What would you say if I told you there was one, simple equation for converting customers?

“Give the wine a rest, Caroline” presumably. But hear me out, because this is going to get interesting.

Are you ready?

Net Value = reward – pain

Okay, that was a bit anticlimactic. But trust me, this little calculation is key to understanding not only why your customers buy, but also how to shift your proposition to maximise its perceived value.

Sound good? Let me explain.

The equation was set down by Phil Barden, author of the seminal Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy Things and speaker at our next Marketing Leaders’ Dinner, B2BNXT: Driving Human Insights & Intelligence which takes place in London on 12th March.  In his book, Barden explains how, when a customer is faced with a buying decision, their mind performs an imperceptibly fast calculation.

Firstly, they look at the benefits (or ‘reward’) of a product/service, then they subtract its negatives (or ‘pain’). They then arrive at a net value, from which they can judge if it’s worth proceeding with the purchase.

So far, this is a fairly standard cost/benefit analysis, right? Well, this is where understanding your customers really comes in useful.

Decoding the Unconscious

The key stat to remember is this: 80% of buying decisions are made completely unconsciously.

Essentially, our brains save processing power by switching to autopilot. The world is too complex to think deeply about every decision, so it takes shortcuts, making judgements based on shallow associations and perceived scales of complexity and relevance.

In short, the net value calculation isn’t based on any rational thought process. In a single second, a prospect can look at the design of a trade magazine ad, the copy on a landing page, the opening of an InMail, and dismiss it literally without a thought.

The exciting thing for marketers is that, through intelligent, data-backed insights, these unconscious decisions can be rewired to work in your favour.

Let’s look at an example.

Take this ad for Betty Crocker. Which one do you think had the highest purchase intent?

If you said the one on the right, then bingo. Research from Brigham Young University found that placing the fork on the righthand side of the plate saw a purchase intent uplift of 20%.

Why? Well, for righthanded consumers (roughly 90% of the world’s population), the image is simply more perceptually fluent. This is how they would normally see the product in real life, so the unconscious can more easily process the visuals.

Human Insights Powered by Intelligence

Instead of being unconsciously dismissed, your brand needs to unconsciously resonate – and to do that, you need to know your prospects intimately well.

You need to understand who your buyers are, where they are on their buying journey, and what can trigger them to dismiss your brand – whether it be a fork out of place, or a line of copy that doesn’t quite gel.

That’s where data can help.

Modern tools can measure brand sentiment, predict buyer behaviour, and build a bank of rich data that can shape your messaging strategy. Data-driven insights enable you to segment and personalise like never before, helping you understand the content, channels, and messaging that’ll keep prospects engaged.

Ultimately, by combining technology with the human touch, you can craft propositions that rewire customers’ autopilot, and really resonate with them on an unconscious level.

If you’d like to learn more, MOI’s next event B2BNXT: How to Drive Human Insights and Intelligence will be taking place on 12 March 2019 in the Soho Hotel. We’ll be lucky enough to be joined by a panel of expert marketers, as well as Phil Barden, author of Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy Things.

If you’re able to come, Click Here to register. I look forward to seeing you!

Leave a comment on this post

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to blog

Top