started as well as what scientists say predicts happiness and fuels great accomplishment.

Newports not alone. In recent years, a host of leaders, academics, and entrepreneurs have all come to the same startling conclusion: nearly everything youve been told about following your passion is wrong.

Here are seven habits you need instead.

1. Not passion, purpose

Ryan Holiday, author of Ego Is the Enemy:

Your passion may be the very thing holding you back from power or influence or accomplishment. Because just as often, we fail with no, because of passion. [P]urpose deemphasizes the I. Purpose is about pursuing something outside yourself as opposed to pleasuring yourself.

Until about a century ago, passion was a dirty word. Classical philosopher like Socrates and Marcus Aurelius saw passion as a liability not an asset: an insatiable and destructive force. Why?

Chiefly because passion is dangerously self-centered. In fact, our own modern descriptions of passion betray this inward bend: I want to [blank]. I need to [blank]. I have to [blank]. In most cases, whatever word finishes those sentences regardless of how well meaning it might be is overshadowed by the first.

Purpose, on the other hand, is about them, not me. It reorients our focus onto the people and causes were trying to reach, serve, help, and love. In The Happiness Hypothesis, psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes this pursuit as a striving to get the right relationships between yourself and others, between yourself and your work, and between yourself and something larger than yourself. If you get these relationships right, a sense of purpose and meaning will emerge.

Passion makes us bigger. Purpose connects us to something bigger and in doing so makes us right sized.

2. Not passion, picking

Shaa Wasmund, author of Stop Talking, Start Doing:

No is a far more powerful word than Yes. Every Yes said out of obligation or fear takes time away from the things and people we love. When an opportunity appears connected with your passion, its even trickier. Instead of snatching up everything that might get your closer to the life you want, give yourself the space to pick carefully.

Good is the enemy of great. That’s how Jim Collins put it anyway. Learning to say No is easily one of the most vital skills we can cultivate. And yet, even if you’ve mastered No to the obvious stuff, passion rears its head.

The blinding effect of passion leads us unthinkingly into projects and meetings that, in truth, are dead ends. Worse, they sap time and energy that would otherwise move us forward. When Tim Ferriss asked journalist Kara Swisher what message shed put on a billboard for millions to see, her answer was a single word, Stop.

And that’s what picking is all about: slow down, pause, evaluate, weigh, and only then make a clear-headed choice. Picking involves, first, putting a time buffer on our decisions, particularly decisions that appear connected with your passion. Second, running our choices by an objective third party: a friend or colleague who can call out our blind spots.

Sleep on it. Reach out. The sun will rise tomorrow. And be ruthless with your Nos.

3. Not passion, practice

Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance:

After you’ve discovered and developed interest in a particular area, you must devote yourself to the sort of focused, full-hearted, challenge-exceeding-skill practice that leads to mastery. You must zero in on your weaknesses, and you must do so over and over again, for hours a day, week after month after year.

We all love shortcuts. The allure of getting more by doing less is seductive. But are there times when doing more equals more? Absolutely.

The classic illustration comes from David Bayles and Ted Orlands Art and Fear where a ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. The first was told theyd be graded on quality. The other, quantity. To get an A, the quantity group was required to produce fifty pounds of clay pots. Not exactly an artistically inspired assignment. And yet, when grading time came, a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.

What accounted for this reversal of expectations?

Easy: while the quality group held back laboring under perfectionism the quantity group got busy. They practiced. And that’s good news. If greatness came down to passion or worse, talent then itd be reserved for only a select few. Practice means greatness is doable one tiny step after another.

4. Not passion, planning

Liran Kotzer, CEO of Woo.io:

Passion is indeed very important, but what most people don’t know is whats needed to achieve their true potential. Whether its to acquire new skills, get a promotion, or achieve what they want, it all starts with having a plan based on real data and real-world options.

The only word less sexy than practice is planning. And yet planning is a golden thread woven through the lives of artists, leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. The trick here is that plans need not be grandiose. Rather, they should’nt be.

Optimism is wonderful when it comes to our dreams. However, when it comes to whats next the nitty-gritty actions that’ll get us there optimism kills. Infected with passion, our plans lose touch with reality. We overestimate strengths and underestimate challenges. Beyond the real data and real-world options, we build castles in the sky. That’s one of the reasons platform like Woo, which lets you get feedback from companies and headhunters anonymously, are so valuable.

Where passion disconnects us from reality, planning especially planning of the SMART goal and number-crunching variety drives home the true state of affairs.

That true state rescues us from false expectations, show stoppers, and resentment. As a good friend of mine likes to say, The question when you are trying to bring a dream into reality should not be, What going to go right? It should be, Whats going to go wrong?

5. Not passion, positioning

Jason Stone, founder of Millionaire Mentor Inc.:

Passion can only take you so far. After that, if you don’t have the skills, the tools, the resources, the knowledge, and the track-record to move forward, take risks, and expand. Otherwise, you wont be able to position yourself as an authority. Positioning is key to make sure you are ready when opportunity strikes!

Humans are associative creatures. We think and act not in isolation but by comparing and contrasting.

The basic approach of positioning, wrote Al Ries and Jack Trout in Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate whats already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist. This is especially true when it comes to how other people see us.

Passionate people often come off as self-inflated. They are legends in their own minds. Positioning means leveraging who you are and what you have done as a springboard to whats next. It embraces the associate nature of other people and while it still leaves room for confidence acknowledges that how others perceive us is more real, at least to them, than how we see ourselves.

6. Not passion, peripheral

Troy Osinoff, author of My Bad Parent: Do As I Say, Not as I Did:

People that think they completely understand their world are the most susceptible to overlook new opportunities. Peripheral is about establishing an unwavering curiosity to use your existing knowledge in uncovering new patterns and trends both for the sake of your personal development as well as the success of your business or career.

Passion makes us myopic. We become so focused on the desire inside us, we lose sight of whats around us. Objectivity the ability to see the world as it truly is atrophies in the blinding light of passion.

Adopting a peripheral perspective forces us to examine the margins. It widens our view. Rather than rush headlong into disaster, were able to spot not just the pitfalls but the opportunities we would have otherwise missed.

How? By cultivating curiosity. Questions like, What am I missing? What am I ignoring? Who could give me a fresh take? are vital in every area of life. Likewise, so is putting ourselves in new situations, reading books outside our passions, and intentionally pursuing people who have nothing to do with what it is we think we want.

7. Not passion, perseverance

Brian D. Evans, founder of Influencive and Inc. 500 Entrepreneur:

The person who calls themselves a student is more a master than those who try to wear the title. Get up when you get knocked down. Come back stronger, faster, and (above all) smarter. The constant desire to learn and overcome has helped me achieve everything. You must persevere.

Although it might sound odd, perseverance is as much about putting in effort as it is battling ego. Drunk on passion, masters are doomed to repeat failures in the name of pushing through. In contrast, students do more than hone their craft; they learn from their mistakes.

Asked if the Patriots historic comeback in Super Bowl LI was his greatest game ever, Tom Brady replied: [W]hen I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half, plus overtime as one of the best games ever but it was certainly one of the most thrilling.

Certainly Brandy persevered, and it’d be nice if that guaranteed success. But sometimes you wont come back to win it. At least, not in the moment. Jobs will be lost. Pitches turned down. Relationships ended. And reviews harsh.

Failure, however, isn’t just an inevitable stepping stone toward success. Rejection is part of success itself. As Louis CK put it to a budding comedian, The only road to good shows is bad ones. Just go start having a bad time and, if you don’t give up, you will get better.

Is passion a bad thing?

Understood rightly, no. But as the be-all-and-end-all? Yes.

Cal Newports prescription was skill: passion is the result of excellence, not its source.

Far from a magic bullet, passion can mislead us, blind us, and even turn us in on ourselves. Newport was right: Follow your passion might just be terrible advice. Thankfully, these seven habits put passion in its place so that the fire Jobs spoke of doesn’t burn out but endures.

 
 
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

Read more:

Select Content Template
Select Content Template

How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer

How To Get A Consistent Stream Of Cash-In-Hand Buyers For ANY Offer
motivational
Sep 21

Treating People Like, Well, People is Key to Leadership Here’s How

By bonusadm

Image:  Ilyafs/shutterstock

At the risk of stating the obvious, leading is hard. Dealing with people, wrote Dale Carnegie over 80 years ago, is probably the biggest problem you face. Bleak as it may sound, the challenge of leading is just that: People. If anything, its gotten tougher. The once reigning champ of leading people at work wage increases now displays a very weak link to motivation, satisfaction, and performance. Even more pointed, a 2016 study from Fidelity found that 58 percent of millennials prefer improved quality of work life over financial benefits. So, what does work? In short: people want to be treated like people especially at work. Thankfully, leading like a human comes down to three habits you can start practicing today.

Commitment and the power of well done!

When Stanford business professors James Baron and Michael Hannan concluded their expansive eight-year study of over 200 tech startups, one finding emerged. Their goal was to determine the most successful managerial style. To do that, the duo created five models: engineering, star, commitment, bureaucracy, and autocracy. Despite mainstream wisdom, Baron and Hannan discovered that the commitment model which relied on emotional or familial ties of employees to the organization, selection based on cultural fit, and peer-group control outperformed its counterparts on all fronts.

In fact, not a single of the commitment organizations they studied failed. Leaders can build commitment through a host of methods, but the most uncomplicated answer lies in one we often overlook encouragement. In Baron and Hannans study, encouragement lay at the heart of each commitment organization. Likewise, Duke behavioral economists Dan Ariely validated this finding through a series of experiments at Intel. Compliments nothing more than a simple Well done! from the boss increased productivity 34.7 percent more than monetary bonuses over a one week period.

Why? Because while cash led to initial boosts in motivation, feelings of entitlement immediately followed. Compliments, on the other hand, sustained. Gratitude is arguably the single most beneficial human emotion. Thats true day to day as well as when your people make career decision with long-term consequences. The thing is, compliments and commitment dont happen by accident. They take intentionality: a deliberate focus to look for whats right and call it out. Praise and gratitude, says Katie Melissa, CEO at Starbound Marketing, are always more effective than criticism. People inherently want to feel appreciated and important. This is all the more vital when the people you lead struggle and stumble. As Jeremy Miller puts it, A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after a success.

Autonomy and the freedom of less

The second avenue to humane leadership is a favorite among forward thinkers. Unfortunately, its also the most counterintuitive. Daniel Pink in both his TEDTalk and book-length treatment lays out the comprehensive benefits of autonomy: According to a cluster of recent behavioral science studies, autonomous motivation promotes greater conceptual understanding, enhanced persistence, higher productivity, less burnout, and greater levels of psychological well-being. Autonomy means freedom, and freedom stems from the little word less.

Starting out in a career or new environment, structure fuels performance. But as time progresses, what top performing team members look for is autonomy and trust. If you want to run an immature team, explains brand strategist Leonard Kim, keep a tight structure. But if you want to attract the best of the best to follow you, then loosen your grip. In other words, leading more demands leading less or at least leading less hands on. Micro-management breeds resentment, which why the most practical place to start is with less meetings. Estimates on how much time meetings wastes range from 25 to 50 percent of our total working hours.

Too often, those meetings are little more than veiled attempts for leaders to flex. Whether small, large, or even one-on-one gatherings, this desire to exert control stems from the fear that the people we lead are going to make mistakes. But as Ed Catmull, founder and CEO of Pixar, points out: Failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you arent experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy dooms you to fail. The other alternative is to transform necessary meetings into genuine human gatherings. In the delightfully titled Meet Is Murder, Virginia Hefferman outlines Holacratic meetings, which leaders like Tony Hsieh, C.E.O. of Zappos, and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium.com, have embraced: “Each Circle holds a weekly or biweekly ‘tactical meeting’ for progress updates and a biweekly or monthly governance meeting.

A governance meeting starts with a Check-In, or rather (according to Holacracy literature) a space for every participant to call out any distraction and get present for the meeting.’” Intentionally limiting oversight can sound scary. But that’s why easing into it with less meetings or your own adaptation of the Holacratic system works so well.

Agility and the people closest to the problem

Our final method comes from the unlikely worlds of car manufacturing and software development. The agile methodology, as Charles Duhigg explains in Smarter Faster Better, emphasized collaboration, frequent testing, rapid iteration, and pushing decision making to whoever was closest to a problem. Essentially, agile leadership blends commitment namely, collaboration and relational ties with autonomy flexibility and decentralized decision-making. Agile leaders entrust responsibility to their teams knowing that humans naturally reciprocate that trust with passionate, long-term commitment. At the big-picture level, the applications of agile are everywhere (though rarely under that title). Words like self-management, trust, transparency, and personal responsibility appear over and over again in the annual lists of best companies to work for.

The quickest way to go agile, however, comes from the last phrase of Duhiggs definition: pushing decision making to whoever was closest to a problem. This can be as small as budgetary discretion or it can be momentous: giving each person full control over halting production (a story Duhigg chronicles). The rise of remote working makes agility even more crucial. According to Polycoms recent study of 25,234 workers The Changing World of Work: A Global Survey nearly two thirds of the global workforce take advantage of anywhere working. Thats a 343 percent increase from 2012: 14 percent compared to 62. The more dispersed your people, the more hierarchical structures become productivity killing bottlenecks. Agile, in contrast, prioritizes tight cycles of feedback not with internal leadership, but with external users and customers.

By giving teams direct access to real-world testing, whether theyre building an app or selling an stove, human-centered leaders empowered the people closest to the problem to act. After all, in the words of Clinton Senkow, Co-Founder and COO at Influencive: If you don’t trust your employees to work from anywhere and solve problems on their own, you probably shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

Being a leader has never been more human

Its true: leadership is hard. The temptation to rule with gold or gun is hard to resist. But old-school methods no longer work. What does? Going back to Carnegie, There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it. As it turns out, the key word in that sentence is the same one that gives us so much grief: person. What the people in our lives want is to be treated like people: encouraged, free, and agile. That’s how you lead.

 
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing (and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter.

WATCH: Giant robot arm mounted on a truck can build a brick house in 48 hours

Read more:


Giving Away Products For FREE
Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...

Giving Away Products For FREE
Today I'm Revealing How I Do It...
Insert Custom HTML
Select Columns Layout
website designing
Sep 14

The Very Best Online Marketers Happen to be Mad Scientists

By bonusadm

Image: Shutterstock / Kiselev Andrey Valerevich

We have come a long way since the Mad Men era of marketing and advertising. The modern online marketer is as much mad scientist as inspired creative, thanks to the proliferation of data and tools to access and analyze it. Just as inventor Thomas Edison was able to run 10,000 different experiments, changing a little something here, a little something there, until he found the formula that worked, the best internet marketers today use their creative side to come up with hypotheses, and can then perform experiments to prove their usefulness.

The science of online marketing has become increasingly, well, scientific. Given the revelation that hyper targeted marketing is more effective marketing, its no surprise that almost every marketing department or digital agency out there will tell you they’re data-driven. But at this point, data-driven marketing is more of a minimum requirement than a differentiator.

Without data supporting them, any online marketing recommendations would be no better than opinions, and analyzing ROI would be imprecise, at best. But if every marketer is incorporating data into his or her campaigns, why is it that most marketing messages, no matter how they’re delivered to consumers, seem to be forgotten within a matter of seconds? And why is it that marketing funds get spent with executives and teams struggling to answer the simple question.

What did we get out of that? Jon Brody, CEO and co-founder of Ladder, a growth marketing agency, says The problem is that people have too much data and are making fewer good decisions because they’re so data-driven. You need to be ROI-driven, he says. Effective marketing strategy is about optimization.

That’s why Brody and his team, who have worked with everyone from startups backed by Y Combinator to Fortune 500 companies, approach marketing like scientists in a lab. In short, he says, We run marketing experiments to help businesses grow. This type of approach has worked for Ladder, and it can work for any team that takes the following five tips to heart:

1. Dont be afraid to take risks

When you’e experimenting, you’re going to find out what doesn’ work on your way to finding out what does. Data driven marketers build hundreds of audience segments and cross them against thousands of targets, says Dennis Yu, Chief Technology Officer at BlitzMetrics, a provider of courses on Facebook marketing,

But with so many combinations possible, each experiment can have only a few dollars of budget and a few units of effort against them. Most marketers cannot scale to this efficiency, since they are of the I already tried that mentality. Don’t fall into this trap. Keep experimenting, keep taking risks. Failure is built into the process. Learn from it, and proceed.

2. Take advantage of the Online Marketing Tools available

There are new technologies appearing almost daily that allow marketers to measure performance. Native platforms like Facebook are increasingly as good (or better) at optimization than any human or even the current crop of ad tech tools that were built to optimize what you’re already doing, Brody says.

The opportunity that these platforms present is enormous. Larry Kim, CEO of mobile marketing software company Mobile Monkey and a popular speaker at digital marketing conferences, is one of the top marketing mad scientists of our age.

He uses tools like WordStream to give him the data he needs to analyze how large the rewards are for having an above average CTR (clickthrough rate) in Google Adwords, leading Kim to conclude that Google so greatly rewards high CTR/Quality Score ads (and conversely penalizes keywords with lousy CTRs) that an awesome hybrid solution becomes apparent: use your content marketing efforts to cover informational keywords with SEO content and commercial keywords via PPC. Sound mad? Don’t worry, read Larrys case study and youll see how his experiments can help you save a lot of money on your next paid search campaign.

3. Do Not work in silos

You’ll be using much of the same data to inform all aspects of campaign development from strategy, to creative, to execution, to placement. When your team works closely together throughout every step of the development process, each team member gains a better understanding of how his or her work affects the efficacy of the entire campaign and drives ROI. Every member of your team should be ROI-driven.

4. Remember what you learn

Your team shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you begin a new project. Ideally, you should be keeping track of what you learn what works and what doesn’t for certain types of businesses or industries, how audiences respond to certain messaging, what tools are most effective so that you’re able to start building some institutional knowledge that new employees can later tap into.

5. Do Not stop optimizing 

Just because you’re seeing a lot of success with a particular campaign doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. There’s always room for improvement. Plus, the more you experiment, the more you learn. If you’re keeping track of that additional insight (see above), you can apply it to your next campaign. The more you experiment, the better understanding you’ll have of which data actually matters. Moreover, collecting additional data that ties marketing spend to campaign performance across the marketing funnel will give you a better idea of how to best spend the money in your marketing budget. That’s what being ROI-driven is all about, and that’s what leads to real growth for your company.

Josh Steimle is the author of Chief Marketing Officers at Work and the CEO of MWI, a digital marketing agency with offices in the US and Asia, and despite being over 40 can still do a kickflip on a skateboard.

Read more:

Giving Away Products For FREE
Today I'm R​evealing How I Do It.....

Insert Image

Whether you're a product creator, or you sell products of
other people's, giving away product's for free is going to
show you how to convert a higher percentage of your
visitors into customers with very little work.

Giving Away FREE Products

Giving Away FREE Products


Important
This site makes use of cookies which may contain tracking information about visitors. By continuing to browse this site you agree to our use of cookies.