In our previous post (Segment to survive-One size doesn’t fit all) we raised the idea that we need to look at other ways of exploring behaviour to understand what makes customers choose one thing (or product) over another. Historically we have relied very heavily on using data (so we can segment) such as usage, specialty, loyalty etc. These are of course well tried and tested methods of segmenting your customer base.
However they do not help explain why someone does what they do nor give marketers and sales people an insight into what triggered the behaviour and the subsequent outcome. Therefore it is difficult to know how they might behave in the future and how you can develop your value proposition in such a way that will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew with some degree of rigour the best way of presenting your product or service to a customer to maximise positive responses?
We are all familiar with companies such as Amazon that generate great revenues from showing other items you might like based on what you have bought at that moment or previously. When you log on to Amazon they have “recommendations” based on your previous purchases and also continually tell you what other items people who bought what you are looking at or have in your basket bought as well. This is a sophisticated type of algorithm that runs in the background and decides where your “tastes” lie this is not surprisingly called Taste Profiling and has been a great money spinner for companies that use it such as Amazon, Google etc.
There is however a new kid on the block that was profiled in a recent edition of Wired magazine called Persuasion Profiling this moves from what you might like (taste profiling) to starting to try to figure how we think and make decisions. Currently most profiling is product specific-which book or album we would like based on historical patterns. This new science being studied looks at another factor which not only personalises what products you might like but looks at which way of pitching them is likely to have the most success.
For example some people respond to authority (think KOL) others to social proof –”all your friends like this” (Facebook,Twitter), Following the crowd (fashionable) or ego (intellectual proof etc.) but understanding what will get the best response allows the pitch to be tailored most effectively to generate a positive outcome. In studies they have carried out, using the “right” pitch increased effectiveness by 30-40 percent.
Interestingly they also discovered that people generally respond to the same type of argument regardless of what they are considering so if you find out how to sell someone X then that will most likely be the most effective way of selling them Y. So the challenge for the pharmaceutical sales and marketing functions is how do we deal with this in a practical sense and what sales and marketing training solutions, information and skills do marketers and sales people need to understand and implement this?
Who knows in the future if the above holds true could we be profiling our customers based on data from Amazon on what they get for Christmas ?