Get your white coat ready, we’re all scientists now

By Thom Standen, Growth marketing consultant

Reflect Digital Limited


The Drum Network article

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February 15, 2022 | 6 min read

Good marketing is becoming more of a science. Reflect Digital's Thom Standen, head of CX, looks at how marketers can better embed scientific thinking into their strategy.

Reflect Digital on the role that science plays in modern day marketing.

Reflect Digital on the role that science plays in modern day marketing.

The days of relying on instinct for what reads well and looks good are limited. According to figures, 80% of CEOs admit they don't trust the work done by marketers. We’re not good at proving our value and that’s a problem.

Marketing scientists are increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence and can spend months of research (and budget) on their decisions. But without quality data and insight across marketing, you’ll likely fall behind your competitors.

You’ve probably tested email subject lines and experimented with copy on your paid search. But consider which images resonate best with audiences; what tone of voice drives purchases or enquiries; or whether website product and service pages should remain the same all year while focuses are elsewhere. These can be opportunities for exploiting experiments and lead to better decision-making and increased business revenue.

Garbage in, garbage out

Garbage in, garbage out (GIGO) is a computing term warning that decisions based on flawed data will give flawed results. Marketing is no different.

Before your next campaign, ask yourself if you have taken the time to understand your audience. Aside from their price point, do you know their motivations; how they want to impress their boss; whether they purchase products based on reputation or reliability?

We tend to make decisions spontaneously or as influenced by the brand’s sales team. But without a solid understanding of your audience, your decisions could be misconstrued and you could miss out on making revenue-enhancing creative decisions.

Max Wiggins, insight and innovation lead at insights agency VERJ, part of the LAB Group of agencies said: “People believe that we act rationally. But in reality, we are predictably irrational and do things for reasons we’re not always consciously aware of.

“The goal of psychology in marketing is to understand these motivations.

“By accessing the right data, we can build a clearer understanding of audiences and develop experiences suited to their more genuine drivers.”

Take our questionnaire to discover more about your values and motives.

Experimenting for SMEs

All aspects of the business can make decisions inspired by data and science. Even niche B2B businesses, reliant on a few contact form leads a month, can benefit from experimenting. It may not be as clear-cut and simple as with an eCommerce website - and the data may take longer to accrue - but their performance can improve with well-informed testing.

Here are three easy experiments:

  1. Page structure: does reduced scroll on key landing pages drive more conversions?
  2. Different lead messaging: if you currently prioritize pricing in your messaging, how does starting with a problem/solution or customer service message perform in comparison?
  3. Add a human touch: do you have any images of your team on key pages? Perhaps humanizing the team might encourage users to be more active with inquiries.

Sales of SimCity from Game prove the disproportionate impact that experimenting can have. Users were offered $20 off their next purchase if they pre-ordered the game ahead of its release. A simple A/B test showed that 43.3% more purchases were made when users visited a page where the offer was removed despite assuming that the discount would drive more conversions.

It’s important to challenge your assumptions.


Introducing phsychology into your marketing

The traditional elements of marketing rely on psychology. Understanding how your users' brains work helps. Take personas: familiarize yourself with your audience’s age and proof-point and how they feel when they interact with your brand. How could you improve adverts based on their emotions and desires?

We advise our clients to implement nudge theory in their marketing. Rooted in behavioral science and behavioral economics, nudge theory requires making subtle changes to your marketing to influence users to take the actions you want them to make, without interfering with their ability to complete other tasks. It can transform the results you see.

Even big brands with highly-tested messaging can benefit from embedding psychology into their marketing. KFC Australia's goal of increasing the sale of their $1 fries is an example of experimenting with psychology in their messaging. They played with three psychological concepts: loss aversion (“I don’t want to miss out”), reciprocity (people are naturally inclined to return a favor) and value payoff (limiting the offer in order to create exclusivity). KFC improved sales by 56% without changing their offer at all.

Embrace testing

Testing isolates variables and gives you precisely how many more purchases or leads your team has generated.

If you set up an A/B test on a key product page, replace your usual introductory text with your own, and in a few days or weeks (depending on your traffic), you’ll be able to see the impact on users clicking through to purchase. Data can be useful for discerning progress.

Science doesn’t have to be boring, fusty, or uncreative. Don’t hold yourself back because testing is for the corporate elite. Put on your white coat, and put your data where your mouth is.


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Reflect Digital Limited

Putting our client’s customers first, we work closely with ambitious global brands and eCommerce businesses looking to elevate their marketing and move towards...

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