If want to hear lots of specific details about a TV show you missed, you’re better off asking a shy person in the office, rather than the loud-mouth talking about it in the break room. That’s because, according to a study by Dutch scientist Camiel Beukeboom, introverts use more descriptive and concrete language than extroverts. Extroverts are far more likely to use abstract language and remember details less accurately.
In the experiment, 40 subjects were asked to describe a set of ambiguous photos and then returned three days later to take a personality test. Participants who were graded as introverts had more mentions of numbers, used more definite articles (i.e. “a”, “the”), and made more distinctions in their speech (i.e. use of words like “but” and “except”). On the other hand, extroverts used more colorful adjectives and described objects/events that were not visible in the photos. When asked, the extroverts admitted to engaging in interpretation.
These results may not be surprising since previous research has shown that introverts behave more cautiously due to fear of punishment. Extroverts tend to be more thrill seekers, and therefore may be more expansive in their word choices. As one article summarized, “introverts tell it like it is; extroverts tell it like it might be.”
It’s an intriguing theory but I wonder if there are flaws in the study. Using only 40 subjects from the same company may not be a representative sample. In addition, the authors did not consider other personality factors that might affect language use. This could be a situation of correlation but not cause.
I’ve read the study a few times but there aren’t enough details for me to decide for myself. The author must be an extrovert.
This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around on March 17, 2013.
A detailed analysis of more than 22K subjects in 42 separate psychology studies demonstrates this startling result. The simple act of telling people they don’t have to do something makes it much more likely they will. In the studies, subjects donated more money to charity, agreed more readily to participate in a survey, and gave more to someone asking for a bus fare home.
This ‘But You Are Free‘ effect is based on the fact humans become more closed-minded when their choices are reduced by others. Explicitly giving people the right to say no reaffirms our freedom to choose. In psychological terms, the appearance of choice increases compliance to a request.
The exact phrase used is not critical; “but obviously do not feel obliged” works just as well as “but you are free.” While significantly stronger when done in person, this effect even works in print or in email. As a result, marketers should consider including these phrases in the call-to-action portions of campaigns.
This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around on March 10, 2013.
If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t know the answers were White Castle and Diners’ Club. While both companies still exist, they now have relatively small share in what has turned out to be very large markets.
In an earlier post, I argued the benefits of the so-called first mover advantage are exaggerated:
In a book called Copycats, Professor Oded Shenkar takes an even more extreme position: first movers have an inherent disadvantage because they have to pave the way for something new. It’s faster, less risky, and more profitable to imitate. For example, Diners’ Club had to invest considerable time and money convincing consumers to use a plastic card instead of cash. Furthermore, they had to convince merchants to accept these cards and pay a transaction fee. Visa and Mastercard, both of which came later, didn’t have these obstacles.
Levitt uses IBM (computers), Texas Instruments (transistors), Holiday Inns (motels) and RCA (television) as examples of companies that were successful based on imitation, rather than innovation.
Perhaps, as Shakespeare said, there is nothing new under the sun. Certainly, imitation is more prevalent than innovation and, done well, can be a successful tactic. But I, for one, bet on a core of innovation. And I think you should imitate that.
This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around on March 3, 2013.
In a recent post, I urged CEOs to view marketing as a strategic partner, the glue that binds the different parts of an organization together to deliver a consistent, cross-channel consumer experience. A 2012 report from Forrester and Heidrick & Struggles concluded that marketing is “moving from the outskirts to the core of the enterprise” in helping leadership teams develop and implement customer-centric strategies. In other words, marketing must become a force for visualizing and evangelizing the future.
I must have touched a nerve as there have been over 130 comments so far. Some observers thoughtfully pointed out that, if CEOs embrace the idea of marketing as a strategic partner, they will soon see what’s missing from marketing’s ability to deliver on that promise. Indeed, before marketing can even consider taking on the five key responsibilities I outlined in my previous post, CMOs must make three things fundamental to the way they and their teams operate:
1. Embrace Next-Generation Skills
Today’s marketers must possess a hybrid of traditional marketing skills and quantitative skills— mixing both art and science. But it’s not enough to have both on the team; you have to some of each in everyone (like having a major and minor in college.)
We’ve started living this at SAP. To let the science influence the art, we gather data and feedback on our marketing ideas before we make a full commitment. For example, this post you’re reading is one way we are testing our ideas on the future of marketing. We will use your comments and feedback to refine and develop our messages. Internally, we also use SAP Jam to discuss marketing ideas, settle on best practices, and vote on the things that work best. And once we know which concept is most likely to be successful, we use the creative skills of our marketing teams to bring it to life.
2. Measure What Matters
A CMO of a large company told me she was thrilled that her team tweeted 1.2 million times in 2012—surpassing its goal of 1 million. These kinds of “ego metrics”—website page views, Facebook fans, conference attendees, etc.—look great on a dashboard but don’t really move the needle for the business. I believe we should track outcome metrics, not activities.
For example, instead of asking how conference attendees rate a session, how about analyzing which sessions correlated with attendees who later bought something? Ultimately, the CMO I was talking to decided that a better metric would be the percentage of non-employee followers who re-tweeted the company’s tweets—a measure that would provide insight into how the market was amplifying the company’s message.
I’m lucky. I have a dashboard where I can track and optimize the entire marketing process from brand positioning all the way to customer demand—in real time. It’s great input for decision making. That said, we can’t let metrics completely displace our judgment and experience. We can’t be so driven by the numbers we forget that not everything that counts can be counted. It’s simply that the balance is so skewed to gut feel today that hard metrics barely play a role.
3. Walk A Mile In Your Customers’ Shoes
As marketers we spend so much time tracking customers’ activities that we forget to consider what they are experiencing. So many marketers bandy about the popular term ‘customer experience’ but have never walked a mile in their shoes. For example, when was the last time you called your contact center? Or tried to purchase a product or find information on your website? Are you listening to live conversations on social media? If you want to be a champion of the overall experience, you first have to experience it yourself.
This certainly isn’t everything we need to do as modern marketers but they are three things that I commonly see missing in marketing departments.
What do you think? Is marketing ready to step up to its new leadership role? What else needs to change? I look forward to your comments.
This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn on February 20, 2013.
The phrase ‘fiscal cliff’ was clearly trending in 2012.
I’ve been meaning to renew my annual practice of blogging about LSSU‘s list of banished words but I guess I kicked the can down the road. Since I’m passionate about the subject, I doubled down on a recent flight. Fueled by boneless wings (my Superfood of choice), I created this post.
The gurus of banishment came up with the following list for 2013:
Banishing these words from your vocabulary should be on your bucket list. They are a waste of effort and, after all, you (SPOILER ALERT) only live once.
Follow me on Twitter: @jbecher
This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around on February 17, 2013.