Why Marketers Should Look Into Behavioral Science
Many marketers rely on traditional methods to test their target audience. But is it working?
Between freelancers and agencies specializing in sales funnels, emails, newsletters, FB ads, web copy or something else, the marketing world appears a bit crowded.
Being a marketer, I know I’m surrounded by a lot of competitors offering similar stuff. To get right to the point, it’s hard to stand out as an agency or a freelance marketer.
However, there are two distinguished ways to do it.
- Having remarkable relationships.
2. Create unique and incredibly effective methods to test and understand your market. In other words, be distinct.
For the sake of this article, I want to focus on no. 2. I want to show why marketers need to look for unique methods to test their market.
This is not about what’s old or new. It’s about finding more effective ways to market campaigns. Knowing effective methods can ultimately transform your business.
The traditional way to test your market.
A business product always starts out as an idea. That idea is tested, tested & tested.
Testing involves how it’s going to solve a customer’s problem. Every business should test their market by asking these questions:
- Is there a need for my product?
- What’s the competition in my market?
- How do I get my target market to see what I’m offering?
- What’s the appeal of my product?
- Who is my market?
I would argue that question no. 5 is the most critical.
Many marketers rely on demographics & personality to determine their core market. But as culture continues to diversify and develop, so will the variables of a person. That’s why marketers shouldn’t pursue every business. It’s not about the number of businesses you can help, it’s about who you can help the most.
The problem with the numbers game.
Freelancers will often try to find clients through the power of sheer numbers. If they can reach 1000 businesses a week, surely one of them will respond with a need.
I know this because I used to think this way.
Even some agencies will employ tactics with paid advertising that looks at finding clients with the volume of people they advertise to. These agencies spend thousands of dollars to find a client because finding a single client will allow them to breakeven. Finding two clients is a positive ROI.
I understand the logic behind “it’s a numbers game.” And it will definitely help you find clients and even land you a client.
But the mindset is all wrong. It’s not about freelancers or agencies looking to find their first or hundredth client, it’s about how their service helps businesses find a solution. And how that solution is designed for specific businesses. If you convey the solution well enough, you don’t have to worry about numbers.
Their should be more science behind advertising methods.
That’s why the mindset should be about how you can help clients more effectively, with proven methods that are backed by research.
You’re not just helping businesses find clients, you’re showing them why their product is a specific solution for a specific market.
A new approach to testing your market.
Richard Shotton’s book The Choice Factory offers a unique and effective way to test your market.
He claims that advertising agencies should examine a person’s bias, not only a person’s personality traits. This approach hasn’t been given enough attention.
Shotton applies behavioral science and economics to understand why people buy. He tells of how Apple has applied behavioral science and economics to their research, partially leading to their success.
But why aren’t ALL freelance marketers or advertising agencies employing scientific methods? Why aren’t they employing methods that are incredibly effective by some of the most recognized businesses in the world?
It appears the reasons are:
- Traditional methods are still effective.
2. Behavioral science applied to advertising is still relatively unknown in the advertising world.
3. Other scientific methods are preferred besides behavioral science.
While each of these is valid reasons, they should not discourage how behavioral science applies to advertising because there is still so much research yet to be explored in this field.
How you make yourself distinct as a freelance marketing specialist or an agency will depend not (entirely) on what you market or how many people you market to, but how effective you market to that your audience. It will depend on well you understand your core audience and how you can help them.
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Benjamin Watkins is a former stressed-out middle school teacher turned marketing specialist for e-commerce businesses and digital marketing agencies. He applies behavioral science & economics as well as social theory to back his understanding of marketing.