“Thinking is to humans as swimming is to cats”.
I love this quote, not just because of its quirkiness but because when you investigate its origin you get one of those eureka moments.
The quote is attributable to an Israeli-American psychologist and Nobel laureate called Daniel Kahneman. He published a book in 2011 called ‘Thinking fast and slow’.
The book is an international bestseller and just like all great business books its success lies in its ability to tell us something we already know, but somehow never really understood.
You see, Kahneman is famous because of his work in the psychology of judgement and behavioural economics.
Errrrrrrrrrrrr Cashy (I hear you saying), what’s this stuff about the human brain got to do with social media?
The answer is in fact pretty critical to all marketing, so hear me out.
Kahneman uncovered some simple biological truths about the way we buy and rationalise our purchase decisions. Here’s the simple truth.
1: Our brains are inherently lazy things (FACT)
2: We don’t naturally like to think too hard about tasks and problems (FACT)
3: Our most significant purchase decisions are EMOTIONAL not rational (FACT)
Kahneman advocates keeping things simple when it comes to communicating with potential customers. But we all know that right?
So how come it seems so hard to do?
In B2B especially, we like to show off about how clever and smart we are. We’ve all been guilty of it, me included. We think that because we are selling to a ‘business’ we need to add lots of intellectual rigour and cleverness to all our communications.
Don’t get me wrong, one of the things that excites me most about B2B marketing is the intellectual challenge it presents, but maybe, just maybe when it comes to social media in particular, we are being too clever for our own good.
The challenge is not to make your B2B buyer and decision maker think too much about trying to justify why he/she should purchase your product but more about how you can create emotional preference for your brand.
So for all those B2B brands out there that rely heavily on speeds and feeds, features and benefits, maybe you are barking up the wrong tree.
And lets face it, the reason social media is a big challenge for lots of B2B brands is because we make it too complicated. In fact, that’s pretty much true of virtually all B2B communications.
So, what’s the take out from all of this random chatter?
1: Social media isn’t a plaster that will make your B2B brand an instant success. Your brand and what it stands for is more important than ever before.
2: Make sure the content you create (white papers, case studies, video etc) is simple, truthful and engaging. Too much facts and figures will turn buyers away.
3: Make your social media activity (wall posts, blogs, tweets etc) clear, relevant and interesting. Make social, social. Don’t hide behind a corporate twitter account. Let your employees and their personalities come to the forefront.
4: Be intelligent in your thinking and planning. But make sure your execution is simple and intuitive. Check out your web site, your sales process, your sales literature. Is it easy for your customers to buy from you? How would you rate yourself? Be honest.
Lets look at the success stories in social media in recent years:
- Twitter works…because it’s simple.
- Pinterest works…because it’s simple.
- Instagram works…because it’s simple.
- The next big social success story will work because…you get the drift right?
So my rallying call to all of us is to work tirelessly to make sure we present our brands and the products and services we sell in clear, simple and uncomplicated ways.
And finally, if you see any cats swimming across a lake, have a bit of sympathy.