Improving marketing effectiveness is a function of tapping into what truly motivates your potential client or customer. Understanding their tasks, goals, pains, and gains is the key to improving marketing efforts. Before applying too much science and data, start with the basic of truly understanding your customers.

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I’ve been studying various patterns and practices for conversion optimization for quite some time now. There is much that one can discover after countless hours of exploration into the world of marketing science, marketing psychology, neuromarketing, and data analytics.  However, the more I learn about the low-level scientific theories, the more they seem to simply validate basic marketing principles. Each of the points below really underscore the same principle: the more you can tap into understanding your ideal customers and clients the more effective your marketing will be.

Motivation Matters Most

If a person doesn’t have the proper motivation to purchase your product, then everything from your value proposition to the color of your opt-in button has no significance. In fact in almost every pattern of optimization, client motivation stands as an unchangeable component.  All other optimization factors are a function of improving reaction, based on a presumed positive motivation.

For some time there was often an emphasis in finding key influencers for social media marketing. The theory being that these influencers would influence their followers to desire and act in purchasing the same way.  In reality, it turned out that influencers were just a really good channel for broadcasting one’s message - but it did little to actually influence the motivation of the crowd. It may be that identifying influencers can help shape people with the same affinities or interests, but that is not necessarily the case.


Video on The Myth of Social Media Influencers

Translate Motivation into Empathy

All humor aside, I’ve learned that not everyone shares the same interest or ability in taking “empathetic journeys” to walk a mile in their client’s shoes.  Some can articulate the steps of a hypothetical client’s journey, but not necessarily tap into the emotional state or feelings.  Yet, this ability is absolutely critical to any successful conversion optimization and marketing optimization planning.

People make their ultimate decision to act from their limbic brain, the portion responsible for feelings, which has no language or logic. In fact, when people make a snap decision or have a “gut reaction”, because that portion of the brain has no language, the reason for the decision is often expressed in terms of “feeling.” For example, “I don’t know, it just feels right.”


"Why" Is More Valuable than "What"

Data analytics is absolutely critical to any marketing optimization. As the cliche goes, you can’t change what you cannot measure. But often, there is a reliance on basic analytics which only tells you ‘what’ happened, but not ‘why’ it happened. The true value in analytics comes from understanding why an action was taken - not just that an action occurred.

Finding out why an action was taken can be as simple as asking customer (or potential customers) for insight into the reasons why they did (or did not) take a particular action. There are countless tools that can make the actual process of asking easier. However, context and having a logical approach to asking question is still important in capturing and quantifying open-ended answers to qualitative questions.

Other advanced analytical tools (such as visual tracker analytics) can be a great middle-ground. Although visual tracking analytics still show you what happened, the visual aspects combined with empathetic thinking can help create stronger hypotheses for additional testing and changes.

Good Overview on Qualitative Metrics 

getting customer feedback


I’ve often joked with clients that I rely heavily on my “gift of average-ness” which is really just the ability to think empathetically about what motivates clients and customers. First start with truly tapping into what motivates your target audience. Actually spend detailed time thinking beyond the steps, and tap into emotional feelings. Then craft your offer around your clients physical (task/goal) needs and emotional drivers (experienced or avoided pains, and desired emotional gains.)

Optimization only matters when you have the right audience matched with the right offer, communicated the right way. The tools and techniques for marketing optimization can then be used to improve the targeting, improve the messaging, and improve the results. And although we often focus on marketing automation and technology, don’t forget that one of the best ways to get feedback is to actually talk with someone and ask for their constructive input.