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01/27/2009 Getting People to Say “Yes”


I enjoy hearing “Yes” so much more than “No!” that when I heard an interview with author Robert Cialdini on NPR about his new book “Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive” I hopped on to Amazon.com and bought it right away.

YES! All marketers want people to say yes. We want our bosses to say yes to our raises, our clients to say yes to our creative ideas, and customers to say yes to our sales and relationship pitches. Face it, we’re in the business of asking customers to change their behavior and do something different. If we can’t get them to say yes, we’re out on the street.

 While I never expect a book to give all the answers, I had high hopes for this one. Maybe it was the word “Scientifically.” All I’d need to do is craft my Yes brew and voila, a gaggle of Yes-sayers.

Of course the book doesn’t work that way. While all of the hypotheses put forward have grounding in controlled research, a lot of what I found in the book was common wisdom. Or would be common wisdom if we didn’t over think things so damn much!

That said this book has some good suggestions. I’ve found I’m using more than one of them in my digital marketing. That’s something I can’t say about a lot of other marketing books. What are some of the scientifically proven ways?

  1. Crowd Behavior – Cialdini and Co. show that you can impact behavior by showing how common the behavior is, or that a majority of people does this. People like to follow a crowd or a winner. Obviously this won’t work for a rebel brand, although Apple uses it in its switch campaign. I’m working for an industry leader, right now, and one of the things I’m putting at the forefront is the message that they are responsible for over 50% of their market worldwide.
  2. Rewards Programs – In an interesting study, the authors show that giving people a free head start on a rewards program increases their use and completion of the program. They used a study of clip cards where you needed eight clips for a freebie. The group that got an empty card of eight was far less engaged than a group that got a card of 10 with the first two clips free.

Other studies include the power of the word “because,” the value of unexpected and personalized attention, and the power of rhyming.

But you knew all that, right? Even if you do, it’s always good to have reminders to keep them front and center. Best of all, it’s a fairly quick read even if it has a lot of info.

I think that research based types and planners will love this book.

So go ahead and read what millions have already read because this book could help your marketing leap ahead.

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