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What’s in a Name? Lots!

Dale Carnegie once said, “Remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.” It’s a good bet that even Carnegie would be surprised at how true that statement is, even at the unconscious level. […]

By |November 17th, 2010|

Paper Beats Digital For Emotion

Direct mail is so last millenium, right? Ultra-efficient digital marketing seems all but certain to supplant actual paper marketing delivered by humans. It might be a little too soon to shut down the paper mills, though, according to a study by branding agency Millward Brown. The research project used fMRI brain scans to show that our brains process paper-based and digital marketing in different ways, and in particular that paper ads caused more emotional processing. […]

By |October 4th, 2010|

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Marketing

The comments on "Revealed: How Steve Jobs Turns Customers into Fanatics" show that many Apple fans don't believe marketing has played a role in Apple's success. Other consumers also think they aren't influenced by ads. When a business owner or key executive doesn't believe in marketing, though, it's a different story.

By |September 1st, 2010|

Your Brain on Stories

“They laughed when I sat down at the piano…”

“On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students…” […]

By |January 21st, 2010|

A Pretty Woman Beats a Good Loan Deal

Marketers are constantly facing the challenge of how to make an offer more attractive to their customers. Will free shipping garner more orders than a $10 coupon? What about a 10% discount, or a free tote bag? Smart marketers know there is only one way to definitively answer this kind of question: test the options in the marketplace. (Soon, perhaps, neuromarketing technology like fMRI brain scans may reduce the need for field testing…)

One South African bank trying to boost their loan business did just that. They mailed 50,000 customers a loan offer, and used several variations in the direct mail package. First, the offers included a range of randomly selected interest rates – presumably, the interest rate (along with repayment terms) is by far the most important criteria for whether a loan offer is appealing. More significantly for our interests, the bank also included several “psychological features” – details of the mailed offer that had nothing to do with the loan itself but were intended to “frame” the offer in some way or otherwise alter customer behavior. The researchers seem to have been surprised not only that these irrelevant offer changes boosted the response of their offers, but actually offset the impact of higher interest rates on loan signups. […]

By |August 15th, 2008|

Weird News: Names Affect Outcomes

This seems too odd to be true, but researchers at Yale and UCSD have found statistically significant differences in outcomes for individuals with names that start with different letters. Students whose names start with A or B earn higher grades than those with C or D names. Baseball players whose names start with K strike out slightly more often than the rest of the player population (a strikeout is marked as a “K”). Is this effect real? And should marketers care? […]

By |November 8th, 2007|